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Review: You'll be happy to find the Hideaway

One of the specialty rolls at the Hideaway is the Hideaway Roll, which has tempura shrimp, krab, asparagus and cucumber and is topped with seared tuna, avocado, eel sauce and microgreens. The Hideaway is at 1120 E Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.
One of the specialty rolls at the Hideaway is the Hideaway Roll, which has tempura shrimp, krab, asparagus and cucumber and is topped with seared tuna, avocado, eel sauce and microgreens. The Hideaway is at 1120 E Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.
Published Dec. 3, 2014

TAMPA

The Grand Central in Tampa's Channel District is indisputably booming. On weekend evenings you can see people and their pooches settling in at Pour House and City Dog, date-nighters enjoying Michael Buttacavoli's excellent Italian at Cena before taking in a show at Stageworks. Then around the corner it's party time at Maloney's kinda-Irish pub and nightclubby indoor-outdoor sushi at the Hideaway, which opened in September. Owners Todd Wingard and Brian Pfeiffer are pros, having been in the Tampa bar business for years at places like Green Iguana and Whiskey Joe's. What they've done here is fit neatly into an untapped niche.

They've owned another Maloney's in Westchase for the past five years and another bar-only Hideaway in Safety Harbor on McMullen-Booth Road. They looked at the Grand Central space that previously housed the Garage and Ragin' Sports Bar and thought it was too big for either of their concepts. Necessity being the mother of invention and all that, they divided the space and decided to bring both concepts to this growing hip-young-professional enclave.

It works, mostly because Hideaway sushi chef Patrick Dang (previously at Roy's) has a clean, simple aesthetic. It's a very short menu, just a handful of appetizers, mostly cold, and a list of traditional rolls and 15 or so specialty rolls.

There's a serviceable miso soup ($3.95), a little demure on the miso paste, a traditional tangy-sesame seaweed salad ($5.95), that Japanese iceberg salad ($3.95) with the gingery carrot dressing that always tastes refreshing pre-sushi, and a couple of the diced tuna preparations that seem like mother's milk to millennials.

Then hop into the rolls, most of which are presented simply and elegantly and feature bright, fresh-tasting fish. There are untraditional combinations like the So Fresh roll ($11.95) with salmon, tuna, a pouf of spring mix, crunchy daikon and asparagus, all wrapped in rice paper and squiggled with a spicy-sweet brown sauce. Or a very laudable vegetarian offering called the Namaste ($9.95) wrapped in soy paper (a little floppy) that features sweet potato, tofu and spongy little enoki mushrooms. Or you can go sumptuous with a roll like the signature Hideaway ($11.95) that has tempura shrimp and veggies topped with seared tuna, avo and truffle oil-dressed microgreens. Very nice, and something you don't see every day.

The Hideaway's sleek, clubby look is mirrored by an attractive young staff with a breezy, casual style. With DJs on Friday and Saturday nights and a liberal happy hour that goes from 3 to 7 p.m. daily (half off classic rolls, $4 premium wells, etc.), the Hideaway's draws are magnetic, exerting pull far beyond the residents of the two "fresh urban living" towers above it. This newcomer may not live up to its clandestine name, having already been found by many of South Tampa and downtown's party people.

Contact Laura Reiley at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley. She dines anonymously and unannounced; the Times pays all expenses.