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CHEAP Restaurant on Howard! 1/27/08

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CHEAP Restaurant on Howard! 1/27/08

mlpundsack | Jan 28, 2008 07:25 AM

I can't sing enough praises about CHEAP fellow foodies! Here's my dish on last night's experience, 01/27/08

CHEAP
309 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL
Phone 813-258-5878

The chicken liver pâté with the onion jam and homeade champagne crackers ($5) was the smoothest pâté I've ever enjoyed! The graham cracker calamari with sweet thai dipping sauce was tender and nice to start with as well. Definitely try their strawberry champagne sangria made at your table. Soooo good!

Myself and chef friend also enjoyed the crudo platter (italian sashimi, $19) which included salmon, yellowfin tuna, and ahi tuna at the perfect temperature with drizzled with either truffle oil or argan oil. I couldn't decide which preparation I liked best in the platter. But, the yellowfin was awesome with sultana yellow raisins and pine nuts with argan oil. I'm a truffle oil finatic though, so the ahi with truffle oil and shaved manchego was hard to beat too.

Our server, April, highly recommended the spicy tuna rolls wrapped in white kelp, explaining that only 3 restaurants in the U.S. offer white kelp and that the spicy tuna roll and the Hong Kong roll were her two personal favorites. So we ordered it and I freakin' loved it! The white kelp like April had mentioned, was a delicate and soft flavor that didn't overpower the roll's texture or the tuna flavor. Again, perfect fresh sushi rice at the right consistency and temperature and the spicy mayo inside the roll was just the right amount. The unique ponzu sauce paired with the rolls was a nice surprise from the usual ponzu, consisting of liquid smoke, fresh tangerine or orange juice with a dash of chopped chives and a side of wasabi, pickled ginger and julienned daikon. The rolls didn't need any more fuss of the zigzagged sauces or fancy anything that I've seen rolls swimming in at other Tampa sushi spots.

This is my new favorite place and top pick for SoHo. Nothing else on Howard compares to CHEAP. **Cheap will be expanding as it takes over what was Sangrias.

Pros: Whimsical and fun decor and atmosphere. Friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff (huge bonus for Tampa). Incredible Italian/Tapas Menu to the point you want to try everything.

Cons: Dessert Menu (they're working on it though) Currently, it's a few standards: Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Cake, Key Lime Pie.

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