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Restaurants & Bars

Sa Sa St. Petersburg

BeaN | Aug 9, 2003 08:38 PM

On Monday as we were contemplating lunch, Spousal Unit (SU) wanted to make a pilgrimage to Tampa to indulge in great quantities of sushi at Todai (International Plaza). I feel like the quality at Todai has declined, so I suggested we try something closer to home.

Just a few miles away we found Sa Sa (27 4th St. N) in downtown St. Pete.

The menu at Sa Sa is Japanese and Vietnamese.

We had an order of spring rolls (2) and a summer roll, followed by miso soup. SU had a sushi platter and I ordered Bun Tom Nuong Cha Gio.

Everything was really wonderful. Our waiter (name escapes me) was very friendly and helpful. He explained the menu and options available. We had come in as soon as the doors opened for lunch (before 11:30) and the rice was not yet done, and the waiter was very apologetic. The wait gave us time to enjoy all of the wonderful artwork, which was intriguing.

I had originally ordered something that was unavailable (conch salad?) and the waiter suggested the Bun dish as an alternative.

The spring rolls were deep-fried (but not at all greasy) and served with dipping sauce. The summer roll is a cold roll. According to the menu, it is "shrimp, pork, vermicelli noodles, lettuce, cucumber and mint rolled in soft rice paper, served with peanut sauce." The spring rolls were really flawless, but I just loved the summer roll. It was like a really nice salad that you can eat with your fingers (why can't I get THAT through a drive-up window? I'd be in line every day). The fresh herbs add a huge punch of flavor.

The Bun is a noodle/salad dish; cold vermicelli noodles side by side with shredded lettuce topped with pickled carrots and daikon, bean sprouts, cilantro and chopped basil. The dressing is served on the side to add as desired. My bun included chopped up spring rolls and whole grilled shrimp. It was marvelously satisfying and refreshing on a blisteringly hot day. Again, the fresh herbs deserve mention, but, with basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives and pepper plants in my flowerbeds, I am admittedly a sucker for the beauty fresh herbs and veggies add to a meal.

On Wednesday evening, I was caught unawares by dinner. It just snuck up on me. Don't ask me how it happened, but somehow it was time to eat, and nothing was marinating or even thawed for dinner. I was on a sugar-low after having forgotten to eat lunch.

Into the hypoglycemic gap, who should intervene but Dear SU? Valiantly, SU stepped forward and volunteered to go to Sa Sa to fetch dinner if I would call in the order (SU is phone-phobic; if a 911 call is required, we will just have to die).

In a flash, diner was on the table. SU said that the waitress was bagging our order when he entered the door. We had four summer rolls and the "Arizona roll." The "Arizona roll" is on the Makimono sushi list. Don't ask me how sushi is related to Arizona; I didn't ask. Last I knew, Arizona was land-locked. Never mind this yellowtail roll was very tasty and included scallions, cucumber and smelt roe. The wasabi was bracing and the shaved ginger bit back appropriately. It was another satisfying experience.

"Never met a cuisine I didn't like." (Profound apologies to Will Rogers)

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