The first Yelp Elite event at Samurai Blue in Ybor City under the new Tampa Bay Community Manager, Brett Nehls, was a smashing success. I already had a good feeling after my last great experience at Samurai Blue after a David Choi concert during my food blog beginnings.
The menu was extensive and full of plenty of tasty choices. Samurai Blue gave Yelp Tampa Elite members their complete attention and closed the restaurant for the event. I chatted with the co-owner, Rosa Kim, at the door and was excited to learn that she and her husband heard about my adventures in South Korea during 2011 and follow my blog. We really hit it off, it’s always great when you can connect with your sushi chef.
Yelp gave out free samples from Little Soya, a gluten-free soy sauce distributor. Cool.
A number of cocktails and spirits were also available for participants. My favorite? The Yuzu Saketini. Absolutely delicious and packing a serious punch. It is not a part of their regular menu, but is truly awesome. I have never enjoyed drinking sake too much until I had the Yuzu Saketini cocktail.
As we met and mingled, the chefs were hard at work preparing our first course. I snapped some photos :p
The Ahi Tuna Tataki and Kamikaze Roll were refreshing and a great start to our meal. We shared the plates, but there was more than enough to feed every person at the event – a credit to the care that Samurai Blue took preparing for the event.
This tuna dish packed a kick, but tasted amazingly fresh. I endured a small amount of spice to savor the taste.
The blue crab rangoons were amazing and completely different from anything I have tasted in Tampa Bay. A true winner.
The Yuzu Saketinis. Perfection.
When this sashimi plate hit our table – I was literally in heaven. The salmon, my favorite fish, was amazingly fresh and I had to let the chef and owner, Yung Kim, know how much I appreciate the way there taking care of us this evening.
Fellow Yelpers enjoying the ambiance and food at Samurai Blue.
The Tempura Lobster Roll was absolutely amazing in this course.
Mouth. Watering. The color of the fish really indicated freshness. There is no filter applied to this image. The Hawaiian Roll was my favorite during my last visit and definitely a winner during this visit as well.
The Petite Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon and Petite Ginger Salmon were both amazing and I just could not stop thinking how lucky were were to be able to attend an event like this. It would have never happened if I people in the past did not devote time and energy to help make Yelp grow in Tampa. As a friend and participant in that growth, I’m very grateful that it has reached this level.
Mr. Yuzu Kim, the owner (pictured center), surprised me with this plate of salmon nigiri and sashimi after he heard it was my favorite. Heaven was reached. This was absolutely amazing and each piece melted in my mouth. I could eat salmon all day long. After finishing this dish, I thought I could eat no more – but alas dessert was still to come!
The dessert was absolutely delicious and fine ending to our meal. I normally tend to go towards green tea at Japanese restaurants at the end of a meal and both choices really delivered.
Thank you so much to Yelp Tampa Bay and Samurai Blue. Thank you Mr. Yuzu Kim and Mrs. Rosa Kim for your excellent hospitality. It was a very memorable, delicious, and happy night that I will never forget.
Restaurant Name: Samurai Blue
Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Neighborhood: Ybor City
Address: 1600 E. 8th Ave. Ybor City, FL 33605
Phone Number: (813) 242-6688
Category: Food Events
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