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Sushi heaven

Before the meal is served, a Kimono-clad waitress brings steaming towels to the table. The artfully folded pink napkins contrast with the coolly colored mint walls. For such pampering you might expect a jaw-dropping expensive bill, but at Sushi Tsus, this comes at a reasonable price, even for a college student’s budget.

The waitresses, though accommodating, don’t fully grasp the English language. If you try to order anything other than restaurant standards, there’s a chance your food might get lost in translation. This slight handicap is overshadowed by excellent cuisine, good atmosphere and the staff’s deep desire to make sure you are happy with your meal.

Sushi Tsus specializes in sushi, of course, but there are other offerings available for those who don’t like their signature dish. A sushi-shy patron can order Shrimp Tempura ($5.50) as an appetizer. Tempura is a fried rice batter that is much lighter than oily American fried batter. A non-sushi dinner is a tad steeper than other items, but the portions are filling. Entrees run from $10.95 (Vegetable Tempura) to $14.75 (Broiled Grouper). There’s even a small section of the menu devoted to vegetarian cuisine.

Sushi aficionados will find their meals to be as close to Japan as Tampa gets. Sashimi here is exquisitely fresh: The tuna sashimi always comes from the best cut; the cooked eel is warm and topped with a rich and excellent sauce. Tsus offers the classic California Roll of cooked crab, avocado and cucumber for $4.

Contrary to popular conception, not all sushi is raw fish. Sushi comes in many types and varieties. For those who would like to try sushi but don’t like the idea of eating anything raw, the sushi menu has handy symbols letting the customer know if the sushi roll is raw or cooked.

Those new to the sushi scene can try a New Tampa Roll ($4.95), which is rice wrapped around a slightly spicy fried chicken in a light batter. It is topped off with barely sweet but very tasty teriyaki sauce.

Another good roll for newcomers or veteran sushi partakers is the Volcano Roll ($6.95). This roll is a variation on the California Roll, with the addition of cooked salmon in a cream sauce on top.

However, the sushi staple, wasabi (which looks like green Play-Doh and is so icy hot that it instantly clears the sinuses) does not compliment the New Tampa or Volcano rolls.

Complete your Sushi Tsus experience with dessert, if you have room. The three exotic flavors of ice cream available are Ginger, Green Tea and Red Bean ($3.50). The Tempura Ice Cream ($5.95) is the most popular dessert offering. Sweetened tempura batter, still warm and drizzled with chocolate, around a block of vanilla ice cream is a tasty finish to a great meal.

Shushi Tsus is located in New Tampa at 15317 Amberly Dr. The restaurant’s phone number is (813) 910-9404

Contact Erin Cavanaugh at