Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yelp Tampa Elite Event at Samurai Blue in Ybor

I was fortunate enough to attend a Yelp Elite event at Samurai Blue Sushi and Sake Bar today. I even got a plus one so the boyfriend got to tag along. I had him at "free drinks."

I was introduced to Yelp by my sister when I was visiting NYC when she would tell me to check Yelp! whenever we wanted to decide where to eat. I started reviewing things in Tampa ever since.

It was a fabulous event hosted by our new community manager Brett at his favorite sushi restaurant, Samurai Blue. I've never been to the location in Ybor so I was stoked to try it out.

I thought the night would just be drinks and a few bites of sushi but it ended up being a lot of fabulous food. The hostess described it as a three course meal and showed us a menu. I had no idea we would be sampling everything on the list.

Going to this complimentary foodie event ended up being the best decision ever! I thought it was a great way to spend one on one time with the boyfriend before he flew to Philadelphia for his brother's college graduation.

Drink Menu

The restaurant has very high ceilings so I couldn't help but stare up during my meal to enjoy being in the heart of historic Ybor. 

The  waitstaff, chefs and bartenders were very friendly and welcoming. The owner herself came out and made sure we were well cared for. She really went above and beyond for this Yelp! Event making me realize I really should venture to the branch near my house more often (hopefully the waitstaff there is equally on point). 

The food was very fresh and the presentation was impeccable. I didn't care for the salmon dish or the filet mignon dish but the sashimi and sushi dishes were very good. I found the salmon bland and the beef over salted even though it was very tender. 

If I was there as a paying customer, I would have ordered sushi or sashimi anyway so I'm not too focused on the hot dishes. 

Our sushi chefs hard at work assembling the food for everyone

I'm enjoying my Yuzu Saketini

Momiji - Tuna
Cubed Big Eye Tuna Sashimi mixed with Spicy Pepper

Ahi Tuna Tataki
Sesame Seared with a spicy Ponzu Sauce topped with a Harusame salad

Kamikaze Roll
Salmon, Crab, Asparagus, Avocado, Scallions, Alfalfa Sprouts,
and Smelt Roe wrapped with Cucumber

Blue Crab Rangoon
Lump Blue Crab, Cream Cheese and Chives in a Fried Wonton Wrapper

Blue Moon (Lump Blue Crab, Cream Cheese, Asparagus, Scallions)
Tempura Lobster (Tuna, Crab, Cucumber, Scallions topped with Tempura Lobster and Smelt Roe)

Sashimi and Nigiri Platter

Kyoto Roll, Tuna Summer of Love Roll and Hawaiian Roll

Petite Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon
Served with Bok Choy, Potatoes and Shitake Demi Glaze

I was definitely full from all the appetizers and entrees but there's ALWAYS room for dessert...

Shaven Ice Matcha Sundae
Shaved Ice, Mochi, Fresh Fruit, Green Tea Ice Cream and Red Beans

Matcha Pookie and Yuzu Pookie
(Two types of Whoopie Pies)

All in all it was a wonderful evening with the boyfriend. We enjoyed getting to know other Yelpers in the area. It was nice matching online personas to faces. I recognized a lot of the Yelpers in the room because the Tampa Yelping community is smaller than other cities. My boyfriend thought it was strange I could recognize people immediately without having ever talked to them. 

I exchanged numbers with a few people at our table. I'm always excited to meet new friends especially since I'm still relatively new to Florida. 

After dinner, the boyfriend and I took a nice walk around downtown Ybor enjoying the atmosphere.

Before you feel bad for my little brother whom I left at home, I made homemade chicken fingers from chicken breasts for him. I also shamelessly took a few leftover pieces of nigiri and sashimi home for him. He also got a kick out of some of the Yelp swag.

How Asian am I?
 I'm seriously LOVING these individual soy sauce packets!!!

I also got a few boxes of their Yelp! mints that came in the shape of YELP!

Homemade Chicken Tenders for my brother's dinner
The breading was made with a mixture of spices, panko bread crumbs,
cornmeal and Italian bread crumbs! He was very happy.

Hope everyone had a wonderful day!


  1. You are EVIL for posting all those pics of sushi!!! OMG. LOVE sushi. And I'm a currently fat white girl! LOL

    P.S. Those little soy sauce packets are ADORABLE!

  2. What truly fabulous pictures!! My mouth is watering and it's 7:30 a.m.! The dinner you made your brother looked tasty too!

  3. The pics are great! The food looks so delicious.

  4. what a fun night and great opportunity for you to spend some nice time with your bf! I would have been in heaven too! I crave sushi and sashimi on a regular basis...luckily theres a few places near me that I can get my fix! lol

  5. You look like you had a blast!! and you look gorgeous!

  6. Looks like an awesome event! I'm definitely jumping on the Yelp bandwagon!


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