Da'Shrine: An African Caribbean Restaurant

  T he building has been sitting for a while. Lets explore what finally took over.  Da'Shrine, 2023 L et me start this one off by stating that I am in no means an expert on Africa, their cuisine, or their culture. Da'Shrine claims to be a mixture of African and Caribbean cuisine. They are sporting a restaurant with a rooftop bar. If you had been to The Refinery prior to coming here, you'll know how the rooftop bar was set up. Unfortunately, the bar wasn't open when we went due to some maintenance that needed to be done before they could open. They did manage to use the space well, though, given how small the building actually is. They also have music playing from the TV, which is fine, but you can't hear the bartender over the bass. But that's not why you're here. Old Fashioned, 2023 T he bar is a square bar sitting against the back wall when you walk in. They have a decent selection with six beer taps as well. The bartender was telling us about some unique

CLOSED: East: A New Take on Japanese

Another new restaurant? Aren't you guys lucky!

East Menu, 2017

It's no secret that Stormy and I love Applebee's. I mean, for the price, you can't beat it's late night menu. Some wings and mozzarella sticks are the quickest way to my heart. It's also no surprise that Applebee's has, consistently, some of the worst service I've ever experienced at any restaurant, ever. This changed around the time we met Deena. Finally, we could get our cheap appetizers, maybe have a drink, and not have to wait three hours to do so! Since that point, we've run into a few, wonderful waiters and waitresses, but that doesn't set up this story. Deena eventually left Applebee's with little more than a passing whisper that she took a position at a new restaurant. We've seen and heard it before. Wait staff leave and you simply move on. You might find a new favorite, but you'll probably never hear from them again. That changed, however, a few months after Deena left and she got a hold of Stormy asking about local beers she should keep on hand. We had no idea what the theming would be, but we were more than happy to help. Shortly after that, we got an invite to come out to their soft opening. Every drink is $5? Food was being sold ridiculously cheap? What do we have to lose? Full disclosure: We have known Deena for quite a while now. Deena is the manager of East. We were not paid in any way to write this review and the opinions listed below are mine and mine alone. But, you didn't come here for that.

Bar, 2017

Lets start with the location. First, East is located inside the Quality Inn & Suites off of Fowler Ave just west of Bruce B. Downs. The interior of this restaurant is HUGE. That said, when word gets out about this place, seating will be very limited as they need to add some more tables to fill the space. They will also have an outdoor seating area at some point, but that's not the case just yet. The decor, or what little is there, makes the space feel like a classy little joint, complete with a bar with seats all around and lighting to fit the mood. The coolest touch to the bar is the sushi station, complete with a sushi chef that you can watch as he works his magic. I will note that, while the bar area is a cool little spot to sit, the bar itself is kind of plain. Don't expect much in the way of a conversation piece (unless we're talking their draft lines). East does carry craft beer, but it's only in cans or bottles. The draft lines are used for the macros. This does, however, allow for East to carry some cool beers that you wont find at other bars. While that's not the case currently, they do have plans to expand on their beer menu.

Grilled Chicken & Mango Salsa, 2017

Now lets talk about some food! Stormy and I have been twice now, and we've tried a good bit of their menu. The chicken plate above was brought out by the chef specifically for us to talk about, and I have to say, I was impressed. First, I hate cilantro. Like, really hate cilantro. There is cilantro in this salad, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the chicken. It was moist, perfectly charred, and the peanut sauce that came with it was divine. There's no doubt that the food here is amazing, however, just like London Heights, the theming falls apart fast. While the chicken was divine, there's a pretty extensive pizza menu, there's a burger menu, their top selling appetizer is nachos... None of it bad, but none of it really fitting a Japanese theme either. That said, the food is spectacular. Stormy and I shared much of the menu together, and we have yet to find one that either of us hates (which is an accomplishment in itself, as anyone with a significant other can tell you). But, while the menu is good, there is one part that absolutely shines...

 Sushi, 2017

Stormy had a bad experience with sushi a while back and refused to eat it for about three years. This is the first time I've been able to talk her into it since that last time. My usual sushi place closed a while back, that sushi place in Ybor is expensive, this is a new place that offers sushi. Skeptical? Yeah, so was I. Can you really find good sushi over by USF? The answer is a resounding yes. Again, we had much of their sushi menu, and this was quite possibly the best part of the meal. The fish was fresh, the seaweed straight from the bottom of the ocean (that's a joke, guys...). While I do enjoy sushi, it takes quite a bit to really impress me. This place impressed me. Definitely stop in and get a rainbow rolls, one of my favorites.

Artsy Mojito Shot, 2017

Things to know before you go:
- If you go at night, expect the restaurant to look like it's closed. It closes at 10, but the hotel is pretty dark. 
- The salmon burger and the sushi are my two go tos while here.
- The service is top notch, and the food matches the service.
- The prices aren't terrible either.
- Say hello to Deena.

What is your favorite sushi roll? Have you ever had a salmon burger? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. If you'd like to meet other people who love Tampa, consider joining our Facebook Group. Thank you all and I will see you next time!