Rock ‘N Raw The Sushi Joint in the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa left us with the exact feeling a night at the casino should fill you with; wanting more.
My two friends and I sat ourselves and were immediately greeted by our server and chef, Kim Pak Chai. When you get to the second floor of the Hard Rock, it is easy to see the immense feasting table capable of seating 40 easily, with an adjacent sushi bar. The seating is similar to traditional Chinese Culture where you can see everyone at the table and is in the shape of a large triangle. Kim’s enthusiastic energy about the restaurant and passion for his food was evident and kept us really interested in the items we enjoyed. Kim has been with the Hard Rock for over a year and a half, and the restaurant has been in the Hard Rock since November 2007.
We started our meals with hot sake, and Kim introduced us to a sake none of us had heard of called “Fungachi”, which had 19% alcohol and was really good! Our first items were the surf n turf and kim chee pickled, which was an assortment of three very spicy peppers that complimented the food well.
We were also able to enjoy the King Do Pork Ribs, which are cooked with a duck version black vinegar, and the meat was tender and tasty. Another interesting item we tried was the Hog fish, which is cooked by steaming the whole fish, including the head! To our surprise, it was full of flavor, “Florida Fresh”, and did not have a fishy aftertaste.
Chef Kim informed us that, traditionally, Rock ‘N Raw was originally only considered Chinese, however Kim has influenced the menu into a more general Asian flare. After taking a look at the menu item names, it is clear that he does take pieces from different Asian cuisines and adds his own personal influences.
I am a huge fan of bacon, and we got to try an Asian style of bacon which was made with pork belly and a flavorful oyster sauce. Our meal was complimented with Hong Kong style noodles, shrimp fried rice, and red oil dumplings prepared with an Asian balsamic (black vinegar).
During our meal, around 2:00 pm, the ambiance of the restaurant was quiet, however during peak hours a wait is not unusual.
Our experience at Rock ‘N Raw was great; It had an extremely friendly staff, amazing food and beverages, and came with a sense of family as we ate our meal. Coming from someone with little knowledge on Asian cuisine, I was extremely impressed with the amount of information we were able to retain from the explanation of the food we ate.
Rock ‘N Raw is open daily from 11: 30 a.m. until 10 p.m., and on Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays it is open until 12 a.m.. Check out this link for more information about the menu items you can enjoy while dining at Rock ‘N Raw.
Disclosure: I received this complimentary experience through a Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino partnership in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Click to access rock-n-raw-menu.pdf