It almost seems like you could walk out of your house, throw a rock in any direction, and hit a sushi restaurant in the Tampa Bay area these days. This is a tad of an exaggeration, of course, but the rampant popularity of this Japanese treat has seemingly infiltrated all corners of Tampa's culinary landscape - from upscale lounges to discount lunch spots and everywhere between - as of late.
Of course, it can't all be amazing, or horrendous for that matter, either. From my experience, most sushi spots in Tampa - including a recent trek to Ocean Blue - hover in that safe, but boring space right between abysmal and great.
Like many of its Tampa sushi contemporaries, Ocean Blue sits in an unassuming strip mall in North Tampa. It's interior is lined with dark marble countertops, elegant modern lighting, and all the other catalogue-like furnishings that make up your typical contemporary sushi lounge.
Ocean Blue's sushi menu consists of an eclectic, but standard assortment of rolls in fried, spicy, creamy, and local varieties. Spicy tunu always seems like a good litmus test for how a restaurants sushi stacks up. Ocean Blue's is passable, but marred by a way-too-much dose of spicy mayonaise seemingly slathered atop.
The mussels appetizer fared much the same way. The mussels themselves were quite good - insanely soft with a nice, fresh sweetness - but were quite literally bathed in this orange, spicy mayonaise.
Judging from this one experience, if anything, it'd just be nice to see Ocean Blue lay off the all the sauce and pretty-ness and just take pride in its fish, because the actual meat of both dishes was quite succulent. With the mussels ringing in at $6 and the spicy tuna at $7, the prices are pretty commendable as well. Lay off the fluff and there could be a great sushi restaurant in the works soon enough.