By Megan McDonald June 20, 2011

I was Kumo-ed.

What, you ask is Kumo, and how does one get Kumo-ed? Well, just ask acclaimed food writer Chris Kohatsu, who thankfully recommended Kumo, and backed that up with friends Les and Debi Gardo, who accepted our invitation to the Kumo sushi experience.

Deb and Les Gardi with Kumo owner Lilly Ten.

Kumo is the Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar on University near Square 1 Burgers & Bar. While the opening of the steakhouse did not go unnoticed by this food enthusiast, the thought of a Benihana experience didn’t particularly grab me.

Ha! What a loss of months of great sushi that we have missed out on. Kumo is far from the 1070’s throwback. First, it is warm and inviting, with a cool vibe and clearly a very large following. Second, the owners are the epitome of hospitality. You feel like you are part of the experience right away. We started with flights of sake and Korean wines. Having never experienced Korean wine, I can compare it to that of a plum wine—certainly something to enjoy in the spirit of Asian dining.

Ah, those delicious dumplings....

Dumplings and tempura are an absolute must at Kumo. The shrimp tempura was delicately fried, with the crispy encasing on the outside leading to sweet shrimp or vegetables within. And artistry is everywhere at Kumo; orchids and vegetable carvings grace even simple plates.

Tempura shrimp: also a star of our evening.

The No. 1 favorite of the evening was the Dynamite Seafood: an array of diced seafood baked in a spicy sauce and served in a large clamshell with unique and outstanding flavors that did not overpower the taste of shellfish.

Top photo: Perfection in sushi form; bottom photo: a sushi boat sets sail.

Hamachi (yellow tail) was delicately sliced and arranged with a slight drizzle of soy and sliced jalapeño. Next up was the Kumo Roll, and trust me, this is a power roll that’s in the running for best sushi roll of the year. Shut your eyes and imagine shrimp tempura, asparagus and cream cheese rolled then topped with fresh tuna, salmon, yellow tail and crabmeat. Sin-sational!

Masters at the grill.

While we did not venture to the steakhouse side of the menu, families were gathered around tables sharing and having a wonderful experience, and even I have vowed to return for the flipping of the shrimp and hibachi steaks.

Kumo serves both lunch and dinner, and get ready North Port: Not only is there a Kumo already in Venice to make your ride easier, but September will welcome another Kumo to your town as well.

Trust me, dine once and you will be Kumo-ed—a sushi spell that leaves your craving more.

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