Old Seminole Heights, Tampa
[I'm jumping ahead to our most recent dinner out, rather than adding more from the GB/RB in chrono. order because I want to get our reviews of this place out while it's still a brand new restaurant. Expect more from the "back catalog" soon.-M]
From the Green Book:
Chop Chop Shop seems to have sprung up overnight and opened with little in the way of fanfare right in the middle of the vibrant O.S.H. restaurant scene. It's practically across the street from The Rooster (Matt's favorite Tpa restaurant, in case you forgot ;). We walked there under an umbrella in a light drizzle.
The interior is sparse, but trendy, with rough concrete floors, bare (for now) red walls, and a counter made from stained pallets. The menu is hand written on butcher paper affixed to the wall, at least for now.
Ordering was difficult for this novice. The system is: you choose your sauce, then your meat, then your "side" (which is really more of a garnish, since it's all served together in a bowl). Also: decide if you want white rice or (for $2 more) brown soba noodles. But wait: there are also four or so signature bowls, and if you're not in the mood for a bowl-based meal, there are four burger options, and chicken nuggets. There are a lot of permutations here.
It took a while, but I chose the "Shogun Bowl," which was braised beef with soy, ginger, carrots (which thankfully, I couldn't detect), onions, and garlic. I went with the noodles, and picked the "Korean pickled peppers" for my garnish. Mel got the "Bangkok Boogie" preparation with pulled pork on rice, and the purple slaw on top.
The bowls came out exactly five minutes later, and they looked and smelled great.
The Shogun with noodles and peppers:
Tucking in, I found the beef a tad dry, but very flavorful. The noodles were great, and the peppers were wicked-hot-- which suited me just fine. Those bright yellow semi-circles atop each were pickled ginger, which was a nice touch. The best bites came when I got all three main components together into one rich, spicey, tangy, salty melange (with plenty of umami for good measure). The bowl cost ~$11 (our total was just under $25 including two bottles of water), which doesn't seem like too much considering the vast portion of meat. I'm quite stuffed as I sit here typing.
The restaurant is BYO for now (I overheard them talking about adding beer and wine down the road), which I like, and will take advantage of in the future. I can also definitely see this as a great take-out option, which is also much appreciated. They still have plenty of logistics to work out (e.g.: figuring out how to bus our table was a silly challenge), and their hours are shifting week-to-week until they do. But I see this as a great addition to our neighborhood, and to the food scene generally, and I wish them all the best.
4.0 out of 5 from me.
From the Red Book:
Bangkok Boogie pork bowl with white rice. (Bangkok sauce-- tamarind, pomegranate, fresh lime juice, Chinese 5 spice, chiles, ginger, fried garlic & honey) with a side of purple slaw (red cabbage threads, white onion, Japanese mayo, rice vinegar, and ginger).
"Bangkok Boogie" with pulled pork, rice, and purple slaw:
Sweet and spicey as indicated on the menu. Although I ordered the slaw as a side, I believe it was an important part of the dish as it cooled the spiciness of each bite. The only real complaint I had is that the pork was dry even with the sauce. The best thing is that there was no skimping on meat. There was honestly more meat than rice.
Very friendly and quick service as well as delivery of food. Affordable and cooked to order. The ambiance is horrible and I would recommend getting the food to go. [I think that's pretty harsh, Mel- M] No real choices for drink (water, Coke, Mountain Dew, Diet Coke and some Asian sodas in can/bottle, not fountain). For me this is important as I generally order tea with my meals, but again if you don't mind, it's no biggie, and if you do, order to go.
DIY busing, but that is not super clear because the bus tub/garbage can is in the far back corner of the restaurant. May have been helpful to have been told via signage or have multiple drop-spots.
Overall it is a great addition to the neighborhood.
3.75 out of 5 from me. [Really, Mel? Really?-M]
Chop Chop Shop is located at:
6605 N Florida Ave
Tampa, Florida 33604
tel. (813) 770-7306
Their hours (for now) are:
...but they plan to ramp up to do more days/lunches soon, so check their facebook page (linked above) to be sure.
Feedback for us goes to firstname.lastname@example.org
and thanks for reading!