By Joy Bergman

Hungry for some sushi that actually tastes fresh? Craving some delicious hibachi but aren’t sure where to go? Want to experience Japan without the plane ticket? Problem solved! Just off of Little Road next to Hobby Lobby in Ridge Plaza, stands an exciting and authentic Japanese restaurant, fondly known as Kawa Japanese Steak House & Sushi. Since owner Jerry first opened Kawa on September 1st of 2018, many happy customers have passed through the restaurant’s doors, enjoying an authentic Japanese experience with delicious food and great service. 

After previously owning a Hibachi restaurant in the Smoky Mountains, Jerry and his wife moved down to Florida just two years ago, buying Kawa from former steakhouse Kumo. Since then, they’ve updated the restaurant in authentic Japanese style, complete with new menus, specials, and even more sushi! “We do this [Kawa Steakhouse] like a family style,” Jerry says, which is just what many people experience when coming into the restaurant. Local guide Wendy writes, “I was so impressed. The service was wonderful and the food is absolutely delicious. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. We will be back!”

In addition to the friendly atmosphere, Kawa is also known for simulating an authentic Japanese dining experience, which countless customers have enjoyed. Visitor Jacob B said, “This Japanese steakhouse is fantastic! The scenery really sets the mood that you’re in Japan! The food is excellent! The service is amazing and they are super nice. I would totally recommend coming here!” Another happy visitor named John was impressed after his first visit to Kawa: “I was a big fan of Arigatos back in the day and I have to say Kawa was much more authentic. Food was excellent, chef was outstanding, great service,” he said. “Definitely going back.” 

While Kawa remains closed for in-door dining, Jerry and his wife are looking forward to welcoming their guests back inside the restaurant in the near future. This is great news for sushi-lovers like Lisa, who miss the steakhouse. “We enjoy our sushi every time we order from Kawa,” Lisa said. “Hope the restaurant will reopen for dine in soon.” Though you may not be able to experience Japan sitting inside Kawa right now, you can still enjoy all the great, fresh flavors in your own home with takeout and delivery! Kawa is currently open from 11:30 AM to 9 PM every day, offering either takeout or delivery from both Uber Eats and Door Dash. Presently, Jerry is proud to offer all day TOGO hibachi specials, including Shrimp, Chicken, and Steak Hibachi! This special is available Monday-Thursday and on Sundays.

Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to try each of these delicious specials, and we were quite pleased! All three of these TOGO meals came with fried rice, (yum!) clear soup, and vegetables, and were reasonably priced. We also ordered some of Kawa’s sushi, the Tempa Bay Sushi roll, which was fresh, tasty, and exciting! This unique roll boasts fried red snapper, cucumber, crab, mayo, and eel sauce and is now a family favorite. My personal favorite though, was the delicious hibachi flavor itself! The rice, vegetables, and steak’s flavors blended together wonderfully, and I can’t remember a time where I enjoyed it more!

My dad and I, who both ordered the steak, also noticed the high quality of the meat. This comes as no surprise, seeing that Jerry buys Premium Angus Steak that is both delicious and even healthier tasting. But we’re not the only ones impressed. Kawa fan Betty M. said that “This is the best Japanese Hibachi I have ever had. Steaks so fresh!!”

Another local named Donna said she’s “tried other places, but Kawa Quality is superior.” And Quality is indeed something the steakhouse takes pride in, as the owners shared with me. In fact, Kawa uses extremely fresh fish that often comes right from Japan! Other times, fish will be delivered to Kawa from places like Alaska depending on what fish is available at the time. Kawa only likes to serve the best of the best, and to the owners, it is more important that the customers are happy than how much the freshest fish cost.

But if the fish is fresh, you know the sushi will be too! Kawa customer T.R. said, “Best sushi I’ve experienced in the area. Consider myself a sushi connoisseur and they are top notch.” And there are many others who agree! Reviewer Jay V. writes, “Wow! After moving to the area 3 years ago and countless misses we finally found our Go To Sushi place. Top shelf and authentic, the food and service is outstanding,” he says.

Some popular rolls people love include the dragon roll, the volcano roll, the Poke Poke Roll, (Jerry’s favorite), and the signature Kawa Roll – and that’s just for starters! Kawa also has a nice selection of vegetarian rolls like the Oshiko and the Vegetable Dragon that can be customized just the way you like. And if you still don’t know where to begin, local guide Victor suggests trying “the Yummy roll & Monster Roll if you like spicy tuna! It’s a little messy,” he says, “but it’s one of my favorites!” To top it off, Kawa has a full-size bar, with everything from beer to Sake to help you unwind. They also offer lunch and sushi specials every week!

It’s no doubt I’m very impressed by Kawa Japanese Steakhouse, as are many in the community who love and appreciate amazing Japanese food. No matter what you come for, whether it be the family atmosphere or the authentic style – the delicious hibachi or the flavorful sushi – Kawa does it right. But try it for yourself! Place an order today and enjoy some of the freshest, tastiest, and most authentic flavors in town!

Kawa Japanese Steak House & Sushi is located at 8631 Little Road, New Port Richey. For orders, call (727) 841-6988 or visit www.kawahibachisushi.com. Follow Kawa on Facebook!