By Carla M. Dubis Tedeschi

That Poke bowl looks amazing! Where did you get it? I asked my good friend Austin H. last weekend. “Oh, at Osaka Express,” he said. “They have the best and freshest food ever. My go-to is their signature house classic bowl, with white rice, tuna, salmon, shrimp, cucumber, edamame, sweet corn, pineapple, crabmeat, seaweed salad, masala, house poke sauce and sesame seeds. It is amazing. They are my go-to UberEats option during this pandemic. I probably order from them once a week!”

Whether you choose to dine-in, pick-up, or get it delivered to the comfort of your home, Osaka Express is your Poke Bowl and Hibachi destination! 

Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and conveniently located at The Shoppes at Sunlake Centre in Lutz, Osaka Express offers a wide variety of authentic and incredibly fresh Poke Bowls and Hibachi dishes. 

This fast-casual dining spot opened its doors in September 2018, and it is the perfect place for a quick and affordable lunch with coworkers, a casual meal with your family, or a healthier take-out and delivery option.

“My son and I love this place. The service is fast and very friendly, and the food is amazing and fresh and much healthier than many other take out options. Today we brought some home for other family members who haven’t been able to come with us and they raved, so I think we found our new family favorite take out place,” said 5-star google reviewer, Michele G. 

Owner Xin Lin and the attentive and caring Osaka Express staff will gladly help you with food suggestions and recommendations. The place is impeccably clean, as you’d expect from a top quality restaurant. The staff is following COVID-19 sanitation guidelines, and they are constantly making sure to disinfect everything after every guest.

Xin has over 22 years of experience in the restaurant business. You may have heard of him before, as he is also the proud owner of Osaka Sushi and Grill in Carrollwood, which is a more sushi, steak and seafood oriented restaurant with a more formal atmosphere. Both restaurants are worth the visit and will turn you into a regular, like they did with me and my friends!

When asked about the location of Osaka Express, Xin says, “I chose this location because I live here. This is home to me. And this community is all about family, and I love that.”

Fast, Delicious & Healthy Food — It doesn’t Get Better Than That!

While the occasional trip to your favorite fast food joint won’t hurt, a habit of eating fast, greasy food could be doing a number on your health and weight.

Recent customer Jeremy S. says, “Osaka offers tasty, affordable and healthy poke bowls and hibachi options with a friendly and helpful staff. There’s a great selection of ingredients and one hundred ways to customize your own poke bowl. Staff always helps me with the sauce suggestions, which turn out to be amazing every time. We will be going back.”

“We’re very quick to serve you, but very healthy as well. Poke Bowls and Hibachi are fast yet wholesome food options for you,” says Xin. “Our meals include lots of fresh protein, rice, and veggies, which are never processed or full of added sugar.” And if you’re worried about overspending, don’t. Traditional Hibachi places will charge anywhere from $15-$23 for a meal that you can get for way less at Osaka express. Many of their signature Poke Bowls are under $13, and several of the Hibachi options are $10 or less!

While Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish, it has taken a long time for the seafood staple to reach the mainland U.S., never mind go global. Thanks to local tastes for healthy and convenient fast food options, a “Poke Craze” seems to have taken over America, and “healthy foodies” like myself couldn’t be happier. 

Poke takes the things people already love about sushi and offers it at a more affordable price. The traditional poke dish combines chunks of raw tuna with salt, candlenuts, and fresh seaweed. This option is still available today, however part of the Poke’s appeal is the way it can be customized to different tastes. At Osaka Express, you can pick and choose your own Poke Bowl ingredients, or go with one of their specialty bowls. They also offer Poke Salads and Poke Burritos. 

The literal meaning of hibachi is “fire bowl,” so you can imagine the amount of heat used to cook this delicious food. Hibachi is the cooking of meat, veggies, and seafood dishes on a high-heat, metal cooking plate. 

With Osaka Express, Xin was able to bring to life a “hot and cold fusion dining experience” that aims to satisfy your entire family. They truly have something for everyone, especially for us seafood lovers who enjoy customizing our dishes, and even for those picky eaters who’d never try raw fish.

“A lot of Poke Bowl places don’t offer hot food options like we do, just raw seafood. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but let’s be honest, not everyone likes raw fish, especially young kids,” says Xin. “At Osaka Express, everyone can enjoy a fresh and healthy meal. Hot or Cold, raw or cooked, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”

Local Food Guide Madi D. says, “Our food at Osaka is always amazing! The poke bowls are flawless every time, and the hibachi is perfect. I choose my own ingredients most days because I like customizing my own bowls and like having the option to do so.”

There’s a large number of Osaka Express regulars. Some of which were coming in during my visit, asking for their “favorite bowl” or their “usual Hibachi meal.” After I got to try a wakame salad, a poke bowl full of fresh tuna and salmon, steak and chicken hibachi, and the Krab Rangoon appetizer, I’ll be a regular too! Everything was truly delicious. Even my mother, who happened to be with me during my first ever visit to Osaka, and who is a very picky eater, said that was some of the best food she’s ever had and is looking forward to returning. 

Osaka Express also features a wide variety of hot and cold beverages, including a large variety of soft drinks, teas, and exotic canned juices. I was fortunate to try a very soothing hot Jasmine Green tea that helped my sore throat, and a cold canned Guava juice, which brought me back to Venezuela with each sip. I grew up drinking guava juice regularly, but it is not a typical drink in the U.S. If you’re the adventurous type and love trying new things, trust me, get your meal with the Guava juice, you’ll enjoy it.

Osaka Express is located at the Shoppes at Sunlake Centre, at 18855 FL-54, Lutz, FL 33558. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Visit  https://osakaexpressfl.com/ to order online for a quick pick up or call ((813) 388-5091.