What to expect from Sekushi, the latest addition to Clearwater Beach

Chef Viet Vo is coming home.

click to enlarge Chef Viet Vo. - Alexandria Jones
Alexandria Jones
Chef Viet Vo.

Viet Vo is a busy man. On top of running Frankie’s Lobstah Trap at Tampa’s International Plaza and lending his culinary expertise to the 2020 Olympics, Vo plans to return to the place where his chef career began with a new Japanese sushi restaurant.

Specifics on the location of Sekushi on the Beach were previously on the down-low, but this latest addition to Clearwater Beach has since unveiled its address: 524 Mandalay Ave., formerly occupied by Cork N Brew Bistro.

Sekushi started on the Las Vegas strip, and fittingly, the restaurant’s name is the Japanese word for “sexy.” As a partner, Vo is in charge of everything from developing the food and drink menus to training staff members. He says Sekushi on the Beach, like the Vegas concept, will offer a modern, eclectic and fun atmosphere.

“We want to provide a Vegas feel, but in a casual beach setting,” the executive chef said, “and you’re going to have the murals, plus the nice, strong Japanese motifs.”

According to Vo, who helped create the Sandpearl Resort’s existing sushi and raw bar before moving on to serve as executive chef at several restaurants throughout the region, most Clearwater Beach eateries offer sushi in smaller quantities. That isn’t the case at Sekushi on the Beach, which aims to reel in locals with sushi as the main draw.

Diners can expect to spend between $10 and $15 per dish while, as Vo puts it, “enjoying a great meal.”

“What better way to bring ‘sexy’ back to the beach? In my opinion, sushi has been a missing element on both ends of the beach. The only people that have it are the hotels, but it’s not the main focus,” he said.

Sekushi on the Beach features 1,600 square feet of space and 75 seats inside and out. Its contemporary take on sushi accompanies a selection of other Asian fare, including ramen, crab rangoon made with a crab cassoulet mix and cream cheese, and Mom’s famous egg rolls.

Once a week, Vo will also incorporate some more of his Vietnamese heritage into the restaurant by exclusively serving pho during “Sunday Pho Day.”

“I’m only offering it on Sundays because I don’t want you to think we are a pho restaurant,” he said. “More than likely, you’ll be hungover from Saturday, so what better way to cure it than a bowl of pho?”

Sekushi on the Beach is slated to debut at the end of the year, before Christmas, and plans for the grand opening haven’t been decided.

The restaurant will offer dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday. Lunch and dinner are in store from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

“Clearwater Beach is where I started as a chef, so it’s kind of my return back home,” Vo said, “and it feels good to be back home.”