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Wasabi: Japanese Flair

There have been many reincarnations at 752 Elmwood Avenue over the past couple of years. Wasabi is the newest restaurant nestled next door to Fowlers Chocolates and right across the street from Spot Coffee. When you enter you are greeted with exposed brick, sleek furniture and a gleaming sushi bar where colorful sashimi sits like little gems in a glass case. It is a small restaurant that can seat 12 at the tables and about 10 at the bar. Sitting at the sushi bar is a treat and entertainment in and of itself; watching Chef Tony expertly craft fresh sushi rolls with artistry and exuberance is a great centerpiece for a meal. There is no liquor license yet, so sip some heart healthy green tea while sampling the many choices Wasabi has to offer.
Chef Tony Kang is the owner and head chef, and he has been making sushi for over 20 years—he has even shared his craft at the famed New York City Restaurant Sushi Sennin. His experience guarantees you will truly have a feast for the senses, seeing the artistry of Japanese food and tasting its many flavors and textures.
Wasabi’s menu is vast. Often times, when a menu is big it loses something; how can someone master so many different dishes? Somehow Wasabi manages, and prices are varied also, so one can go inexpensive or splurge, whether for lunch or dinner.

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Sushi is not the only available fare at Wasabi, as there are plenty of delicious Japanese dishes to choose from for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. For a nice and light vegetarian meal, try the edamame (steamed young soybean pods) for $4.50, which has a crisp and slightly salty flavor. There is also aged tofu and a selection of salads, vegetable rolls and soups to chose from. Kitchen entrees range from $10-$12 and include NY Strip steak, teriyaki chicken and traditional Japanese beef dishes. Try a hearty and flavorful steamed dumpling, $4.50 for shrimp or pork.
One of Wasabi’s most popular sushi rolls is the Super Dynamite, which is a tempura-fried roll with eel, white tuna, asparagus and cream cheese. The sushi rolls are very creative (and large) and range from $9.50-$11.95. If you are looking for smaller rolls such as California (Crabstick, avocado, cucumber and tobiko) or a simple salmon or tuna roll, those will only set you back $4.50, and everything is very fresh and made to order. Feeling adventurous? I love the eel, roe and scallops at Wasabi. The eel is sweet and tangy and tastes great with the sticky rice. Raw scallops may take some getting used to for some, but they are light and flavorful with a nice, meaty texture. The roe (fish eggs) are freshly firm and salty.
I started my meal off with the seafood ceviche ($8.95), which held an assortment of seafood, crisp vegetables and mango. The dish, both spicy and sweet was a very refreshing way to start the meal. My next appetizer was the white tuna tataki ($8.95), with a choice of white tuna, salmon or seared tuna, with a special sauce and ginger. Ginger is served with every entrée and appetizer; it is not only good for you, but it is also a palette cleanser to get your taste buds ready for the next course.

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For an entrée I was presented with the traditional Omakase ($30.00), which is a presentation of the chef’s best selection of sashimi and rolls.
I sampled the spicy scallop roll, with seared scallops nestled in rice, along with nori served with vegetables and a spicy sauce.
My presentation of sushi and sashimi was remarkable. Each fish had its own distinct flavor, texture and color. Mackerel, Toro (blue fin tuna), salmon, spicy shrimp, and yellowtail are great fish to start with when first trying sushi because you are able to sample both mild and strong flavored fish. There’s an interactive element to using the wasabi and soy sauce, adding to the saltiness and heat, to modify the flavors.
My favorite dessert is the ice cream mochi. I fell in love with green tea and red bean ice cream while traveling in Asia a couple of years ago. Green tea has long been a staple in the Japanese diet and red bean is not only very sweet, but it is also good for you. Mochi, a kind of a rice cake, is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year. The mochi surrounds the ice cream like little dumplings, and when you bite into them together, the flavor of the ice cream coupled with the texture of the mochi is heavenly. Wasabi also serves vanilla and mango ice cream, as well as a tempura banana for dessert. Desserts range from $2.50 for the mochi ice cream to $4.25 for tempura ice cream.

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Get to Wasabi while the patio is open if you like the outdoor ambience of Elmwood, but in or out, this restaurant is going to be a favorite all year long.
Wasabi
752 Elmwood Avenue
Tuesday-Thursday 11:30AM-10:30PM
Friday and Saturdays 11:30AM – 11PM
Sundays 1:30PM -10:30PM
716.887.8388

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