Friday, February 13, 2009

sushi wasabi - edmonton, ab

sushi wasabi

5714 111 Street

Giving my regular go-to sushi establishment enough chances after an ownership change and a slide in both the quality and deliciousness, I felt it was time to look for something new. After brief look around the Internet and hearing a few local opinions, I started making my list. Not knowing where to start, I flipped a mental coin and ended up choosing sushi wasabi over in lendrum. A great first and second visit were enough for me to shoot for a third. Forgetting they are closed on Monday's, I've gone back twice now and left to wallow in my poor memory skills . But, with a recent sushi craving, and it not being Monday, I set off quickly for my third actual visit.

It would have been impossible not to notice the amount of customers on my first two visits and this visit was no exception. If anything, it was even more jammed up right from the word go. With no available tables, my dining companions and I pulled up to the bar filling the last three available seats. I've been wanting to attempt an omakase meal since I first discovered this style of meal, and after two succesful visits I figured it was worth the inquiry. Our server, the owners son, mentioned that it is something they could accommodate but his father was in a poor mood this evening and it wasn't something he felt like undertaking. He also mentioned they are suffering some some pretty big staff shortages, which I took into account later when it seemed impossible to get a tea refill.

Not expecting to actually undertake an omakse experience, and only eating a handful of vegetables this afternoon, I was ready for an ordering frenzy but my fellow eaters couldn't be persuaded. So I kept it simple and filling; chirashi, a dish I ordered on my second visit and was more than happy with. My only quip would have been the overwhelming amount of rice, which thankfully was more in check on this visit. Now I've only started ordering chirashi in the last year so my experience with the bowl is relatively new, but sushi wasabi is the only restaurant where I've received two types of roe and a rotation of vegetables toppings. Something I really like. Variation is the spice of life right..

My fellow eaters ordered a shrimp tempura roll (no picture) and this futo-maki. They enjoyed their choices, but I was let down by the futo. I found my taste buds were overwhelmed with mayo, so much so that I barely tasted the citrus from the grapefruit - a pretty strong flavour on its own if you ask me. I'm glad I tried it and while it isn't something I would rush to order again, I would probably suggest it to non-sashimi dinners.

Feeling the need to end my meal with a bit of luxury I ordered a piece of sea urchin (uni).

What can I say, after 3 visits my initial thoughts have been confirmed; the food here is good, and if this visit was the owner/chef at his worst, then I will gladly continue to stop in when I'm craving some fish. I must warn you again - It has always been an extremely busy place and hours are limited 5-10pm. If you don't have a reservation I would recommend stopping in with a small party or before 6 if you want to chance it.

Being at the bar I couldn't help but noticed the chefs bad mood show and I felt like it reflected in the dishes on this evening. Having sampled various maki, nigri, and sashimi here before I was surprised to see some cuts, especially the tuna and salmon sashimi, suffering from jagged knife skills.


Sarah said...

Love sushi wasabi! Furosato is really good too. I think I'll claim the, "When I finally have a fancy job...we should go." Especially since Indian food is the new sushi - it won't be too busy. :D

shokutsu said...

Curious to know what your former regular go-to sushi place was?

I used to remember this place when it was nothing more than a makeshift stand booth in the old Strathcona Chinatown Mall off Whyte Ave. It was famous for its insanely large pieces of nigiri. To me, they seemed more like giant rice balls (onigiri).

Sushi bars, with their really naked concept, make for anything like a bad mood by the person behind the counter stand out all the more. Sorry to hear you got a grumpy response to your attempt to try an omakase. Frankly, that kind of overt conveyance of a poor attitude should never be felt by a customer.

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