Monday, February 7, 2011

Wasabi Sushi: A New Omaha Hotspot

Thanks to the few of you who suggested restaurants for our anniversary dinner this year!!  We decided that we were in the market for some good seafood, and sushi hit the spot.  A new sushi restaurant just opened up within the past year here in Omaha called Wasabi Sushi.  Actually, several new sushi places have popped up recently, but this is one we’d heard much ado about and wanted to try.  It is an all-you-can-eat sushi place, with a standard set fee.  $12.99 for lunch or $22.99 for dinner is not a bad price for sushi.  With that price comes a selected menu you can order off of as many times as you’d like.  (Dinner offers more options than lunch, thus the higher price.)  The only catch: if you order too much & have leftovers, you will be charged regular a la carte price for them.  They obviously do not want you trying to take home large amounts of sushi for later.  Which is understandable – sushi isn’t cheap. 

Right before we went, we got an offer to purchase $10 worth of Wasabi sushi for $5, so we bought into that, knowing we’d be using it soon.  (Some of you are familiar with Groupon deals, which are similar.  This happened to be an “Omaha Daily Deal” offer.) 

We were all set.  And then Jake got sick.  So we had to postpone our anniversary feast for a week.  Bummer. 

When we finally arrived, we were antsy for some good sushi.  I will confess that I was reluctant to try another sushi place, since I’ve tried several and though some have been fine, nothing has ever matched Hiro’s excellence in my mind.  I just didn’t want to waste good money.  However, I was excited to try some new things for an all-you-can-eat price. 

We ordered tempura mushrooms for a starter, which were just about the most delicious mushrooms I’ve ever tasted.  I love tempura batter.  It’s just so light & flaky compared to the breading on most fried mushrooms.  Jake agreed, though I think he was anxious to just get to the “good” stuff (aka sushi).  We ordered several rolls, he ordered his very first handroll (my goodness, those are huge) and he ordered several pieces of nigiri.  That was what he was most excited about, since those (& sashimi, which is only offered at dinner there) are the most expensive of the sushi options normally. 

One roll we ordered that was interesting was the Boston, which had shrimp, crab, avocado, cucumber, lettuce (Boston Bibb) and spiced mayo.  It was pretty good at first bite, but later on it didn’t seem quite so delectable for some reason.  (I’d say maybe the reason is coming.  Keep reading.)

I ordered an asparagus salmon roll that had cream cheese in it.  From the menu, it sounded exactly like something I’ve gotten a lot at Hiro and enjoyed.  Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it.  Some texture in it was way OFF.  (I’m not always a “texture” person, not having issues with many of the textures that bother a lot of people. But textures in sushi are a bit different deal for me.)  I think they mixed the salmon with the eel sauce, rather than just putting the eel sauce on top, like Hiro does.  They shouldn’t mix it in.  Since it had cream cheese in it, Jake wouldn’t touch it and leftovers weren’t an option (refer to policy explanation above).  So I choked most of it down, all but one piece.  However, I think that tainted my view quite a bit about Wasabi as a whole. 

Something we noticed about Wasabi’s roll options was that most involved some kind of mayonnaise.  At first I didn’t mind that touch, but after awhile, it got to be too much.  In fairness, I think other places, even Hiro, lean a bit too much on cream cheese as an ingredient in their rolls.  But I guess I can live with that better than the mayo bit. 

At the end, we put in an order for shrimp tempura as well.  That was DELICIOUS.  Again, the tempura batter was awesome.  One thing I didn’t note above, but that also accompanied the mushroom tempura, was the dipping sauce.  Tangy and sweet but very mild.  I’m sure it’s pretty standard for a tempura dipping sauce, but nonetheless, it was great.  I was just so happy to have a good ending, rather than the enduring taste of the roll I had to choke down.

We’ll definitely go back.  You just can’t beat the price.  And we even have some more coupons that came in the mail.  I would recommend it, but with an asterisk.  If you want the BEST sushi, go to Hiro.  If you want decent sushi at a great price, Wasabi is pretty darn good.  But avoid the asparagus salmon roll at Wasabi at all costs!

**This was before my husband’s new diet restrictions.  Though I’m sure there are lots of menu items that will still work for him, a lot of the menu would now be off-limits, including the delicious tempura items and anything with mayo.  Big. Fat. Bummer!!  However, his precious mackerel nigiri would still be safe.

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