22 December 2008

KwikPicks: Dinner at Wasabi in Minneapolis

Had a very enjoyable sushi dinner at Wasabi with some people from work.

Food: 3.5

Service: 3

Ambiance: 2.5

Value: 3

I’ve been on a project team with a group of consultants from Deloitte. As we near the end of the project, and as the consultants begin to disperse, the project sponsor offered to host an early dinner before people made their way to the airport. I was asked to recommend a venue. Wasabi was the choice.

We don’t have too many sushi places in Minneapolis. I like Nami and Origami. There are a few others like Fuji Ya and Sushi Tango. I hadn’t tried Wasabi, which is relatively new. But a co-worker had, and he had very good things to say about it. The location was appropriate for two of the consultants who needed to leave early and get to the airport.

Ordering was really quite simple. We started with a ‘boat.’ It was, literally, a large model boat with different varieties of sushi and sashimi arrayed on the deck. These items all were pretty basic – a couple of rolls, 3 or 4 varieties of fish and seafood items, and one very attractive maki roll. Our server suggested it would be good for 3 or 4 people, and I guess he was right. He also told us about two evening specials. Ok, I know this is a terrible thing for a food review, but I’m really at a loss to explain them, and since they were specials, I can’t even look them up on the restaurant’s online menu. But they were really good.

Overall, I thought the fish was very fresh and well prepared. The items on the boat were good but not out of the ordinary. The specials were really good. The ambiance of the place was comfortable, but the noise was a little too loud. It was hard for me to hear people across the table very well.

One of our guests for dinner was from New York and the other was from Los Angeles. I asked them to comment how Wasabi compared to sushi restaurants in their cities.

Melissa (New York), thought the décor of Wasabi resembled a Japanese country lodge: “Big points for creativity of the rolls, especially the "lobster-sized" shrimp one - you see a lot of shrimp tempura in rolls these days but rarely one with such an extraordinary specimen!”

Michael (L.A.): “Quality of the fish was at least on par with what I find in NYC and LA. Definitely would consider going back the next time I'm in Minneapolis.”

Recommendation: I probably like Nami and Origami better. But Wasabi is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re in the neighborhood anyway for an event at the Metrodome or the Guthrie Theater.

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