Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wasabi - Wichita, Kansas


912 E. Douglas

Wichita, Kansas

August 20, 2010

Phil, Mike, and Nicki ate at Wasabi which opened a month ago. It is owned by the chef, Steve Young, who has already started two sushi restaurants in Tulsa, OK that are now run by family members. Young grew up in Japan and learned how to prepare sushi from his father and grandfather who were fishermen before coming to the United States in 1990.

The interior space is nice, the service is decent (although they appear to have a propensity to drop glassware and beer bottles), and the food is good. The menu features standard appetizers, soups, nigiri, makiono, sashimi, bento boxes and they have a kids’ menu. It also has a special half-price sushi section that is very confusing and quite deceptive as you have to buy three of something (which was not clear) and some of the items on the list were not half-price (and were not marked as such). The latter of which was not discovered until paying the bill, at which point we strongly advised that they indicate exceptions on the menu.

The chef's special rolls were good. They even brought out a complimentary roll. In addition to the standard rolls (spicy tuna, etc.) they feature a line of thematically-named rolls – Coconut Gigolo, Hot Night Roll, Love Roll, and Sexy Roll. We ordered a Red Dragon roll. It came on a long plate in a cradle of tin foil, and it was on fire. Once the fire extinguished itself, we found this roll consisting of crab, avocado, and tuna rolled in panko and black sesame seeds, and topped with special sauce to be delicious.

The standard nigiri selections were good, but not great. Chef Young was very honest when we asked if certain fish was fresh and he told us to avoid some that were on the menu. A bit surprising that they did not have entirely fresh fish on a Friday night. The prices were reasonable but hopefully they can amend their menu to reflect what is half-price. Wasabi is not the best in town, but is still good and may improve with time.

Tuna: 3.5

Salmon: 3

Yellowtail: 4

White tuna: 4

Uni: N/A

Unagi: 4

Taste: 3.5

Texture: 3.5

Appearance: 4

Presentation: 4.5

Restaurant: 3.5

Overall: 4

Total score: 23 : Above Average


912 E. Douglas

Wichita, Kansas

September 25, 2010

Bart, Mike, and Nicki ate at Wasabi. Food was slightly better than we remember it from 5 weeks ago. The red dragon roll was just as delicious. And they have added asterisks to their menu to designate exceptions to the half-price nigiri sushi :-) Sushiscores.com continues to make a difference in the lives of people who search after, eat, and enjoy sushi around the world.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Best Sushi in Baton Rouge: WAKA house

We've taken a little sabbatical from sushi for the past few months, but I have a new passion for sushi in my home town of Baton Rouge: WAKA house. I went there last nite with my wife who isn't a sushi fan to begin with; but she'd heard some good things about the place and knew I loved sushi, so we had a date. We went to the restaurant on Sherwood Forest & Coursey (I believe there's another one on Highland Rd?). The place was busy, and rather small with about 15 tables. I wasn't impressed with the decor; really no Asian feel to the place other than the chopsticks and spoon on the table (no fork)...reminded me of eating in China.  Worst of all, there was no actual sushi bar...this seemed a bad sign to me.

The menu was unlike anything I'd seen before; a full-page and full-color binder of large photos of the sushi rolls, and a rather large sushi order menu with a ton of options. I was overwhelmed by the number of sushi roll choices, yet underwhelmed by the nigiri choices. They had the standard nigiri, but nothing like uni or tai. We started with the pan sauted dumplings, which were quite ordinary; and the service was quite slow (it was busy) but little did I know things were about to get better very quickly. The friendly waitress brought us complimentary edimame because of our prolonged wait. Then the rolls and nigiri came out like a train at just the right times, and all I kept saying was, "WOW"

The rolls were excellent: I recommend the Thompson Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, and Seared Tuna Roll. All were fantastic. I also had the Himachimaki roll, but wouldn't order it again. But I was more impressed with the nigiri. The portions were out of this world. Check out the sizes of these pieces. The eel was ENORMOUS. 2 pieces for less than $4, which were twice the size of normal pieces. I have never had portions that big. Here are the scores on taste, texture, and appearance:

Tuna: 5 for all (5.0)
Salmon: 4.5 for all (4.5)
Eel: 4.5 for taste & texture, 5 for appearance (4.6)
Escolar: Taste 4, Texture 5, Appearance 4.5 (4.5)
Hamachi: Taste 4, Texture & appearance, 5 (4.7)
Overall Taste: 4.4
Overall Texture:  4.8
Overall Appearance: 4.8
Restaurant: 3.5
Presentation: 5
Overall Experience: 4.5

Score: 27 (Excellent)

I was so impressed that I sent compliments to the chef/owner Mr. Wong, who sent his wife out to thank us for the kudos. She explained that they had been open for about a year, and that Mr. Wong was a sushi chef at many sushi restaurants in Japan before emigrating to the US.

WAKA House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Sushi Brothers, New Orleans

Andre and I had an afternoon in New Orleans without the wives or kids, so we decided to do what we love to do: Drink beer and eat sushi. We just left the Avenue Pub with very good "Hopitoulas" beer as we headed down St. Charles and came upon Sushi Brothers. It was right at opening time at 4:59 pm, so we gave it a shot. We were very pleased... Everything averaged 4.5 for taste, texture and appearance except for the eel (4). The portions were amazing. The LSU roll was also excellent.  The restaurant was about 4, presentation was 4, and overall experience a 4. That gives Sushi Brothers a 25.5 rating, just below the threshold for excellent. Give it a try!

Score: 25.5 (Well above average)

Sushi Brothers on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kofusion (Champaign, IL)

This is the top rated 'fine dining' restaurant in Champaign Illinois, so I had to try it. It was recommended by several locals as "the" sushi place. For a Monday nite, the place was packed. It was definitely one of those trendy, high-priced and upscale decor sushi places that I dont like. It's a sign that they put more emphasis on the looks than the fish. I was proven right yet again.The White Tuna was outstanding, but the tuna was average.

Tuna: 3.5
Salmon: 4
Yellowtail: 4
White tuna: 4.8
Uni: 4
Unagi: 4

Taste: 4.1
Texture: 4.1
Appearance: 4
Presentation: 4
Restaurant: 3.5 (too trendy for me)
Overall: 4

Total score: 23.7 : Above Average

Kofusion on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 19, 2010

Aji Nippon (Bethesda, MD)

Phil was coming into DC for a couple of days, so we had to find a new sushi restaurant to try. As I am not a fan of most of the "trendy" places in DC for both the relatively poor quality and the really high prices. So, I consulted Siri, which was shown to me by some friends, Shawn Burger and Mike Cicero while comparing iPhone apps while in San Diego. I just said, "Best Sushi Restaurants in Bethesda, MD" and, among others, Aji Nippon came up.

When we got there, it was a smaller restaurant with Japanese music and decor. In fact, they had autographs on the wall of famous people who had been there. Ted Kennedy was one. You will see below that the sushi was excellent and it quickly became clear that this is a potential Top-10er, so thank you Shawn, Mike, and Siri!

First of all, the sushi was served on a really nice looking plate. The Avacado Spicy Tuna roll and the Rainbow roll were also very good. Really, the only down spot was the Unagi. It was colder than normal and overall just average in taste and texture. The Miso soup and edamame were both good, but the dumplings were really well done. Grilled nicely and very warm.

Hamachi 5
Uni 4.8
Maguro 4.8
Sake 4.7
Unagi 3.8

Overall Taste 4.7
Overall Texture 4.4
Overall Appearance 4.8
Restaurant 4.5
Presentation 4.5
Overall Experience 4.5

Total 27.4/30 (Excellent)

We were really very pleased with the sushi and will absolutely be back again. Also, try the Kimchi!

Aji Nippon on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 09, 2010

Kanai (Wichita KS)

Kanai opened in Wichita a few months ago. We've found that the former #1 sushi restaurant in Wichita, Sumo, has gone down quite a bit from it's humble beginnings on Rock Road. Kanai was a sushi chef at the original Sumo when we liked it, and opened his own place, so we had to try it.

Kanai s a relatively small place compared to Sumo since is has no hibachi grills (a good sign for a sushi restaurant). It was packed for a Wednesday nite. Kanai himself was behind the bar making sushi, while his wife served us. We were first given a small Japanese taste of black seaweed and fish on the house, which had a taste that reminded us of eating in Japan. We were really excited that we had found a new #1.

Then the food started arriving. We had miso soup, which was good, but only room temperature. The edamame was OK, and the seaweed salad was OK; nothing too exciting yet. As we ordered the sushi, there was the standard fare with some interesting options on the menu. Unfortunately, the interesting fish weren't available; and most importantly, no Uni. The only thing we were able to try out of the ordinary was "young hamachi". It wasn't worth rating. Not good at all.

The maguro was the most disappointing, but we did have several "5"s for taste and texture on the Hamachi, Albacore, and Unagi.

Escolar: 4.2
Maguro: 3.8
Hamachi: 4.9
Sake: 4.4
Unagi: 4.9
Albacore: 4.8

Overall Taste: 4.5
Overall Texture: 4.3
Overall Appearance: 4.5
Restaurant: 4.5
Presentation: 4
Overall Experience: 4

Total: 25.8 (Above Average, slightly)

We also had a few rolls. They had a wide variety of choices. The Ropponggi roll was very good, while the Shocker roll was OK, but a little fishy. We never got our spicy tuna roll.

Overall, we weren't that impressed; while some of the fish were excellent, others weren't. The service was quite slow. At least the beer was cold (would have been nicer to have on-tap), and the restaurant itself was nice. I guess we'll have to keep looking for that next great Wichita sushi restaurant.


Kanai on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 05, 2010

Hello Sushi (Baton Rouge)

This was the 4th time I've eaten at Hello Sushi in Baton Rouge (3rd time at Highland location).

Uni: 3.7

Whitefish: 4

Yellowtail: 4

Salmon: 4.2

Tuna: 3.3

Eel: 3.0

Overall Taste: 3.8

Overall Texture: 3.6

Overall Appearance: 3.7

Restaurant: 3.5

Presentation: 4

Overall Experience: 3.5

TOTAL: 22.1 (Average)

As I've noted in previous posts, Hello Sushi is amazingly consistent: Average. Hello Sushi may be the most over-hyped sushi place in Baton Rouge. While they were among the first in the area, there are many more restaurants that do it better than Hello Sushi. It looks like Urbanspoon agrees (only 79% like it as of this post)

Hello Sushi on Urbanspoon