Wasabi's mahalo roll, with pineapple, mango, tuna, steamed shrimp and chili lime sauce, is a sweet, yet subtle homage to Hawaiian cuisine.
Dennis Quaid is a fan. So are Hollywood favourites Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Virginia Madsen.
When sushi-loving film stars are in town, Wasabi—a local chain of three trendy Japanese restaurants with varying menus—is at the ready with inspired rolls, free-flowing sake and no end of sashimi and sushi.
Inside the Broadway location—neighbouring downtown—photos of stars attest to the enduring popularity of this dining hot spot with actors and actresses of varying star power.
It's no wonder.
Traditional and modern rolls that look likeworks of art and an epic list of fresh fish and seafood make Wasabi a must try for locals and visitors.
Daily specials also take advantage of the freshest ingredients.
Housed in a two-storey circa (best guess) 1920s home in the up-and-coming West Broadway neighbourhood, Wasabi on Broadway is collection of intimate dining rooms and a main-floor sushi bar where customers watch their rolls in the making. In summer, a screened veranda also serves as a patio.
During a recent visit, we feasted on a combination of hot and cold dishes. Tip to the wise—don’t rush a visit. The menu is extensive and it will take time to pour over every page. Once you order, however, the kitchen delivers quickly.
For a taste of the tropics, try the incredible mahalo roll. This tantalizing roll delivers sweet (pineapple and mango slices) with subtle spice (red pepper and tempura crumbs) and citrus tang (chili lime sauce). Cliché alert: the albacore tuna is mild and so tender is practically melts in your mouth.
Deluxe tempura delivers a generous selection of salmon, scallops, shrimp, octopus, along with yams and peppers battered in a light, crispy crust.
For a tangy turn, order grilled sablefish. Marinated in shiro miso, a low-sodium soybean paste, this mild whitefish makes a great middle course between rolls.
star sightings, we didn't spot any the night we visited, even though Matt Damon is rumoured to be in town filming.
An insider (ie. our very friendly waitress) told us the Broadway location has been usurped by the Wasabi Sabi on Taylor as the go-to spot for celebrities in town.
Celebs or no celebs, the real star at Wasabi is the food.
Other Wasabi locations:
If you have any suggestions about where I should eat next, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.