Sushi stRoll: Wasabi on Elmwood
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 09, 2011 @ 11:49am
Talk about close competition: Wasabi on Elmwood sits almost directly across the street from Blue Fin Asian Bistro, a sushi restaurant we’ve already covered on our pleasant “Sushi stRoll.”
Both places offer an identical menu of hand/classic rolls, so Deandra, former Buffalo.com staffer, and Ben T. decided to branch out with a few special rolls at Wasabi. The best way to ensure high quality food—provided you’re not a picky eater—is to allow the chef to choose the best picks of the day, so we let our itamae (sushi chef) choose two special rolls and two classic rolls.
Super Dynamite Roll (tempura fried roll with eel, white tuna, crabstick, asparagus and cream cheese—$9.50): While it doesn’t quite measure up to the Tiger Eye Roll at Seabar, the Super Dynamite Roll was a delightful mix of texture and flavor, and the presentation was exceptional.
The subtle tastes of the eel, tuna and crabstick gave space for the asparagus and cream cheese to thrive, and the crunchy tempura wrap was comparable to Seabar’s. The spicy eel sauce on top (which I’m apparently a sucker for) clashed nicely with the sweet cream cheese. If you like rolls where sauce overpowers the fish, this one’s for you. Best choice we made—well done, Wasabi. Boom goes the dynamite.
King Midas Roll (salmon, shrimp, mango and cucumber wrapped in mango soy paper with Wasabi’s special sweet chili tomato sauce—$12.95): A character in Greek mythology, King Midas was known for having everything he touched turn to gold. Frankly, that could get pretty annoying. What if he wanted a delicious roast beef sandwich? No hands, King Midas, you have to use a golden fork. Anyhow, the King Midas Roll was similar to Seabar’s Crab Mango Roll, except the crab was replaced by the salmon-shrimp duo.
Not to overly toot Seabar’s horn, but the crab was a better choice because of its sweetness. The true challenge of the roll is to avoid an overly “gooey” texture; Deandra noted that the roll was a “good gooey.” The mango was sweet and fresh—which was great—but I couldn’t get past the slightly slimy texture. Meh.
Crunchy spicy shrimp and crunchy spicy tuna ($4.95 each): I hate to lump these together (awkward crab joke!), but customers should generally avoid them if possible—choose a special roll instead of two classic rolls—because there’s a huge drop-off in quality.
The two rolls were identical to Blue Fin’s offerings, with the same tempura flakes and major lack of spiciness. Bland, boring and cheap—with sushi, inexpensive options are rarely good. The only positive? The tuna was slightly marbled, so at least we got a fatty piece. The fish had little luster though, and soy sauce was a must with these.
We’re planning on hitting Kuni’s as the next destination. It’s too bad they’re only open after 5 p.m. though. Boooh.