Time for lunch and we wanted to try something different. The second goal was to stay near the Turkey Creek Shopping area in Knoxville.
We’d passed Wasabi probably a couple hundred times before…and Laurie really likes Japanese food, to include sushi…and especially sashimi, but we’d never eaten here. I envisioned the typical Japanese Steakhouse…big tables with a grill service, expensive and not much food for the money. I hadn’t considered that there might be options.
This is the ‘bar’ where the sushi and sashimi offerings are put together. It was lunch time and these ‘chefs’ were very busy… The fresh seafood is on display in the cases along the bar. There is also room for patrons to sit at the bar to watch the ongoing preparation of these seafood delights…
Wasabi has at least 4 dining areas… In addition to the sushi/sashimi bar, another option is this apparently well-stocked bar area. Both of these areas feature booths and tables…in addition to bar seating.
There is also a large and attractive outdoor deck that’s set up for dining… There are trees on 2 sides and it has a view of a Koi pond that’s well stocked with those colorful fish.
I started out with 6 Gyoza…basically dumplings stuffed with pork and veggies accompanied by a special dipping sauce. ($4.50) They were good, if not great. I added some wasabi and it kicked up the flavor…and the heat. Wasabi is sometimes called Japanese horseradish.
For more information on the real deal, wasabi/Japanese horseradish, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasabi. It turns out that ‘real’ wasabi is rare and hard to come by in the USA. We are usually served what the Japanese call ‘seiyo wasabi’ or ‘western wasabi’.
Laurie originally ordered the Sashimi Special…10 pieces of sashimi (raw seafood) for $12.95. The waiter came over to the table and told us that he’d mistakenly written our order up for the Sashimi Deluxe…14 pieces of sashimi for $18.25. I suspect that he would have had to absorb the loss if Laurie had declined that expanded sashimi plate, but since I knew that she’d really wanted the larger offering anyway, I told him that it was OK. (Hopefully, he didn’t do this on purpose and/or it’s a mistake he doesn’t make often)
In any case, Laurie liked her sashimi ‘entrée’, reporting that it was fresh and except for the octopus, it was tender. (One does expect octopus to be a little ‘chewy’). She dipped her morsels of seafood into a sauce consisting of wasabi mixed into soy sauce. She felt that the presentation could have been stepped up a little…comparing it to a similar offering that she used to order in Chicago.
This is the sushi/sashimi menu at Wasabi.
Unfortunately, I suffered from a ‘brain cramp’ and I forgot to take a photo of my lunch…which I thought was even prettier than Laurie’s! I ordered another appetizer to accompany my Gyoza. It was the Tuna Tataki. ($8.50) It consisted of attractive slices of raw tuna arranged around a ‘tower’ of green seaweed ‘salad’. It was in a bit of house special sauce and I had a nice dose of wasabi on my plate as well. I used the same soy sauce and wasabi formula that Laurie did with my tuna. The seaweed salad was a bit to ‘fishy’ for me and I skipped it. The tuna was good but it didn’t cut with a fork and I never have gotten the hang of using chopsticks.
Oh yes… The fourth dining option at Wasabi, (the restaurant, not the condiment), is indeed those big grill top tables that are located in the largest dining room.
Wasabi has 4 locations…2 in Knoxville, 1 in Jacksonville Florida and 1 in Greenville South Carolina. It can be a little confusing if you go on-line and look up Wasabi Steakhouse and/or restaurants. Lots of restaurants us Wasabi in their name…
This is the dinner/grill menu for Wasabi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Knoxville. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me…but then again we haven’t partaken from the grill at this point. Let’s face it…part of this specific dining experience is the show that the grill masters put on for the diners.
We thought that Wasabi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar was good…not great…but in the 3 to 3.5 rating range on a scale of 5.0. I checked it out on Trip Advisor and I was startled to see that it ranked 4th among Japanese restaurants in Knoxville. Kabuki Fusion Sushi and Grill was #1, and it was ranked the 19th restaurant overall out of Knoxville’s 709 that are included in the listing. The 2nd highest ranking Japanese restaurant is Nama Sushi Bar and the 3rd is Shonos Japanese Grill. For more details on Japanese restaurants in Knoxville, just go to http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g55138-Knoxville_Tennessee.html. The most impressive point I noted was that there are 15+ Japanese restaurants in the Knoxville area…and this is an area that is generally ‘starved’ for ethnic restaurants!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for some raw seafood…and dumplings!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave