About two and half weeks ago there was a post in the Manitoba Food Bloggers Group on Facebook asking if anyone was interested in a blogger/dinner event with Wasabi restaurants. I put my name down and last night found myself at the Wasabi location on Broadway.
Like all of these events, the best part of last night is the people you get to dine with. There were several new people, such as Katie, Nisha (who organized the event, thanks), Cody(I think, he was at the opposite end of the table from me), and Robin. It was a chance to renew an occasional acquaintance with Ian McCausland, one of Winnipeg’s best photographers. Then there was Shel, Natalie, and Rebecca. I seem to run into these three at most food events, and their presence guarantees a fun, laughter-filled meal.
When you walk in the door of Wasabi, you immediately find yourself by the a little counter with several seats. Behind this counter you will find the chefs preparing the food. If you choose you can order at the counter and watch as your food is being prepared. There was no one seated there when I walked in. The chefs were at work but took the time to greet me and to call someone to take care of me.
I was greeted by Mike, who would end up being our server for the evening, and when I explained why I was there, was taken upstairs and shown into our dining area. The decor is red and black, and when several of our party arrived they commented on how my red and dark grey outfit caused me to blend into the decor.
While we were waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, Mike brought us individual pots of Genmaicha. This mixture of green tea and toasted rice makes for a warm, homey kind of beverage. It’s almost like a cup of tea that gives you the comfort of a bowl of soup.
When the food arrived, we were started off with individual Sunomo Salads. The salad consists of japanese noodles, pickled cucumber, with rice vinegar dressing. Ours came with crab, octopus and shrimp. This makes a great starter, but would also make a great course in the middle of the meal. A sort of palate cleanser. I really liked the meatiness of the crab in this dish.
Next came assorted Sashimi and Oysters. The oysters came with a sauce, which was quite nice, but were so fresh and good on their own that the sauce wasn’t particularly needed. This was something I noticed about the entire evening. Although the usual accompaniments, wasabi, soy sauce, and ginger were there, the quality of the food was so high, you didn’t really need them. The Sashimi consisted of Yellowfin Tuna, Red Tuna, and Russian Sockeye Salmon. Each of these was delicious and it was a toss-up as to which was the best.
Then we moved onto the Broadway Sashimi. My picture below doesn’t do justice to this item. I suggest that you look up some of the pictures taken by my friends listed above to get the full impact. They also brought us a large oyster which had been prepared in a spicy curry sauce. My picture of that one didn’t turn out well at all. The oysters, both the large and small, are supplied to Wasabi from a dedicated supplier out in Victoria. I don’t know the travel arrangements, but these were very fresh tasting oysters.
I almost forgot the Scallops and Spinach. A large meaty scallop sitting on a bed of Spinach with Yuzu butter. Phenomenal.
What’s a sushi restaurant without rolls. At one point there were so many dishes coming out I was wondering if they even featured rolls. Fortunately they do, and they are quite remarkable. Sadly, most of my roll photos didn’t turn out. I’m going to try and remember them all. These won’t all be in order. There was the Lobster New Style Roll. This came with crunchy bits of fish roe on top and was one I really liked. The Red Velvet roll, was another one that paid tributes to Manitoba ingredients, including locally produced honey. The Zen roll which contained Japanese vegetables and a balsamic reduction. The OMG roll which contained Butterfish and an apple reduction. I way have been the only one at the table who didn’t go absolutely gaga over this one. Still liked it a lot, but not as enthused as the others. Finally there was the Green Hornet Roll, which was my favourite. It had some extra wasabi added to it which gave it a little kick.
Believe it or not, after all this they asked us if there was anything else we’d like to try. We were all pretty stuffed, but at the prospect of ice cream, somehow or other several of us perked up. I think it was the prospect of the Black Sesame Ice Cream that did it. This ice cream has all the rich dairy goodness you would expect, but the Black Sesame adds a nice, savoury twist. I enjoyed every mouthful of it.
I’ve visited several sushi places over the last little while. My focus has often been on quantity as opposed to quality. Wasabi takes sushi to a whole new level when compared to any of the places I’ve visited. This is reflected in the prices on the menu. It’s also reflected in other ways as well. The service was fantastic. Mike our server did a great job of explaining each dish, shared his own experience, and did all the little things in terms of keeping our glasses full, etc. Well done Mike.
We also weren’t rushed in any way. The meal started at seven, and it was almost ten by the time we left. Fortunately, with such great company that time simply flew by. If you are a fan of sushi, a fan of slow food, or just enjoy really great dining experiences, you definitely need to visit Wasabi on Broadway.