Wasabi Fusion: More than a Japanese steakhouse


Contemporary, chic and exciting, yet traditional all at the same time, Wasabi Fusion mixes new style Japanese bamboo décor with cultural Japanese art and presentation to mirror the old and new qualities customers find in their “fusion”-styled cuisine.

Wasabi Fusion, located off Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, is the new hot spot of the downtown restaurant scene and not just because of its location; the new fusion style of the food brings curious customers to the table and keeps them coming back for more.

Head Chef and part owner Yukio Kamada, received his culinary training in Fukuoka City, Japan yet he didn’t study the art of the Japanese cuisine. Kamada studied the techniques used in both French and Italian cuisine and now uses his background to create a new style of Japanese food.

“I can make anything from French to Thai to Italian style Japanese food,” Kamada says. “For a French-style Japanese dish I create Japanese tuna in a red wine sauce.”

“I am very surprised how I make foods sometimes,” he says. “I mix sushi with fruits and most of the time people wouldn’t think of doing that.” Kamada also mentioned that he doesn’t like to taste his new creations all the time but allows his staff to give him feedback instead.

Junji Umezu, the kitchen manager, started out working in French restaurants learning the techniques and styles of that particular cuisine. Adding to his studies the Japanese portion of his Japanese-American heritage, Umezu became very interested in fusion cooking and finds it very popular with customers.

Umezu says he can take a Chinese or Japanese dish and enhance it with the European flair he has perfected during his twelve years in the industry.

Wasabi Fusion has all the qualities of a Japanese steakhouse—a regular style menu featuring many Japanese cuisine classics, entertaining hibachi grills, a sushi bar, full saki bar and also special menus that change almost daily.

The saki bar carries premium brands such as Yuki No Bosha, Junmai Ginjo, along with some very special lines such as Kasumi Tsuru, Kimoto extra dry, and Oni Koroshi, Junmai Daiginjo and items found on the special menu might include the Mama or Super Tempura rolls.

Owners Kamada and Ichiro Hoshiyama both used to live in Wisconsin where they operated separate Japanese style restaurants. Upon coming to the Minneapolis area, they both knew that the idea of a Japanese steakhouse wasn’t unique, so they decided it was time to try something different.

“We knew that Minneapolis was big enough to try new stuff,” Kamada says. “This fusion style is new age.”

The customers that frequent Wasabi Fusion might be said to mirror the fusion in the food as well. Along with the typical downtowner that would be associated with the hip, new area of downtown Minneapolis, “we have a lot of asian customers as well,” says Kamada. “We have some people come in and ask us if we make hamburgers. We don’t do that but if you want traditional Japanese, we will make you traditional; if you want new, we will make you new.”

Kamada says he enjoys to frequent some other restaurants in the downtown area in order to enhance his fusion cooking skills. “I go out a lot,” he says. “I like to try different restaurants because you can see how they create different foods. I like Italian, Organic, French, and Thai because I can think how to mix my food with it to create fusion stuff.”

The kitchen staff, which includes five sushi chefs, two hibachi chefs and four kitchen chefs, have all been trained in the fusion style of Japanese cuisine. Kamada can usually be found behind the sushi bar whipping up something to tantalize the customer’s tastebuds and there are usually many customers there waiting in line.

A happy hour on Sunday through Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 includes both food and drink specials. Lunch specials are also available on a limited menu. Reservations are recommended on weekends and nights and call ahead’s are also accepted. Large parties can request sections of the restaurant to be enclosed to create an intimate setting for a special gathering. Parking is located on both sides of the restaurant and Wasabi Fusion is located on the top floor.

For reservations or information on hours and directions call 612-339-6688.

16 thoughts on “Wasabi Fusion: More than a Japanese steakhouse

  1. My wife and I went to Wasabi on a Sunday afternoon after a play at the Guthrie. We were thoroughly impressed with this new eating establishment, and will certainly return, in fact just made plans with another couple for the very near future.

    Menu offers Japanese variety we have not seen in some other steak houses, and we are eager to try some. We spent 6 years in Okinawa, Japan, and so are familiar with many of the dishes offered.

    Service was excellent and we were not left wanting.

  2. I went to Wasabi for lunch on a weekday with my fiancee and enjoyed the food. She ordered sushi and I ordered the steak Hibachi, which came with onion soup, noodles and 2 dipping sauces. Everything was excellent and of high quality…the soup had a subtle onion flavor, the steak was tender, the sushi was fresh, and the service was attentive. The only thing I would change is the music they were piping…mostly 80’s fare. The free parking next to the restaurant was convenient. We will be going back to Wasabi even if we have to listen to Cindy Lauper and Cutting Crew.

  3. Oh brother. My experience at WASABI on washington was just horrendous. What a rude, clueless waitress. The place wasn’t busy, but it took forever to get my drink; the waitress recommended a cocktail and I inquired about the price because I didn’t want to order some special drink that costs $12. I got my miso soup and edamame first. When the waitress finally brought out the ‘cough-syrup’ martini, she took away my miso soup. I remember thinking “was I done with that yet?” Oh well. I couldn’t find what I wanted on the menu, so I wanted to know if they offer any special rolls. The waitress recommended one enthusiastically, and I asked for it minus all the spicy sauce. A good hour later, the food finally came, drenched with spicy sauce throughout. I was so hungry, I ate it anyway, begrudgingly. I didn’t want to wait another hour for them to correct it. The waitress didn’t come around again for a very long time, until it was time to shoo us out. She slapped down the bill and I noticed something for $19. That’s right, the special roll I ordered cost NINETEEN dollars. Now, it’s probably my fault I didn’t inquire about the price. I simply forgot. But with my drink/ price inquiry it seemed clear (to me at least) that price is an issue. Nothing else on the menu comes close to $19, so this was a real shock to me. The waitress disappeared for so long I had to get up myself and find someone to tell. Just then the waitress appeared, apron off (shift over, I guess). I told her I had been waitress for 10 years, and if I recommended something to a customer that costs well above everything else on the menu, I’d inform the customer. She was VERY unapologetic, “oh well, that’s what it costs”. I mentioned it had sauce all over it, “well, you ate it”. True. I asked her if she could make an adjustment on the price. She grabbed the bill and marched off, and didn’t return again , for (what seemed like) a long time. Seeing as she came back to the table with no apology or no price adjustment, I wonder what could have took her so long?! Anyway, with all the attitude and power a waitress can have, she slapped the bill back down. I asked to speak to a manager. “The manager is the one who won’t allow an adjustment”. It was clear nobody cared. Ok, ok, I ate the darn thing, sauce and all. But I couldn’t believe how rude she was, how unwilling she was to resolve this for me, how no manager was in sight. I lost my cool a little and asked, “do you even want a tip tonight?” She snidely replied, “no, I don’t”. Ok then, dually noted. My friend and I paid our bill and left with our tail between our legs. Other employees (perhaps aware of our situation?) just sort of stared as we left, no ‘thanks for your patronage”, no “b-bye now”, no “have a nice night”, no “come again”. Believe me, we won’t.


    I have always love sushi, name a place here in MN and I probably have dined there. I usually expect great sushi and along with it, the great customer service. 9 out of 10 times I am usually satisfied with the food and the service.

    I have never in my life had a bad experience, until…now.

    I made reservation here for a group of my friends and I, which total to 13. The night started off okay. Our waitress was not friendly and it took her about 20 minutes into sitting down to ask us if we wanted something to drink.

    Later when it was time to order, we ask if we could have separate checks (if a place like Applebee’s can have it, surely a place as nice as Wasabi must have that technology too correct? WRONG), she said she was not able to do it. Fine, whatever. So we ordered our food.

    When the orders came out she did not know who had what and got our food all mixed up. Maybe I was wrong in thinking that it was her job to remember. It was sushi for goodness sake, I’m sure there was more than 1 of us ordering the Shrimp Tempura rolls. But WE finally figured it out.

    As dinner ended, she was reaching across to clear a plate…and ended up spilling soy sauce all over my date new suit. No great apology, just a “sorry”. Eh what the heck, we were nice people so…we “understand…it is okay do not worry about it.”

    When the check came, the total was around $ 400-500 (tax already included). We each pay our share, each person/couple averaging around $50 each. Our waitress came back saying that we were still short $100 dollars. Are you kidding me???? Okie whatever. At that point, we just wanted to get out of there. So we each put in about $8 more dollars. Thought that would cover it. NOPE. She came back saying that we were STILL missing $70 dollars!!! I thought we just paid you $100!??!?!? At this point we were beyond infuriated. We wanted to speak with a manager.

    Mister Tim Wong came, and proceeds to make us even angrier. I have never dealt with such a manager as himself. I been a manager myself, and the way he was acting, would have gotten him fired at my job. Some of his comments to us were “I don’t know what happen here, but we need people to pay their tab”…are you out of your F-ing mind??? He made it sound like we haven’t paid!!!?!? At one point he said “What the f#c%, I’m trying to help you guys out here.” Wow Thank you Mr. Wong, you were very helpful.

    I finally had enough, and just wanted to get out of there ASAP. I paid another $45 dollars in addition to the $70 dollars that my date already paid.

    I have always read reviews, but never written one myself. But the experience that I had at Wasabi made me so angry that I just had to share.

    I am planning to make a phone call to Wasabi to speak with someone who is responsible for employees, such as Mr. Tim Wong. What I have also been doing after my experience at the restaurant is telling all my friends, family, and co-workers about my horrible experience there. Word of mouth travel quickly. The majority of people that I know love to eat sushi, and Wasabi you will NEVER get them as your customers. I, myself, will NEVER go back to a place that thinks so low of their customers.

  5. I am a Los Angeles native and love Japanese style cuisine. Normally I don’t even bother with writing a review of my own being I am now back in California, but this place deserves one. The service I recieved while visiting my family was the WORST I have ever experienced in my entire life, and I’m a traveling salesman! The server’s knowledge of the menu was pathedic, “It’s really good. I like it!” doesn’t tell me much about what is in it or how its prepared. So we had a clueless server and the dishes took about 45 minutes to get out, and I was only dining with another person. My date also ordered a couple drinks off the menu and the were utterly awful. My only thought was that the bartender must have been intoxicated to even serve this over the bar. With the less than satisfactory experience and the laughable service it was an absolute waste of my time here in Minnesota. This restaraunt would not make it 3 months in California, so people of Minneapolis; Stay away from this place so a better restaurant and or management can take it over!

  6. I visited Wasabi last night with a group of 9. I have no complaints regarding the food, I feel I got what I paid for (mediocre sushi at a mediocre price). My main complaints are in regards to the service and inaccurate pricing. Our server was very inattentive, although the restaurant was practically empty all night (and I say “all night” because we were there for about 3 hours). There were multiple servers basically sitting around the whole time. Our waiter was often gone for long periods of time, and when he was working with us, he was not especially friendly or warm.

    My additional complaint is regarding the cost of my wine. The 2 wine lists I looked at clearly stated $8/glass and I was charged $10. When I inquired, I was told that they had just recently changed their menu. No apology, no offer to honor the listed price.

    With plenty of other great sushi options in the Minneapolis area, I am not planning to return to Wasabi.

  7. Wow. My husband loves sushi and I was looking for a new place to take him in order to celebrate his upcoming birthday. I found Wasabi as a new “hot spot”, however, after reading these reviews on the horrible customer service and overall attitude passed down from management, I’ll opt not to dine here. I hope Wasabi is listening….

  8. I’m sorry to hear that so many people are upset with this restaraunt. My family and I have been numerous times and have had attentive service and we love the hibachi table food. The cooks at the tables are very good …not too much salt/sauces on the food and they don’t overcook it as we’ve had at other Japanese steak houses. My husband and son also order the sushi and have found it to be good.

    The only complaint we’ve had is the way that they want their patrons to pay for parking…even on nights when there is not an event at the dome. They told us that they do not validate the ticket as it is the owners of the building that started this practice. We weren’t very happy about this. I don’t know if they still do this or not. I hope not.

    I agree that the music should be changed!

  9. I just dined at Wasabi with a rather hesitant co-worker – She had been before over the lunch hour and had horrible service.

    I’m happy to report that our service was incredibly speedy (in and out in under an hour) and the food was delicious – I think they’ve heard the complaints and remedied the situation!

  10. I have heard from several co-workers and friends about the horribly rude and slow service at Wasabi. The rumors were further strengthened by these posts. I have a business dinner coming up in 2 weeks with about 10-12 hungry and thirsty businessmen who like to spend money on dinner. I thought about Wasabi b/c of it’s location near our offices, but will instead go to Ichiban’s b/c at least there I know that the service will always be stellar and the waitstaff won’t try to con me out of extra money. Wasabi, take note that in Minnesota people expect to be treated kindly and with respect. Had any of the stories above happened to me, you better believe that the Better Business Bureau would have received my complaint. Because of the reputation you have earned through word of mouth from my colleagues and on this forum, you have missed out on a very profitable night.

  11. I decided to give this place another try after my first/horrible experience. Guess what? They are worse, then a year ago. Hehe, I didn’t think that was possible. The sushi fell apart as usual( california rolls got fake crab), drinks are as bad as their names. I had the “me love you long time”, and it was more like “me taste like dishwater”. My girlfriend ordered the “Happy ending” and she almost threw up. What a name for martinis.

    I don’t even wanna talk about the service, because there was almost none. The waiters and waitresses looked like they dont want to be there. They were rude and slow. maybe its not their fault. Its the badly named drinks hehe.

    Anyway, I’m not going back to this place. I dont recommend this place, Unless you like all the above.

  12. Hi,
    My name is Tom and i am new at Wasabi Fusion i am truley sorry to hear about your experience at our Restaurant.You can reach me at 612-339-6688
    Hope your Fish is always fresh.

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