Wasabi is a burst of flavor on Washington Avenue


Wasabi, sometimes referred to as the Japanese horseradish, is the name of one of the area’s newer restaurants featuring sushi, sashimi and other Japanese favorites. Located one block from the new Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Wasabi is a bright, open, modern space carved out of one of the old buildings lining Washington Avenue South. Once a street filled with warehouses and light industry, the avenue is benefiting from the nearby Mississippi River front developments and is becoming a destination for wining, dining and entertainment.

Wasabi at 903 Washington Avenue South in Minneapolis is open every day for lunch from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm and dinner from 4:30 pm – 10 pm. Wasabi also has a full cocktail bar as well as a sushi bar. For information call 612-339-6688.

Opened last year, Wasabi has already garnered a following of fans for its sushi, sashimi, and hibachi foods. It also offers a few of the better-known Japanese dishes such as don. soba, teriyaki, and tempura. Hibachi lunch specials included clear broth onion soup, hibachi vegetables, Wasabi ginger and Wasabi mustard sauces, along with grilled entrees ranging from vegetables to filet mignon at prices of $7 to $11.

Sushi and sashimi selections start at $1.50 for tawago (egg custard) to $4.50 for sea urchin. There are chef’s selections of assorted sushi for two starting at $31 or the Wasabi treasure boat for $60.

On a recent visit the chef’s daily special sushi was a St. Paul Roll with lobster, white fish, shrimp, cucumber, and seaweed salad rolled in rice and covered with smelt roe for $18.95. It was colorful, a pleasant combination of flavors and textures, and large enough for two to share or lunch for one. The tempura appetizer included three shrimp and four vegetables deep-fried in a very light crispy batter. Again, enough for two to share or even a light lunch for one. The don, with egg and chicken, had a rice filled with onions, celery, and peas, and was topped with pickled ginger and daikon. A more fusion version of this traditional dish.
The menu also offers a variety of boxes including a beef teriyaki box for $9 and a complete dinner box for $19 that includes the entrée plus tempura, shrimp shu mai, California roll, miso and salad.

While Wasabi has free parking in its own lot, on busy days the lot may be full so one alternative is to park across the street in the Guthrie parking ramp.

Phyllis Louise Harris is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher specializing in Asian foods. She is founder of the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes Ltd. dedicated to the preservation, understanding and enjoyment of the culinary arts of the Asia Pacific Rim. For information about ACAI’s programs call 612-813-1757 or visit the website at www.asianculinaryarts.com.