Much ado about…..


Wasabi! What a Feast!

Posted by gottabkd on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A new restaurant opened lately in the North End of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) or more correctly, in Richmond Hill. Just the name itself evokes thoughts of Japanese food, sushi, tempora and Sashimi all came to mind as I salivated at the very thought. Wasabi… which is usually known a Japanese horseradish, being much hotter than it’s North American cousin, seemed like a wonderful fit for this newest restaurant in an area of many restaurants. Hot is what comes to mind and I suspect this restaurant would soon be just that… the hottest eatery north of Toronto.

Open for two months now, I knew I wanted to visit to expand my culinary delights even further. Much to my surprise, it turns out to be a buffet style restaurant touting “Best quality, fresh taste, much more choice with buffet style” to boot. Well who knew?

On the night of our visit, the cost per person was $19.99. It was a week night, which is the standard price Monday to Friday. On the weekends, the price changes to $22.99 as “there is more seafood being offered”. The lunch prices vary as well with Monday to Friday fare costing you $11.99 and the weekend price becomes $14.99 “because we offer Sashimi on the weekends”.

So the question you may be asking yourself is what is the difference between Sushi and Sashimi ? Well, both are raw fish, with Sushi being a smaller piece offered on top of rice, also referred to as “a complete dish“, fish and rice together. Sashimi, is a slightly larger piece of fish served with several slices and no rice. Not much difference as both are raw, although some people may prefer it without the rice. Tasty either way.

Sushioffering Sashimixx

Sushi offering on rice……….Sashimi offering, no rice, each with a mound of wasabi!

The establishment is a redesigned night club that during it’s day used to be an old haunt of mine called Paparrazzi. An upscale night club supposedly with ties to the Mafia, but I cannot confirm that. Wasabi now takes up all 12 units on the corner of the plaza, located at 270 West Beaver Creek, a busy restaurant area offering all styles of Asian food.

Upon entering, the calming decor of waterfalls with pools of fish, what appeared to be fresh cut flowers, all felt very feng shui . The front of the restaurant utilizes a large window wall spanning the whole front of the restaurant. There are many seating area within the different sections of the restaurant that can offer an intimate dinner for two or a larger party of twenty. I must admit the restaurant is much bigger than it first appears.

After being greeted the hostess sat us next to the front window while another server brought us tea. The buffet process was then explained to us, indicating that we could order the Sushi/Sushi Roll or Sashimi from the menu as it was not available on the buffet. This service is included with the cost, but “all we ask is that you only order what you will eat” to save from any waste. This was also noted on the menu, along with the fact that for a small fee you could take what you don’t eat with you. Again preventing waste, or gluttony, however you look at it. Once we placed that order, we went to the buffet, passing the Sashimi chefs doing their work. Since it was opening week, Sashimi was being offered everyday of the week.

The buffet was huge, offering no less than 30 selections, from shrimp tempura to spicy beef, to specials cooked right before your eyes. It was overwhelming to say the least, but as we made our way through, we noted that there was something for every ones palate, and even more clear that Japanese cuisine is more than raw fish and rice. Even children could dine here, feasting on pizza and French fries or chicken nuggets should you have picky little eaters. At this point, my companion breathed a heavy sigh, for fear of not being able to eat anything, while making their way to the hot portion of the buffet. We made every effort to try “a little bit of everything”, choosing sample sizes in order to do that, while noting there were many tastes, smells and textures to delight the senses. More shocking was the amount of food on the plate of my friend when she returned to the table (yes, I did loose her in the maylay of offerings as each of us darted off in different directions), giving me a good indication “that almost anything goes during this first foray” into Japanese cuisine.

There is a two hour time limit, one which we surpassed by 1/2 hour, but if you go before the rush, then chances are you can stay a little longer. Towards the end of our meal, the manager came by to help clear the table and inquired on our visit. We explained to her that it was very nice, non-threatening to my friend, who had never eaten Japanese before and yes, we would be back again soon.

On a scale of 1 to 10 this restaurant gets 7 for decor, 9 for selection and 10 for overall experience. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a little dining adventure.

Wasabi has two locations: 270 West Beaver Creek Road, units 1-12 Richmond Hill Ontario. 905-881-6288 and 668 Silver Star Blvd, unit 23 Scarborough Ontario. 416-226-9988

Reservation are not needed (in Richmond Hill) but call ahead to confirm availability during peak times, for larger parties, or for the weekend buffet.

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