June 21, 2007

Sushi Wasabi [Tustin]

THE legendary blue crab handroll

My first visit to Sushi Wasabi was about two years ago and to this day, I still have dreams about the blue crab handrolls. It's a rarity to come by at sushi restaurants and though I've tried them at Katsu-ya and Angotei, nothing compares. These beloved handrolls have a loyal following as zealous as any uni or ankimo enthusist. In fact, there was a recent forum on Chowhound on the best to be found the best in the LA area (Sushi Wasabi got a few votes in addition to mine).

Canadian albacore in ponzu and big eye tuna from Hawaii

Don't let Sushi Wasabi's obscure location in a strip mall fool you--it serves some of the best sushi you'll find in the OC. The tiny husband and wife operation serve sushi omakase at the bar (meaning you eat what you're served), but you can order at the tables. But remember, "We do not serve specialty rolls. We only serve nigiri and sushi hand rolls."

Baked scallop and barracuda from Santa Barbara

The sushi chef will serve each of your dishes with a brief explanation as to the origins of the fish. Most courses begin with a delicately marinated sashimi and progress into stronger flavors as you proceed. Your meal is ensured to be well balanced, well paced, and the best part is that you wont have to give it any thought at all.

White sea bass, salmon, uni, and unagi

While the quality of the fish is top notch, Katsu-san can be a little heavy handed with the ponzu sauce, which came on three of our seven dishes. And because he is the only chef there, that leaves little time for interaction with customers at the sushi bar. Katsu-san must be used to having non-Japanese customers as I did not once hear him utter uni, tako, toro, or use the Japanese name of any of the dishes he served us, which I have to admit took away from the authenticity of our experience.

The bill for our party of four came out to $140 without alcohol. One person had ten courses and the rest of us had seven.

Sushi Wasabi
14460 Newport Ave
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 505-3496

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