3 Fleur
EntreePrice-17
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayNo Lunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Wasabi

West End & Bucktown: 8550 Pontchartrain Blvd. 504-267-3263. Map.
Casual
AE DS MC V
Website

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The seller’s market for sushi seems to have peaked. With seventy-three sushi bars around town, I think I detect a few net sushi bar closings, and a much smaller, less ambitious menu in most of the new places. While I’ve never seen a big crowd at either Wasabi, the food has always been excellent, and the place seems solid.

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Both in the Marigny Triangle and Lakeview, Wasabi brought sushi to neighborhoods bereft of the delicacy. In both places, there are a lot of people who go for Japanese dining, which makes one wonder why it took so long. That clientele also knows from quality, and Wasabi put forth excellent fish and a big menu of other beautiful food from the outset.

WHAT’S GOOD
The sushi bar takes its work seriously, a fact attested to by the goodness of the specials on the markerboard. Fresh versions of seafood usually found frozen in other Japanese places are present enough that you could make an entire meal out of those items. The fine points–temperature, moisture content of the rice, judicious use of sauces–are all observed. The non-sushi entrees are limited to the basics of the cuisine–tempura, teriyaki, noodles, and the like. Nothing like sukiyaki. On the other hand, the appetizer selection is unusually varied.

BACKSTORY
Wasabi’s original location in Marigny opened in 2002. It was well enough received that it opened a second location on Canal Boulevard, near the cemeteries. That was wiped out by Katrina, but in 2009 Wasabi had returned to Lakeview, taking over the former Windjammer on Pontchartrain Boulevard, across from the marina. The name is, of course, that of the pale-green horseradish/mustard that comes with sushi and sashimi and blasts your nasal passages wide open when you eat too much of it at one time.

DINING ROOM
The Marigny location doesn’t seem right for a sushi bar, but it works. It’s an old store built in an antique Creole style from the early 1800s, with few windows and a blindingly saturated exterior color scheme. Inside, the two rooms have been adapted well. The sushi bar is in the rear, brighter room, but tables are in both. The front room sports a bigger, older bar than we’re used to seeing in a Japanese place; it’s a popular hangout. Jazz plays on the sound system. The Lakeview restaurant is bigger and sports a spacious, modern main dining room and another large bar. It has a light touch of suburban decor.

REVIEWER’S NOTEPAD

FULL ONLINE MENU

BEST DISHES
Starters
Tempura shrimp and vegetables
Baked green mussels
Beef tataki
Baked seafood, mushrooms, onions, smelt roe sauce
Curry mussels
Sauteed soft shell crab
Shrimp-stuffed shiitake mushrooms
Mussels with black bean sauce
Frenchmen scallops (garlic butter)
Beef negimaki (green onions or asparagus)
Seafood salad
Salmon skin salad

Entrees
Chicken teriyaki
Una don (broiled eel)
Sushi and sashimi to order
Rice paper roll
Salmon skin roll
Tuna avocado roll
Frenchmen roll

Noodles
Nabeyaki udon
Gyoza noodle soup

Desserts
Tempura cheesecake
Red bean ice cream
Ginger ice cream
Capppucino ice cream

FOR BEST RESULTS
Even if you have a standard sushi order, ask about everything on the specials board. These really are special. For example, they seem to have fresh sea scallops more often than in other sushi bars. The selection of sake is very good.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The service, particularly in the Marigny location, always seems a little short-handed. I have never seen a big crowd in the West End, and maybe that’s why.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency +2
  • Service
  • Value +1
  • Attitude
  • Wine & Bar +1
  • Hipness +2
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Romantic
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open most holidays
  • Open all afternoon
  • Historic
  • Quick, good meal
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations accepted

 

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