Restaurant Reviews --> Wasabi on 82nd
Wasabi on 82nd
A little bit of L.A. in Indianapolis
One of the very few drawbacks to owning the store is having to work Saturday's again after running things from an office for 25 years. So, knowing that they don't really need me, Linda and I took last Saturday off, and spent a leisurely day running errands,while taking a long break for lunch at Wasabi on 82nd. Over the last few months, a number of our customers had given Wasabi a glowing endorsement and we thought it was time to see why they were excited about it. Now we know....
Most suburban Japanese restaurants in these parts look like they were furnished with a combination of Japanese beer advertising specialties and items from a "Hello Kitty" rummage sale. Wasabi's decor bucks that trend with a clean, modern interior that looks a lot more like LA than Indianapolis. My suspicion that this wasn't a typical Japanese restaurant was further confirmed when we saw the large, temperature controlled wine room just inside the front door. Even the traditional twanging Japanese music had been replaced by a selection of good jazz that sounded a lot like what I play in the store. A long contemporary sushi bar dominates the front of the restaurant with seating in front and in a dining room behind. At lunch the tables are bare but dinner brings out the white tablecloths that further the notion that this is way beyond typical "strip center" Japanese. The proof is in the food... we tried plenty of it and it was all good, as was the attentive service and the surprising wine list.
The wine list is short, but well-chosen and fairly priced, with over 20 wines by the glass. It even includes a nice selection of heavy reds for those of us who become a little "White Wine Impaired" at dinner time... even when the entree had fins. Good white choices were the Geisen Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc at $26 a bottle and $6.50 a glass ($13 retail at our store) or the Zemmer Pinot Grigio also at $26 and $6.50. The red side featured a number of mediocre French Burgundies, but shined with heavier choices like the Yalumba Shiraz, Markham Merlot or the Penfolds Bin 389, all served at proper temperature owing to the excellent wine storage facility. There was also a very extensive selection of sake, both hot and cold, and more Japanese beers than I thought you could find in Indiana.
We opted to graze rather than go for the reasonably priced luncheon specials and wound up with a pretty good, albeit ample, sampling of Wasabi's fare. We began with the traditional Japanese Miso soup and a salad that they jazzed up by substituting a nice mescelun of fresh greens for the typical iceberg lettuce and covering it with a very good ginger dressing. The Miso soup was more traditional, nice and rich but lacking a little in the tofu and green onion garnish department. Our first appetizer was a personal favorite. The Beef Negimaki at $5.00, which is sliced beef rolled around scallions and grilled in teriyaki sauce, was beautifully presented and was as tender and flavorful a rendition of that dish as we had ever tasted. The Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura at $6.00 was light and fluffy without a hint of grease and included asparagus, sweet potato and other veggies along with four huge shrimp. Then came the Nigiri sushi in very large pieces that were incredibly fresh and delicious. Priced between $3.95 and $5.95 for two pieces, we enjoyed the tuna, yellow tail and salmon along with a very tasty Spicy Tuna roll. We also allowed our server to tempt us into sampling a special Tempura roll, the name of which I could not begin to pronounce, that was a crab and asparagus filled roll, dipped in tempura batter and fried and served with a flavorful spicy mayonnaise. A little unusual, but very very good. We accompanied the sushi with a glass of the Giesen Riesling from New Zealand, that was such a perfect match that I can no longer imagine sushi with out a dry Riesling. This all made for a very long and very enjoyable lunch that made us look forward to another visit for dinner. Two thumbs up for Wasabi from Linda and the Wine Guy.
Southwest corner of East 82nd Street and Allisonville/Castleton
5025 E. 82nd Street #800
Indianapolis, IN 46250
January 15, 2003