Roll models

Keep those fishies rollin’: some of Wasabi’s unusual sushi long rolls.

Keep those fishies rollin’: some of Wasabi’s unusual sushi long rolls.


Wasabi is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.


13963 S. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89511
No. 900

Seafood is generally not my first choice when choosing a restaurant or from a menu. I attribute most of my indifference to not having had much that’s been pulled recently from the water. Further, fish and I live in separate worlds, and I don’t see a huge need to comingle. However, I love sushi—go figure.

Truth be told, to any sushi aficionado, I’m a bit of a poseur. I don’t go all in for nigiri style, I don’t eat eel, and really the more stand-alone the seafood is, the less I’m interested. I like the long rolls which fuse seafood, avocado, cream cheese and sauces—even more so when they’re deep fried.

On a Sunday afternoon, my brother Eric, my wife, Kat, and I headed south to Summit Sierra mall for the all-you-can-eat sushi experience offered at Wasabi ($14.95 lunch, $19.95 dinner). Wasabi is relatively new, having opened at the end of 2008. The interior is a mix of nicely appointed tables and a sushi bar toward the back of the restaurant. In addition to sushi, Wasabi’s menu features many Japanese dishes including udon noodles, barbecued meats, salads—like the ocean salad ($3.95) consisting of three types of seaweed marinated in sesame oil and soy vinegar—and desserts like the wasabi ice cream ($3.95). Unfortunately, there wasn’t going to be any room for anything but sushi.

Kat, Eric and I had one sushi chef to ourselves. Granted we were there at 3 p.m., but a three-to-one customer-to-chef ratio is great for the customer. Our chef, like our drink server, was exceedingly personable and expeditious. His only quirk was he wouldn’t always acknowledge our request for additional rolls. Near the moment we would speak up to re-request the item, he would hand it over the counter with a smile. He seemed very interested in the artistic side of sushi, which makes sense because he can’t control the fish, most of which arrives frozen. His rolls were quite pretty—particularly the wispy shredded crab meat atop the snow flower roll.

The owners of Wasabi clearly have a sense of humor which comes across in the names of some rolls, like the Viagra, with tempura prawn and cucumber wrapped in unagi and topped with teriyaki, green onion and sesame seeds. This was Eric’s final roll, and he assured me it had the opposite effect of what the name promised—not surprising, considering the towering stack of empty plates in front of him. I particularly enjoyed how Wasabi incorporates nuts and fruits into some rolls. The Hawaiian Punch roll makes use of macadamia nuts and mango, and the Hot August Night roll uses cashew, which offers a nice crunch and contrasting sweetness to the salty soy dipping sauce.

The Krispy Kreme wins as most unusual roll. It’s deep fried with salmon, cream cheese, green onion and then topped with a mayonnaise-based sauce and a chocolate sauce. Somehow it works and was an incredibly rich dessert roll. It was great, but I’m a glutton and a sushi fraud.

Say you’ve been saving for months to buy that precious iPhone, a shiny new cutlery set or a pretty sundress. And while walking around Summit Sierra mall lovingly clutching your new possession, you start to feel the first inkling of a comedown off that spending high, or worse, buyer’s remorse. If that’s the case, stop into Wasabi and let one of the sushi chefs or the Viagra roll pick you back up, if only for a while.