Wasabi's new management is a great improvement | Eat Arkansas

Wasabi's new management is a great improvement

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Hibachi chicken
  • Hibachi chicken

A few weeks ago, I decided to give Wasabi Bar & Grill downtown a shot for lunch. And I'll be honest, I had heard less-than-great things about the place—not that I let that keep me from trying a joint out. When I arrived at the door of the restaurant, though, there was a big sign up saying that the place was closed and soon to reopen "under new management." 

Then I got busy and didn't think about the place again until today, when sushi sounded like a great idea for lunch.

Sure enough, the place was back open, and there were banners in the windows all about how the place was being run by new folks. Excited to see if things had gotten better, I hit the door and got a table. It's a clean, spacious restaurant and the hostess and servers were all very friendly and efficient. 

I decided to hit both sides of the menu, ordering a sushi sampler that consisted of 2 pieces each of tuna, red snapper and salmon nigiri along with a chicken hibachi lunch special. The food hit my table quickly, and everything looked fantastic. 

FRESH NIGIRI
  • Fresh nigiri
I tucked into my sushi first, and I was very happy with how fresh the fish was. In addition, the rice was well-flavored and packed just like I like it—firm, without being too dense. The result was buttery tuna, mild salmon and delightfully tender red snapper atop perfect little pillows of rice. It was as good as any sushi I've had in town.

The hibachi chicken was also quite good, and was quite a lot of food for the low lunch price of $7. Thin slices of chicken carried the flavor of the grill well, and the mixed vegetables were also quite tasty—and abundant. Zucchini, red bell pepper, carrots, broccoli and onions all grilled to perfection and served with a mound of gloriously sticky steamed rice.

So here's hoping that this new, fresher look for the Wasabi menu sticks around. It's always brave for a restaurant to shut down, remodel and revamp, and then open up to try and change the hearts, minds and stomachs of the hungry public. I was certainly impressed with my lunch at the place, and it will definitely become one of my regular walking-distance spots near the office. If you haven't given Wasabi a try in awhile, check it out and let me know what you think.


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