Castleberry Hill- The CNN Center Food Court Alternative
For those not familiar with Castleberry Hill, it is burgeoning area of lofts just south of the Dome and Philips Arena (map). Wasabi is located in the heart of the loft community at 180 Walker St., right next to another newcomer to the neighborhood- NoMas Cantina. It is very easy to get to and there is plenty of parking in back, so this place is a winner from a convenience standpoint. And as an added bonus, when headed back to the Arena, the approach from the South (Spring St.) is completely devoid of the traffic hassles that you would encounter trying to navigate through and around the Park.
A recent review described Wasabi as having an “LA” feel, and I can see where this comes from. Hip music, and simplistic bright decor all add to this persona. This place seems more club than restaurant. It was practically deserted at 6:30 on a Saturday night, and according to our waitress, it doesn’t really get going until 9:30. There is not a ton of table seating at Wasabi, but the long sushi bar seems perfect for sipping on sake or enjoying one of the many creative cocktails on the Wasabi menu.
We started off with our usual sushi appetizers- seaweed salad and miso soup- and things got off to a rough start. The miso soup was devoid of flavor, and the seaweed was like eating a heap of rubber bands. I was immediately depressed, (and to be honest, a little nervous since raw fish was on the way). But I must say, the sushi was a very pleasant surprise. The presentation was fabulous. The Bulls Eye Roll, with eel and avocado and topped with yellowtail and a jalapeno slice, was one of the better tasting creative rolls I have had. And the nigiri was fresh and cut perfectly.
I will be returning to Wasabi, although maybe not for a 3 course meal. Maybe to get a quick sushi dinner before a game. Maybe for some sake after a game.While not 5-star cuisine, it is good if you stick to the sushi and drinks, and it is different. And that may be its biggest plus when compared to the options around the Arena.
Steakhead Recommends: Yes