Sarah has wanted to go to Wasabi in Beachwood for a while based on Doug Trattner’s review, but I wasn’t looking forward to it. While I’ve found hibachi restaurants to be entertaining, the saltiness and greasiness has always overshadowed the flavors. This wasn’t the case at Wasabi.
The décor of Wasabi is more upscale than a typical hibachi restaurant, with stylish metal and stone surfaces infused with blue light. There is also a wall of blue glass with water flowing through it. Jonathan was endlessly fascinated by the décor, and was too often too busy pointing out details to respond to basic questions. As Trattner pointed out, you don’t have to worry about entertaining little ones here.
We were quickly seated in the hibachi section (it was early on a Thursday and not too busy). Sarah and I decided to spit the swordfish ($20) and Jonathan ordered the chicken ($9). The $6 splitting charge makes sense as each person gets numerous courses before the main course.
We started with soup (miso) and salad. Each was excellent, with the miso being more subtle and rich than most. The ceiling vents made the restaurant a little chilly, but our cook quickly remedied this by lighting a huge oil flame on the cooking surface. He then began cooking the fried rice ($2 extra over steamed), complete with lots of eggs. The people seated near us requested minimal garlic, but he cooked a small separate mound nearby so that everyone else would get the regular amount. He also fried up a large pile of vegetables including broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms. Everything was fresh, flavorful and perfectly seasoned.
We were both somewhat disappointed with our drinks, Sarah with her watery tea (free) and me with my Tsingtao ($4, also watery, never to be ordered again). Our cook more than made up for this, though, when he brought out the cooking sake. Part of the show involved patrons opening their mouths while he squirted in sake and counted. Those of us interested (myself and 1–2 others) made it to about seven both before and after the meal (he stopped counting at seven second time, perhaps to “cut us off”). The sake was quite good–far better than my beer. Jonathan got the same squirting but with pink lemonade. He was also happy with the Ramune we ordered for him.
The main course was also very good, flavorful and well-seasoned. The “yum yum” sauce (a mayo-based pink sauce) was especially tasty on the vegetables. Our cook also made hot sauce on request, an excellent combination of sriracha, oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and sesame seeds. It was so flavorful that even Jonathan enjoyed it (in moderation). The only minor shortfall was that the shrimp were a tad overcooked, but the fish and chicken were so good that I didn’t even want sauce on most pieces. We’d definitely like to try the steak here sometime (the cook suggested “medium rare” for those who ordered it).
We’ll definitely be back to Wasabi. We all loved our food, and the whole family enjoyed the show.