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Wednesday, May 12, 2010
After work, I grabbed the light rail to Columbia City and met up with Dan at the Farmers Market to pick up some items for later in the week. After checking out the selection, grabbing a few things, and chatting with some friends we ran into, we headed up the block for dinner at Wabi Sabi Sushi.
We were quickly seated and given menus to review. There was a bit of a lag before our server checked in with us to order drinks, though that just gave us time to figure out our full order. And thanks to getting there around 6, we received 15% off everything thanks to catching the tail end of Happy Hour (Mon-Thu 4:30-6:30; Fri-Sat 9-11).
We started with the Soft Shell Crab Lettuce Wraps (normally $10), which were a little difficult to eat, but the deep fried crab was tasty and the ponzu sauce was bright.
Next we dug into a platter of three of their signature sushi rolls:
Ceviche Roll ($11) - Lime-marinated scallop, salmon, jalapeno, cilantro and cucumber topped with black tobiko and charred lime peel
Samurai Roll ($10) - Albacore, wasabi tobiko, avocado, cucumber, cilantro, fried shallots, and a spicy sauce
Saigon Tuna Roll ($8) - Tuna, cucumber, avocado, cilantro, pickled ginger, spicy mayo, and fried jalapeno pepper, wrapped in rice paper with ponzu sauce
All the rolls were delicious and a great mix of flavors. I particularly liked the fried shallots that were sprinkled on the Samurai roll, and enjoyed the creative use of summer roll wrapper to make the Saigon roll.
We noticed some similarities in the menu (both the physical menu itself, and the menu items) between Thoa's and Wabi Sabi. Both have more than a little Hawaiian influence, Ginger Margaritas, similar Mai Tai recipes, and the menus look like they were made by the same company using the same cover style and font. We wondered if perhaps they're owned by Thoa Nguyen - and a little poking around confirms our suspicions. I'm glad she decided to open another restaurant - this time in our neck of the woods - and that her signature blending of various Asian and Pacific Island cuisines remains present at Wabi Sabi - and beautifully executed.