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Sushi restaurants with REAL fresh wasabi?

Can anyone recommend an AFFORDABLE japanese restaurant where they serve fresh grated wasabi?? Of course, along with fresh selection of fish~

When I was in NYC, even the $25 and under jap restaurants will serve up fresh wasabi. Here in TO, the ubiquitous powder mix seems to be the only option jap restaurants have. Let's not talk about Kaji and other super high-end japanese restos. Was @ Japango and even they don't offer fresh wasabi, sigh~

Any suggestions, people?

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  1. Takesushi on Front St west of Yonge. They serve fresh wasabi with some of their omakase dishes, but they are very accomodating there and i'm sure they would give it to you with a plain old deluxe sushi platter if you asked nicely.

    1. I haven't been, but the new sushi darling of Toronto (Sushi Marche in Leslieville) supposedly serves fresh wasabi. The prices are affordable as it's mostly take out.

      1105 queen st e

      5 Replies
      1. re: aser

        Just FYI:

        I loved Sushi Marche during the first year they were open. However, the last two visits I made were much less praise-worthy (good but not great). Their portions were down, the waiting time was as long and as inaccurately predicted as ever, and some of the items were less well cut, seasoned and presented (the tako comes to mind -- no lemon, no shiso, too thick. The whole plate was less well done too -- no orchid, no leaf, less gari, etc. . .). Anyways, they have never served me fresh wasabi -- even when they were better.

        On a side note, and somewhat rhetorically, when will restaurants learn that I would rather be honestly told that its going to be an hour rather than show up after half an hour and wait for thirty minutes!

        1. re: Atahualpa

          right, I have my doubts too, but some folks on flickr posted pics of it. I think they also post here and on egullet, let's see if they chime in.

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_ren...

          1. re: aser

            That looks like what I had at my local sushi place - Tomo in Richmond Hill - though I have not been there for over a year since I've gone veg.

            Their wasabi came pre-grated in a package.

            1. re: mrsleny

              read the comments on that flickr link, I had a discussion w/ one dude who disagreed w/ me about it.

              I still think it's too expensive to be served at a place that is in the $20 range. I"ll believe it once I see it in person, freshly grated w/ shark skin.

              1. re: aser

                I guess when ALL Jap restaurants are serving fresh wasabi, even the under $25 restaurants are forced to conform. The restaurant i went to wasn't even a sushi restaurant, it was a yakitori, izakaya style type of restaurant. I doubt it was grated with shark skin, but the wasabi was definitely fresh (shark skin is only used for sushi purpose since some people claim that metal grater will create an oxidized taste to the wasabi)

      2. Are you sure it is fresh wasabi? I heard that they take horseradish and put green food colouring in. Apparently "real" wasabi is extremely rare even in Japan. has anyone else heard this? I am pretty sure I read it online from a news paper, but i can't remember which one

        2 Replies
        1. re: sweetie

          This is true. When I was editing at Well Fed Network, one of my writers did a piece on real wasabi and had to special order it from a farmer in Oregon. He sent it Fed Ex and it cost about $70 US (including the shipping from Oregon to Ohio) for a chunk about the size of a potato.

          1. re: SherylKirby

            A friend said to me that real wasabi, ounce per ounce, is worth more than gold. There's also a snobbery about the stuff. Purists will say that real wasabi comes only from Japan and that products from other countries (including Canada) are inferior.

            One thing about real wasabi... if it was the real stuff, you will only get a little of it at a time, because the potency dissipates very quickly, i.e. 15 minutes. You will need to get it replenished often while you are eating.

        2. Does anyone know if Tokyo Grill uses real wasabi? I ask because what they have tastes dramatically different than the crappy faux wasabi I've had at every other Japanese restaurant I've been to in town, and its consistency is much smoother and melt-in-your-mouth. It's utterly addictive, as is their wasabi ice cream.

          4 Replies
          1. re: vorpal

            realistically, I personally think it's unaffordable for them to serve real wasabi. In my experiences you will only find it in the high end places (kaji, hashimoto, hiro). Even then they don't use it all the time. I've heard of people being served the real deal at Japango too, but they only pull it out for customers they know who order omakase.

            1. re: aser

              I did order the omakase @ japango and was still served the good old powder mix. I was shocked~

              anyway, yes, real wasabi root is expensive (usually about $10 CDN per piece in Japan) , but still quite common in Japan. Just google wasabi and noticed that BC has started growing some wasabi root.

              I was just surprised to know that even a under $25 restaurant in NYC can serve up fresh grated wasabi. Like you said, aser, i'll probably have to try my luck @ kaji, hashimoto or hiro for some fresh ones~

              1. re: oohlala

                japango kind of operates on a "favourites" kind of basis.. just because you order the omakase you can't expect their special special treatment... i find it interesting just because they're pretty blantant about it a good amount of the time.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  yup, again, only "customers they know".

                  I've had omakase at japango and was served the generic horseradish paste.

          2. I have had real wasabi at OMI, though I don't think it's a standard offering. It's pretty darn hard to find, IMHO

            1. Just a thought, I haven't checked, but I have always had great quality and freshness at Toshi or Hiro, they might be inclined to offer fresh wassabi, I will ask next visit...