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Oct 25, 2007 08:19 AM

DC Area Sushi with Genuine Wasabi?

After reading about the qualities and scarcity of real wasabi in The Sushi FAQ, I've become interested to know if there's any place around DC where I can go try the real deal.

Quoted from the FAQ: Due to a high demand and limited supply, what is often served with your sushi is a mix of American horseradish, mustard and coloring, which the Japanese call seiyō wasabi (“western wasabi”). This is because real wasabi can be hard to find or very expensive outside Japan (up to $100/lb). Wasabi is also sometimes powdered and reconstituted with water, and while this is sometimes served as well, the volatile compounds that make wasabi so unique are lost when the rhizome is powdered, so what you end up is an inferior product (which too is often mixed with American horseradish).

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        1. re: cleveland park

          Thanks! Have you tried it? Any thoughts?

          1. re: jerf

            Nope, sorry. I just remember seeing it on the menu.

        2. yea I've tried it. It looks like a root vegetable and they use a special board to rub against which produces the end product. Once you have the real stuff you get to understand how fake tasting the reconstituted option tastes like. You should try it at Sushi Ko

          3 Replies
            1. re: jerf

              I've had it at many places (outside of washington dc). It is much sweeter and milder than the americanized wasabi. It also has more of a texture to it. I highly recommend it.

              Actually - if you ever get sushi from whole foods - grab their wasabi packets - it's much closer to the real thing than any other americanized ones I've had.

            2. re: cleveland park

              I'm wondering/assuming that the special board might be a shark skin board- at least I think that is what is used to grate real wasabi. I've only had it once in Japan, but I really enjoyed it, and I'm the type that asks for NO wasabi on any sushi that I order otherwise.

            3. At Asian Bistro on King St., Alexandria, I was served sushi with wasabi which the chef called "fresh wasabi." He made a big deal about it and asked me if I liked it -- I did, it was more complex and subtle than the standard stuff. After reading the FAQ you posted, I'm in doubt as to whether it was truly authentic, though. That was some months ago, and I'm not sure whether it became a regular item on the menu.

              1. sushi taro used to have it about 75% of the time, when i was going regularly. it's terrific stuff -- hard to go back to fake after.