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Who has the best wasabi in LA?

feedthebelly Nov 5, 2008 04:31 PM

Which sushi restaurant in LA has the real deal wasabi? One that will get rid of a cold on the spot. Some wasabi can be eaten like an avocado. I want the one that is not only painfully hot, but has good flavor and texture.

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  1. Joe Blowe RE: feedthebelly Nov 5, 2008 04:37 PM

    The effects of real wasabi (e.g. http://www.freshwasabi.com/) are much more subtle than the horseradish rush that everyone is used to. You may be disappointed when you find the real thing...

    1. J.L. RE: feedthebelly Nov 5, 2008 05:00 PM

      Agree with Joe Blowe about wasabi...

      The real stuff, when freshly grated on sharkskin, is considerably milder but more flavorful than the industrial grade horseradish served at most non-premium sushi places.

      If you are into real wasabi, try it at Urasawa and The Hump.

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.
        Maxmillion RE: J.L. Nov 6, 2008 01:14 PM

        Mori-san grates it fresh at Mori Sushi on Pico near the 405.

        But I agree, the fresh stuff from the root is not hot and sinus-cleansing like the paste... But it's the only wasabi I like.

        Try Ranch 99 for fresh wasabi root if you wanna try it at home.

      2. b
        Burger Boy RE: feedthebelly Nov 5, 2008 05:11 PM

        So you want the dayglo green horseradish that you can buy in the store powdered or in tubes. Real wasabi is hot but not painful and the flavor is amazing, no high end place would serve the other stuff and they would not serve it to you with great fish. Try asking Nozawa for it and you could be thrown out. I went to dip my fish in the wrong sauce and he corrected me and guided me to the right one for full flavor of fish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Burger Boy
          justeat RE: Burger Boy Nov 6, 2008 10:07 AM

          The one time i ate at Nozawa, the wasabi was green and runny... the one thing it did not taste like was real wasabi.

        2. Akitist RE: feedthebelly Nov 5, 2008 06:46 PM

          Wasabi seems to come in 3 levels: fresh-grated, from the tube, and powdered. That's in order of quality, not hotness. I'd expect any second-tier Japanese-run sushi place would give you the hot stuff. Never heard of wasabi being mild enough to eat like avocado, though I was witness to a guy being conned into eating some that he was told was Japanese guacamole. He didn't eat a lot of it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Akitist
            Burger Boy RE: Akitist Nov 5, 2008 07:26 PM

            The fresh grated wasabi i had, you just grabed a pinch with your fingers and popped it in your mouth, it was sublime. When we used the fresh on sushi we had made it was great! The tube stuff I have seen is just like the powdered only already to go. The fresh is worth it if you do sushi at home, just need a 2 oz piece and a good ginger grater.

            1. re: Akitist
              bllrdfam RE: Akitist Nov 5, 2008 08:01 PM

              We have purchased (at Surfas - they don't always have it) real wasabi in a powdered form. It may not be the same as fresh, but it is much better than the normal green horseradish powder. We always try to have some on hand.

              1. re: bllrdfam
                Burger Boy RE: bllrdfam Nov 5, 2008 08:50 PM

                they have powdered real wasabi at Penzeys Spices in Torrance?

              2. re: Akitist
                The Chowhound Team RE: Akitist Nov 6, 2008 10:37 AM

                Hi Everybody, In your posts, please include places where one can buy, or be served, top notch wasabi in the Los Angeles area. General discussion about wasabi is off topic on this board.


              3. r
                RicRios RE: feedthebelly Nov 5, 2008 08:03 PM

                Rules of the game are:
                1) become a regular of ANY decent sushi chef
                2) ask for real wasabi, you'll get it
                3) no such thing as painfully hot real wasabi
                4) only the chef handles the wasabi

                1. ipsedixit RE: feedthebelly Nov 5, 2008 08:08 PM

                  Are you looking for fresh wasabi, or merely real wasabi?

                  You can get the former at Nishimura, and the latter at most sushi joints if you ask.

                  1. h
                    hobomike RE: feedthebelly Nov 6, 2008 12:14 AM

                    Grasshopper, I think you ask 2 questions. First, "real" wasabi is grated, fresh from the root. Not as rare as in the old days, still sushi-ya often charge an arm and a leg for it. (But they do for almost everything.) Still, you can get it at many asian markets. I think the lot of the stuff we see here is coming from Oregon. Traditionally, it grows wild, next to clean, cold mountain streams which japan has no shortage of.

                    Last, if you want HOT, then you must go for the powder. It's just a matter of concentration. And freshness. The heat dissipates the longer it sits out. Like anything these days, powders range from industrial to artisanal grade.I think most sushi-ya are now using Chinese-sourced power, whether they know it or not, as well as Chinese-sourced gari (ginger) which is a shame because the homemade stuff is night and day from the industrial.

                    As for texture and flavor, I'm not aware of many places that add adjuncts to their wasabi but that is another area for exploration.

                    1. suicidemartini RE: feedthebelly Nov 6, 2008 09:48 AM

                      As people have said, the fresh-grated stuff is a whole different story. However, I've come to find that there's also a huge difference in the stuff in the tube that is actually wasabi and the stuff that's just horseradish and food-coloring. You can easily tell when you mix it into some soy sauce (i know that's wrong). The real stuff (in the tube) has a noticably different texture and the taste is better and the heat is milder. I've found this in Little Tokyo at the markets and I think I found it at a Pavillions. It also amazes how many nicer places use the totally fake shit.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: suicidemartini
                        Akitist RE: suicidemartini Nov 6, 2008 01:06 PM

                        Chowhound team: I think you should tolerate the attempts to correct the OP's misconception about "genuine, ultra-hot" wasabi. It's not to be found anywhere.

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