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May 11, 2012 01:22 PM

No wasabi please

It's not nice to snitch, telltale, throw someone under the bus, as they so frequently say on popular food shows... But I have a reputation to maintain here on Chowhound (or at least the self-congratulatory, ego-boosting internet has led me to believe that). So I will say this straight away, I'm not asking for myself, I'm asking for Mrs. Yeti, the lovely nearly perfect creature that shares my life and who's only flaw is her hatred for all things spicy hot.

I thought I read a thread about this somewhere, but couldn't find it so I apologize if it has been talked about already.

Is it frowned upon to ask for sushi, in a high-end place (such as Saito or Sawada), without wasabi ?

Thank you (for her...).

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    1. re: Silverjay

      I don't think wasabi is considered spicy or hot, don't know the exact term, but wasabi isn't a chili. Now, good, fresh wasabi done properly should be pretty mild, although it is possible to overdo it, even in the finest establishments, and to get a real wasabi hit that will clear your sinuses for weeks. So I guess you could ask for no wasabi. Just tell them your wife is allergic to it or something equally lame but credible.

      1. re: Uncle Yabai

        Please don't claim allergies -- you're doing an enormous disservice to folks who actually *have* allergies. When everybody and their dog claims allergies, the staff can't be blamed for shrugging and saying "yeah, yeah, yeah, allergies" -- boy crying wolf, etc., etc., etc.

        Wasabi is in the horseradish and mustard family, by the way -- it is not botanically either one, but is related...and while it's not capsaicin hot, can set your world on fire.

    2. I find it funny when someone defines wasabi as "hot" os "spicy", like pepper. Maybe it's the opposite. It's, at least when concentrated, more like very cool menthol. It stimulates the nose rather than the mouth.

      And like Uncle Yabai said, fresh wasabi that you'll find in Saito or Sawada is very mild. You won't even feel it in your nose. Just lie and tell her there's no wasabi in her nigiris. She probably won't notice it. :)

      1. Asking for sushi without wasabi is absolutely not a problem in Japan. Just say "sabi-nuki" ("without wasabi") and it will be left out. This is commonly done for children and grown-ups who don't like it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Tripeler

          Wasabi that strengh your noise is usually powder made instant wasabi !! 
          In my opinion you didn't have the chance yet to taste fresh grated wasabi... 
          Good fresh wasabi cost almost 10,000.-yens, try to taste it at first with your chopstick.. then order her preference. 

          1. re: Ninisix

            Are you replying to me, Ninisix? Personally, I like wasabi, particularly if it is fresh. I was just trying to answer the OP's query about asking for no wasabi.

            1. re: Tripeler

              Nope Tripeler !! I was answering to the OP who lives in France, and I did experience some in Paris and Nice.. and wasabi was certainly not fresh, ..

        2. Thank you all for your input !

          Yes I have tasted real wasabi, and indeed it is milder than the fake stuff we find in 99% of the places in France.
          Yes I know that wasabi is not spicy, it's mustardy (if one should put an adjective to describe it), the pungent, slightly painful feeling is not comparable to chilis at all.

          And finally, last time we ate sushi was in a "good" place (in France, meaning below average in the States, and probably just "meh" in Japan). So their wasabi wasn't the low-grade stuff, it wasn't fresh either, I found it to be quite mild, and my girlfriend had tears coming out... ;)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rio Yeti

            I think you have tasted the frozen version, mixed and not grated !! But, that is better to ask to remove it of she had almost tears. And please eat with your fingers !! The way to press the nigiri into shape will be softer !!

            1. re: Ninisix

              Yes, as mentioned in another post I will eat with my fingers (even though it means A. my camera will smell of fish or B. I will not take pictures of this meal).

              And again thanks all for the wasabi answers.

              I'm now finishing up our food plans, and will come back here shortly for a last checkup before starting to call and make reservations.