An offer I couldn’t resist

by Eric Ginsburg

Ican’t pass up deals like this, especially when a friend recommends a new restaurant, or at least a place that’s new to me. Scoring 18 sushi rolls, or three orders, for just $12 is a steal, but at Wasabi on West Market Street anyone can take advantage of the lunch deal.

I don’t eat sushi that often, not for any lack of enjoyment but likely because of the typically high price for a small amount of food. I’m a novice, but I eat enough to have graduated from the basic California roll, taking a small step to another geographically named item: the Philadelphia roll.

I stalled on deciding what other two orders to round out (terrible pun intended) my meal with, struggling in part because the menu lacked any description of the options and I was too impatient to ask about a half dozen kinds. I tried to vary my options and pick three I thought would be easy to tell apart — adding the spicy shrimp and the salmon tempura to the list — but I was still confused when the food arrived.

I might know I like Philadelphia rolls, but I still couldn’t pick them out of the line up. Some accidental misdirection from my friend didn’t help, but I should’ve been able to catch its distinct qualities, especially when I finished eating and declared it the winner. Philadelphia rolls combine salmon, cream cheese and avocado in the center for a balanced bite-sized morsel, and I alternated between eating the rolls as they were and with ginger and soy sauce.

I may have initially confused the two salmon rolls, but the spicy shrimp was easy to identify even though it wasn’t exactly spicy. This could be due to the savory dollop of orange sauce on top of each piece, or maybe I’m just accustomed to hotter foods. Still, no regrets.

The salmon tempura roll, a shorter and wider cousin of the other offerings, is almost too big for anyone still at the beginner or intermediate levels of chopstick usage. After a few fumbles, I opted to spear it. Donning orange specks (that I’ve been told are fish eggs) as a hat and drizzled with sauce, the salmon tempura was crunchier than its midday counterparts.

My dining companion ordered the red snapper without reading the menu — he’s slowly becoming a regular here, and at this point he knows what he wants. As everything from the Dixie Chicks to Frank Ocean played in the background, he told me about how his dad fishes for snapper near Morehead City.

My company asked if I’d like to come along on a daytrip sometime, describing the boat and listing a few other fish we might find.

I’d love to, but I can’t imagine catching anything, and even if I did I doubt it could taste fresher than this snapper. He let me sample his lunch and it was pretty impressive, especially with a little bit of Wasabi’s white sauce.

All told, even with 18 pieces of sushi on my plate I retained my title as a permanent member of the Clean Plate Club, but with no extra room in my stomach, I was glad the complementary house soup wasn’t any heartier.


Wasabi Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar; 4630 W. Market St., Greensboro; 336.632.4567;