Wednesday, February 07, 2007
This Week's Restaurant Review: Wasabi & Ginger in SF
It would be interesting to find out how many sushi bars operate within the city of San Francisco. More fish have met their makers here than anywhere else on the planet, except with maybe the exception of Japan. If I were a tuna, shrimp or mackerel, SF would not be part of my travel itinerary. And the thing is, more and more sushi bars are opening up in this town all the time. You’d think people here would eventually tire of raw fish, but they just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff! There is one sushi place in town that we absolutely love, and it’s called Wasabi & Ginger. Wasabi & Ginger has it all – a fun atmosphere, the freshest fish, a great crew and a balanced and varied menu. And best of all – they will usually give you free stuff. Whether it’s a special sushi roll they’re working on or a nice, light dessert, the folks at Wasabi & Ginger give us 1-2 free items every time we go in there. How many restaurants do that? There are 2 things when it comes to sushi bars that are most important to me – freshness and variety. First, the fish has to be incredibly fresh. If I can’t feel a pulse, I’m not happy. Raw fish is a very delicate commodity, and if it’s been sitting around too long, it can be disastrous. That’s why buffet style sushi at these all-you-can-eat places is not high on my list. The finer sushi restaurants in the world have the best contacts and connections, and always seem to get the best fish. It’s like a great steakhouse being able to get a hold of the finest Grade AAA Prime beef. Those restaurants that can’t get the highest quality, freshest things aren’t going to stay on top for very long. On the other hand, the ones that can will consistently excel. Secondly, variety is the spice of life when it comes to sushi. If I see another Spider, Rainbow or 49er Roll, I’m going to slit my wrists. Too many sushi places fall into the same trap – they serve what the majority of their customers want and I really can’t blame them. But, people are creatures of habit and basically sheep when it comes to food. If you don’t believe me, take a look at all the boxes of macaroni & cheese and other comfort foods on the shelves next time you’re at the local grocery store. When I go out for sushi and spend $50-$80, I want to try items I’ve never had before. Wasabi & Ginger has been creating new exciting items for over five years. They do traditional and modern sushi, with over 150 menu selections, including appetizers like Dobin-Mushi (a traditional Japanese soup), a variety of grilled seafood dishes and over 15 vegetarian items. As far as rolls go, Wasabi & Ginger has their own unique creations, with names like Pink Dragon, (toasted salmon) Scallop Lovers (grilled scallops) and Super Yummy Roll. The Monster Rolls consist of eight big pieces and are all delicious. I especially recommend the Crazy Roll with Unagi, the Irish roll with snow crab and mango and the Fire Work with tempura smoked salmon. Everything I’ve had at Wasabi & Ginger is outstanding, so you can pretty much throw a dart at the menu and hit a winner! Wasabi & Ginger is at 2299 Van Ness Avenue (the corner of Van Ness and Vallejo Streets) in SF and their phone number is: (415) 345-1368.