Sushi, the wonderful Japanese preparation of rice and fish, used to be impossible to find anywhere in Wichita. It took a while to catch on here, possibly because of a Midwestern aversion to raw fish.
Now, sushi is everywhere, even in the grocery store. Once a rarity, sushi and Japanese food in general are firmly part of Wichita’s diverse culinary scene.
Fresh fish is but a component of good sushi. The most important part of any sushi preparation is the rice, which is lightly seasoned with vinegar and sugar. Classically, the rice is formed into an oval, wasabi is lightly dabbed on, and a perfect slice of raw fish is placed on top. This is nigiri sushi. Maki sushi is the rice, usually rolled in a sheet of seaweed called nori, and stuffed with any combination of fish, seafood or vegetables. The simplest maki rolls have fillings like raw tuna, salmon or cucumber.
I like my sushi simple, but sometimes I crave crazy maki rolls. I like to go to Wasabi in Old Town for wacky, delicious maki. The chefs at Wasabi specialize in fun combinations, and the presentations are beautiful. Many of the rolls have no raw fish in them at all, and are sometimes deep fried. I like the Stonehenge roll, crammed with tempura shrimp, crab, avocado and cream cheese, then battered and fried.
I love anything with unagi, the barbecued, rich, fresh-water eel. Try it. It’s awesome.
Many of Wasabi’s inventive creations are elaborate and mainly feature cooked ingredients. The menu is expansive and has many other Japanese dishes, like tonkatsu pork and teriyaki chicken. Service is inconsistent, and I prefer to go on weekdays, when everything is more relaxed.