As you may have read previously, Mr Ana and I are fairly picky when it comes to Japanese food and end up decontructing each dish we eat to try to figure out how to cook it. I enjoy going to local Japanese restaurants that the local Japanese community go to (read cheap). The reason why I wanted to try Wasabi in Noosa was because the chef trained as a sushi chef in Ginza. Not many chefs traditionally trained in Australia, so of course I wanted to try it! It has a lovely setting (get the tatami shared room if you can, it has a nicer atmosphere than the regular dining room, despite not being completed closed in), however it gets quite noisy when the restaurant is full.
We ordered the tastings/degustation menu with matching sake as we couldn’t narrow down our choices on the menu (it’s quite extensive). We had seven dishes, excluding dessert. The appetizers were very very nice – super fresh seafood prepared in simple yet creative ways. The mashed tuna with tangy sauce was especially enjoyable. This was probably the first time Mr Ana couldn’t figure out how to recreate the dish.
After the appetizers came the sashimi, which included kingfish marinated in ponzu sauce, tuna, and ocean trout. The sashimi was fabulous. Worth going to the restaurant alone for the sashimi. It was incredibly fresh and firm and the ponzu marinade went very well with the kingfish. My favourite was the trout however, I don’t think I’ve ever had such fresh trout before. Yummmm…
The maki came out next. One was a prawn and corinader roll covered with tempura flakes, another was a California roll using soft shell crab, and the last was a roll with tuna and salsa. While the rolls were enjoyable and fresh, it wasn’t extraordinary. Admittedly the prawn and tempura flake was my favourite. If I’m honest, I don’t think the salsa went well with the tuna.
The gyoza was also delicious. Now, gyoza is not a fancy dish, just simple pork and cabbage dumplings, but they added something extra (fried shallot onions and something…) which turned it into something else! If you like gyoza, you’ll love these dumplings.
We then had two mains, some chicken teriyaki and also some high grade wagyu. I was very excited about these dishes, and when it was placed on our table the smell made me drool with anticipation. Took a bite out of the wagyu, it was quite nice. Tried it again with the accompanying sauce. Turned terrible here. It was rediculously salty and didn’t go with the dish as tall. I just didn’t understand it.
I tried the teriyaki chicken and wild rice, again, was too salty, overcooked, and too well, ordinary (my homemade teriyaki chicken tastes just as good, and no where near as salty).
The dessert (a mixture of little things such as green tea ice cream, a bit of flourless chocolate cake, green tea biscuits and a brown sugar tuile), while tasty, was not memorable.
All the accompanying sakes, while not high grade in themselves, actually went very well with each dish. It’s worth trying if you like sake.
All in all, Wasabi is a place to try if you like seafood and sashimi combined with fine dining. The tasting menu is worth a shot and hopefully our meat dishes were just a one off. Oh, the location isn’t really walkable from hotels so that may be a bit of trouble…
I will put one caveat in here and say that you can get very fresh seafood and sashimi in quite a few casual restaurants at reasonable prices, so don’t feel as though you have to go that far to get a good meal. Keep this place for a special occasion when you want some bells and whistles to go with the food.