Seaweed rolls may not be available on the Whitworth campus, but now traditional Asian cuisine can be found within a five minute walk from class. Wasabi Bistro and Sushi Bar opened in January at the corner of Hawthorne Road and Division Street. Wasabi Bistro is the north side sister to downtown’s Ginger Bistro and has been welcomed to the neighborhood with enthusiasm. “A lot of customers at Ginger (Bistro) said, ‘Why not get a restaurant in the north because we don’t have anything like this,’” said Jing Sun, who runs Wasabi and Ginger Bistro alongside her father, Lianqi Sun.
It didn’t take long for Whitworth students to discover the exceptional cuisine at Wasabi Bistro. Senior Thomas Pendell has visited the restaurant twice during the dinner rush since its opening. He ordered the Red Dragon Roll both times, a sushi roll with crab, tempura shrimp, avocado, eel and tuna.
“It was the best sushi I’ve ever eaten and well worth the wait,” Pendell said.
Wasabi Bistro offers a menu similar to Ginger Bistro but with more emphasis on side dishes and appetizers.
“Ginger (Bistro) is a staple of Spokane and ‘the best place to go for sushi.’ Now we’re the new Ginger but not as well known yet,” said Brian Brumfield, a Wasabi Bistro server and former chef at the restaurant Taste. “(Wasabi Bistro is) a well-rounded restaurant with the best sushi in town as well as the best Chinese food in town.”
Customers have a wide variety of menu options between traditional Chinese entrees, typical Japanese sushi dishes as well as several sushi rolls unique to Wasabi Bistro. The Red Dragon is one Wasabi-specific sushi roll and one of the most popular dishes. Jing Sun and Wasabi Bistro servers said some other popular dishes include the Rock Roll, Orange Peel Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Chicken Beef with asparagus and General Tso’s Chicken.
The dishes most requested are not necessarily the only culinary treasures served, however. One server at Wasabi Bistro, Justis VanTyler, recommends the Low Carb Roll, a sushi roll of tuna, yellowtail, and scallions wrapped in cucumber rather than rice. Brumfield’s personal favorite is the Tokyo Taco which is made with a wedge of lettuce, rice, tempura shrimp, and volcano sauce but not listed on the regular menu. Another choice not found on the menu is bluefin tuna, a staple of traditional sushi.
The Suns know the business of serving sushi well. Ginger Bistro has served Spokanites for only two years but Jing and Lianqi Sun previously owned an Asian cuisine restaurant in Los Angeles for 10 years.
“We have authentic Chinese food,” Jing Sun said. “We make everything by scratch. We don’t have anything pre-made.”
Despite Wasabi’s combined experience and quality, Pendell saw one drawback to the experience.
“The prices for a sushi restaurant are fairly high and too expensive for college students to eat at on a regular basis,” Pendell said.
Fortunately, Wasabi offers a 10 percent discount for students. The cost of a regular meal can cost up to $20, though many inexpensive appetizers on the menu could easily be just as filling for a smaller price. For parties who like to split the bill and share, there are also the Lover’s Boat combo for $50 and the significantly larger Lucky Boat combo for $70.