Akron’s Wasabi restaurant proves hibachi is hot

Jenna Gerling

A chef at Wasabi Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse heats the cooking table in the center of a group of diners. PHOTO: Caitlin Prarat, Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Jason Hall

Entering Wasabi is like entering another world.

Through the doors, a glass walkway leads you over a koi fish pond and waterfall to the seating hostess, who stands in front of a glowing blue panel with ornate Japanese blossoming trees and houses etched onto it. More blossoming trees grow out of the floor and shade those seated at the teppanyaki grills.

Usually the word “Hibachi”brings to mind a goofy chef preparing food in front of customers, making their onion volcanoes and flicking shrimp. And without denial, Wasabi didn’t stray far from it.

But the entertainers were trained well and really tried to mingle with their customers. All chefs were equipped with water bottles shaped like a toy man, which peed out the water rather than spray it.

Enough of the funny stuff: On to the food.

I ordered the steak hibachi and crab maki (hand-rolled with seaweed, rice and meat).

Both items were what you’d expect from any quality sushi and Hibachi restaurant: soft, sticky rice in the roll with a clean, fish-less taste from the meat. The food was all very fresh and presented on dishes artistically – some dishes with tri-colored fish roe (unprocessed fish eggs) were decorated with red and white sauces and placed decoratively around the plates. Even their Mexican rolls with tempura shrimp were made in a way to please the eye as well as the palate.

Paired with exquisite ambiance and quality Japanese cuisine, Wasabi is a must because it truly takes you out of Akron and into a Japanese garden.

Contact all correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].