Wisconsin isn't exactly known for its sushi, but Taikyo "Brian" Park, the owner of Wasabi Sushi Lounge, would like to change that.
"I'm originally from Chicago," he explains, "and this is the eighth restaurant that I've opened over the years. I moved to Brookfield and didn't see any Japanese restaurants and so I opened Wasabi."
It was 2008 when Park opened Wasabi in a small strip mall near the corner of Bluemound and Moorland roads. Since then, he's created a restaurant that offers very fresh and authentic sushi and Japanese cuisine and has also created some new menu items to appeal to local palates.
The Chilean sea bass ($20) is the most popular item on the menu and Park feels strongly that they offer some of the best seafood in Wisconsin. If you're not up for fish, the filet mignon ($23) is also a favorite. But most people come for the sushi, which is offered in so many different varieties that it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, wait staff are more than willing to suggest a meal that caters to your tastes.
For those who have never tried sushi, Park wants to reassure them: "We offer 20 varieties of rolls and sushi doesn't have to be raw fish. We have many cooked sushi rolls as well as several Wisconsin style rolls, including the Oh-My-God roll with tempura and flaming Bacardi 151 ($16)."
In addition to food, Wasabi also boasts what Park calls the "best selection" of sake (a rice-based alcoholic beverage) in Wisconsin.
"I've had customers stop in from New York and say that this is the best sushi they've ever had," says Park. "Some of the items are made from my own recipes."
Wasabi may look small from the outside, but the interior and the flavors are much bigger than they appear.
NAME: Wasabi Sushi Lounge
ADDRESS: 15455 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield
PHONE: (262) 780-0011
FARE: sushi and Japanese cuisine
HOURS: lunch served 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; dinner served 4:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday
PRICE RANGE: $2 to $16 (approximate)
HANDICAP ACCESS: yes
LOOKING TO 'GRAB A BITE'?
"Grab a Bite" is an informal look at the food scene in the Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Elm Grove area by freelance writer Karen Waldkirch. Whether you're looking for a place for a date night or a casual spot for lunch, Waldkirch will be out and about scouting eateries for you. If you have a suggestion for a column, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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