Wasabi Chi Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar recently opened to extremely positive reviews. When I found myself in the area needing a quick bite to eat I dropped by to check it out. I remember visiting the building years ago when it was a very different sort of cavateli restaurant. It has been completely renovated and looks great inside. The style evokes an urban Japanese-style restaurant without the hackneyed themes a lot of Asian restaurants suffer from.
According the the web site, chef and owner, Jimmy Zheng, grew up in China but has worked in restaurants in Bangkok and New York. Executive Chef Kinto Izumiis a native of Tokyo, Japan, spent ten years learning his craft in a respected sushi bar in Tokyo and then went on to work as the head chef in sushi restaurants in England, Spain and Italy. We are lucky to have these two in Des Moines and it appears from the reaction and packed parking lot that they are appreciated.
Wasabi Chi serves Gekkeikan sake prepared in a sake warming machine and served warm in a ceramic flask and cup ($3.75 for a small and $6.95 for a large). I asked about the warming machine and was told that it accepts what is essentially a wine box and runs the sake through a fast warmer. Gekkeikan Sake Company, Ltd. from Fushimi, Japan, has been brewing sake since 1637. This sake comes from Folsom, California where it is made from local California rice. This sake has 14.6% alcohol and tasted very smooth, almost oily, and the alcohol was nearly imperceptible. A wide variety of other sake drinks are also available, including both Momokawa Diamond Cold Sake and Moonstone Asian Pear Cold Sake at $5.95 per glass or $24.95 per bottle.
Because I didn’t have a whole lot of time, I sat at the bar. The bar is separated from the fairly small dining room and features an 75 bottle selection of different spirits, not bad for a small restaurant bar. The drink menu includes a number of unique specialty drinks for only $5.95 each. This is a real bargain given the classy look of the place. This would be a great place to meet with friends after work or after a movie, especially if some sushi would hit the late-night spot.
For sushi, I ordered two rolls. Both were excellent. The rice was moist and the taste had some snap, if that is a way to describe it. The bartender was quick and friendly. I will definitely put Wasabi Chi on the top of my list of places to check out for dinner, especially given the lack of top quality restaurants in this part of Des Moines.
MON – THURS
11:00AM – 10:00PM
FRI & SAT
11:00AM – 11.00PM
12 NOON – 10:000PM
Feng Shui Happy Hour Special
03:00PM – 05:30PM
5418 Douglas Avenue,
Des Moines, IA 50310