Category Archives: Sushi

Ginormous sushi buffet

sushibuffetIf you’ve driven past the old Chi Chi’s building (that’s what longtime Wichitans call it) at 511 S. West St. recently, you might have noticed a bunch of ladders, construction trucks and a new sign promising sushi.

This morning on my way to work, I marched through the double doors and demanded to know the story. I met Liyong Chen, who was busy nailing tree branches to a post in the back of the giant space. The restaurant, called Hibachi Grill Sushi, is another mega-buffet, and it is quite a spectacle. Chen, who also owns Asia Town Buffet at 6160 E. Central, has added a giant fish pond in the middle of the restaurant and disco lights in the ceiling.

He’ll offer sushi, hibachi grilled food, Chinese, Mexican and American from a spread of all-you-can-eat buffet tables.

Chen plans to open Nov. 10, he said, and the restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner.

I’d start fasting now.

Gindi adding a Thai/sushi buffet

gindi2Gindi Thai & Japanese Diner at 7010 W. 21st St. is one of those restaurants that I love but never get to.

That’s going to have to change now that the restaurant is adding a Thai and sushi lunch buffet, which will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays starting on Tuesday.

The buffet will offer a rotating selection of items from the regular menu — about 10 Thai dishes per day, ranging from Pad Thai to drunken noodles. It’ll also include sushi.

The price will be $6.95. Owners are contemplating offering it all day Sundays, too, but haven’t yet decided.

Sushi for students

sushi.jpg 005

WSU students sample sushi from the new Southern Tsunami Fresh Made Sushi kiosk in the Rhatigan Student Center.

The Rhatigan Student Center at Wichita State University has earned quite the rep on the Wichita food scene, mainly because (as of now) it contains Wichita’s ONLY Chick-fil-A restaurant.

This semester, the RSC (as it’s known among WSU students) added a new dining option to its Copperfield Food Court: Sushi. A kiosk in the center called Southern Tsunami Fresh Made Sushi now sells several varieties of sushi rolls distributed in plastic containers, sort of like what you’d get at Dillon’s.

Attachted to the sushi kiosk is an Indian spot called Masala Asian Grill. It’s not technically new — the center served Indian food from a different, title-less spot last year. But now it has a name and a prime location, right next to the sushi place. So far, both restaurants are proving quite popular with student diners.

Also available in the RSC: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, made-to-order deli sandwiches, frozen yogurt, fancy coffee and more.

Tasty news from Carriage Parkway

Toni and Danny Shadid of Toni D's

Toni and Danny Shadid of Toni D's

It’s sort of tucked away back near the intersection of Central and Edgemoor, but Carriage Parkway is a hotbed of restaurant deliciousness, from Thai Tradition to El Rodeo.

There’s also Toni D’s a deli and catering shop that turns 23 years old today. Owners Toni and Danny Shadid will celebrate the anniversary on Friday by offering its specials for the same price it did on Sept. 1, 1987, the day it opened. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Toni D’s homemade meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and corn will sell for $3.99. (It’s $6.99 normally.) Sandwiches and salads also will be $3.99.

sakeetc.jpg 004Carriage Parkway also was the site of Kobe Japanese Grill, a onetime popular dining destination (and original Carriage Crossing tentant) that closed earlier this year. Now, a new restaurant now is going in the space– Sake Hibachi Grill and Sushi Bar, which is owned by Hong Tao Zhang and Suhua Chen, the same people behind the Asia Town Buffet at 6160 E. Central. No word when it will open, but construction workers are sawing and hammering away as I type.

Restaurant confession

I'm so ashamed.

Needed: Chopsticks lessons.

I have a restaurant confession to make, and I’m so ashamed.

I can’t use chopsticks. Can’t do it. I’ve tried for years, and no matter who tries to teach me or how much I practice, I fumble it all up, send the sticks flying, embarrass myself and delay the transportation of sushi to mouth way longer than it needs to be delayed. Grrrr.chopstix

Today, I had lunch at Sumo with Carrie and one of her influential restaurant  sources and was humiliated when I had to ask for a fork.

I blame it on being a lefty.

But there is a bright side. My sushi lunch included this amazing special, called the Viva Vegas roll, which featured a crunchy tempura coating and amazing presentation. With the aid of my fork (or Knork, in this case), I was able to grab it up much faster than my chopsticked companions.

Small victories.

Wasabi is open — really

Wasabi head chef Eum Young, left, and his staff of sushi assemblers

Wasabi head chef Eun Young, left, and his staff of sushi assemblers, which includes his wife, second from left.

After months and months and months (and months) of anticipation, Wasabi, a new downtown sushi restaurant at 912 E. Douglas, is finally open. (And because it’s right across the street from our offices, the sushi fans I sit near are at this very moment performing an exotic sushi happy dance.)

Chef Eun Young quietly opened the surprisingly large and attractive restaurant on Monday. The giant, leather-bound menu features appetizers, soups, sushi rolls, sashimi, bento boxes and even a kids’ menu. It also has a special half-price sushi section, and Wasabi serves wine, beer and sake.

Wasabi will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For more information, call 316-927-3524.

The wait is almost over. (Probably)

Wasabi, a sushi restaurant that has been in the works forever at 912 E. Douglas, should open this month.

Wasabi, a sushi restaurant that has been in the works forever at 912 E. Douglas, should open this month.

Back in January, I reported that Wasabi, a sushi restaurant planned by Steve Young at 912 E. Douglas, would open “after the first of the year.” That reporting was technically correct, even though it’s now SIX MONTHS after the first of the year.

I’ve been in touch with Steve every couple of weeks since January, and he keeps saying “soon, soon, soon!” He’s faced several delays, but I now believe him that Wasabi really will be open soon, as in July. I just walked across the street to peek in the windows and the place looks ready to go, complete with green booths, palm plants and a nice looking sushi bar. (As I took the above photo, two groups of people stopped me to ask, “Is that place EVER going to open?”)

Steve said he’d call me this week with a firm opening date. He’s going to serve sushi and other Japanese food daily at both lunch and dinner.

Impromptu dinner date

FOOD KOREANFOOD 1 DEI had a very interesting and fun experience in a local restaurant this weekend, and I’m wondering why I’ve never had one like it before.

A friend and I arrived for sushi at Hana Cafe in Old Town Square around 7 p.m. and found that people were waiting for tables. A couple seated in the waiting area told us they were headed for the movies and only had about 45 minutes. Sit with us, they said, and you can keep the table when we go.

We’d never done anything like that before but decided why not? We sat down with the pair, who turned out to be a pair of recently married medical professionals with seven kids between them who were out for a date night. We quickly bonded over sushi and bibimbap, exchanged information and vowed to get together again in a few weeks.

I’m not sure every impromptu pairing would turn out that well, but it was a fun experience that made the sushi taste even better — especially the large plate they left behind when they jetted over to the Warren.

Ever had a similar experience?

International Sushi Day

The Flatlander's Dream roll at Kanai. Photo by Jaime Green.

The Flatlander's Dream roll at Kanai. Photo by Jaime Green.

If you can believe ANYTHING you read on Wikipedia (which I often do), today is International Sushi Day — a holiday invented last year by the administrator of the “Sushi” page on Facebook. (Welcome to 2010!)

In honor of this momentous occasion, I will now list my top three favorite sushi places in Wichita. Please chime in with your own. Drumroll please…

1. Kanai, 12111 Maple: A few months ago, I gave this place a four-star review. Why? Because it’s sooooo good. Chef David  Kanai makes some of the best rolls in town, the nigiri is fresh and huge, and the appetizers are inventive and yummy.

2. Sumo by Nambara, 11233 E 13th Street: This east-side restaurant is a trendy place to go, especially for young and pretty Wichitans on Friday nights. It also serves some of Wichita’s freshest and tastiest sushi. The restaurant has two separate dining areas: One for sushi eaters and one for people partaking of the hibachi grills. Prepare to wait for a table.

3. Hana Cafe, 325 N. Mead: It’s small but expanding, and it serves delicious sushi in addition to several Japanese and Korean noodle dishes.

Who’ve I missed, sushi fans? And what will you do in observance of this most sacred sushi day?