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OC Wasbi
Written By: Jenny Samuels
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OC Wasbi
OC Wasbi
The happy staff at OC Wasabi poses behind the brand new, full service bar.
OC Wasbi
Locals Jill & Natalee are just a few of many familiar faces enjoying the experience in OC Wasabi’s new bar room.
OC Wasbi
Posed between two beautiful women, owner Kenny welcomed regular customers Meagen & Adrianne.
    The best sushi restaurant in Ocean City just got even better. Already renowned for its top-notch specialty rolls and sushi nigri, OC Wasabi on 33rd Street now features a swank new bar. Locals have been gathering at the new, full service bar since its grand opening in June, and customers are invited to enjoy a cocktail and appetizer while they wait for seating in the adjoining dining room.
    Showcasing a beautiful oak bar, tall tabletops and barstools, high-definition flat screen televisions, and eclectic artwork by local artists, OC Wasabi’s new bar is staffed by a melting pot of your favorite local bartenders. Joe Records (Holiday Inn Pool Bar), Ricky B (Fish Tales), Chip Ayres (Pepper’s Tavern), Cathy G (Coconut Times), and Aldo are just a few of many bartenders you’ll find slinging sake at OC Wasabi—a who’s who of Ocean City. From 10 p.m. until 1 a.m., enjoy select drink and food discounts on a special menu for the bar area only. Mellow lighting and upbeat music add to the sophisticated atmosphere.
    Of course, the dining room at OC Wasabi is more popular than ever, with seasoned staff members holding down the raw bar and keeping customers happy. Owned and operated by head chef, Ken Diu—a local celebrity, OC Wasabi pays homage to neighborhood bartenders and business owners. For instance, the “Chuck Webb” specialty roll—comprised of crabstick, cucumber, cream cheese, and smoked salmon topped with eel—is named after a Seacrets’ bartender. A concoction of tuna, crabstick, avocado, and cucumber, the “Killa” roll is named after a popular bartender at the Bearded Clam. The Kevin Poole roll is made of yellowtail, smelt roe, and jumbo lump crabmeat, and is named after a well-liked musician in Ocean City and Key West. Paying tribute to the owner of the Sahara Café, the Baked Phatty Jay roll is a yummy mix of crabstick, asparagus, white tuna, spicy sauce, and crunchy toppings.
    I enjoyed dinner at OC Wasabi this week with Joey Steward and friends Jason & Stephanie Munoz, and Kenny gave us the usual VIP treatment. One thing you’ll notice about OC Wasabi is that Kenny takes the time to shake your hand and visit each and every table, even when the dining room is packed to full capacity. On the night that we dined at OC Wasabi, Kenny presented us with the fresh catch of the day—Tuna Steak. Seared to perfection and encrusted with sesame and panko, the Tuna Steak is hands-down the best I’ve ever had. Kenny also prepared Tuna Carpaccio, which is pan seared tuna served on a bed of seaweed salad & topped with wasabi mayo dressing.
     Some people say that sushi is an acquired taste. While Joey and I indulge in sushi on a monthly (and sometimes weekly) basis, our friends were amateurs. Jason and Stephanie had never drank sake, and asked a million questions about each menu item. After sampling the Tuna Steak and Tuna Carpaccio (and after an impromptu lesson on how to properly handle chopsticks), Jason and Stephanie are quickly becoming sushi fanatics. Determined to help our friends enjoy the best of the best sushi rolls, Joey and I ordered an M&M Roll, Lemon Roll, Dynamite Roll, and Baked Phatty Jay Roll for our table to share.
    The Lemon Roll consists of cucumber, spicy sauce, and jumbo tempura shrimp, topped with salmon, thinly sliced lemon, and sweet sauce. The sweet lemon flavor of this roll prevails and perfectly complements the salmon taste. A popular choice, the Dynamite Roll includes shrimp, scallop, avocado, crabstick, lump crab, and spicy sauce. It’s deep fried, which makes it a perfect choice for novice sushi eaters. I’m one of many regular customers at OC Wasabi who always order the M&M roll. A melt-in-your-mouth combination of avocado, cream cheese, eel, shrimp, and crabstick, it’s deep fried on the outside and topped with spicy sauce.
    Other popular specialty rolls at OC Wasabi include the Ocean City Roll—spicy jumbo lump crabmeat and asparagus surrounded by avocado; Maria’s Purple Isle Roll—tuna, mango, and avocado; and G Money Roll—yellowtail, scallions, and smoked salmon topped with G money sauce. Best selling appetizers include Edamame (lightly salted boiled soybeans that you eat like popcorn), Miso Soup (soy bean broth with tofu, seaweed, and scallions), and Spicy Mussels. Also, try the Sushi Sampler or Sahimi Sampler for chef’s selection of the tastiest sushi nigri and raw fish slices.
    A combination of rolls and sushi sashimi are available on the Entrées menu. The Locals Favorite dish features spider, crunchy, and dynamite rolls. A Spicy Roll Combo and Veggie Roll Combo are also available. If you’re with a group of like-minded sushi fans, try the Love Boat for Two or the King Boat—huge “boats” brimming with chef’s selections of sashimi, nigri, rolls, and sides.
    Not only is sushi delicious, but it’s generally healthy too. My friends who count calories on a daily basis love to have dinner at OC Wasabi. The restaurant also caters to customers who prefer fully cooked recipes. Kitchen entrées include Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Tempura, New York Strip Teriyaki, Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, and Seafood Teriyaki. Bartender Joe Records recommends the Beef Negimkai Teriyaki—sautéed thinly sliced beef rolled up with scallions and served with steamed vegetables in teriyaki sauce. Yummy!
    By the end of our meal, Jason and Stephanie were asking when we could return to OC Wasabi for more sushi. The restaurant also features a desert menu, and remember to ask your server about daily specials and dishes that may not appear on the permanent menu. Every day at OC Wasabi brings a new treat to the table. Stop into the Japanese restaurant on 33rd Street today and experience the new full service bar. Parking is available in the back. When Kenny shakes your hand, tell him you read about OC Wasabi in the Coconut Times. I also recommend that you try the house sake. Cheers!
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