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OC Wasabi
Written By: Jenny Samuels
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OC Wasabi
OC Wasabi
Stop into OC-Wasabi this week and meet the friendliest staff in town.
OC Wasabi
Celebrating Kristi Kruger's birthday are: (l to r) Ginger Nicholson, Jenny Samuels, Lyndsey Robinson, Kristi, and Natalee and Todd DeHart
    I am one very lucky girl. On Tuesday night, I had the privilege of sampling the most delicious sushi at my favorite restaurant, OC-Wasabi. Located on the oceanside of 33rd Street and Coastal Highway, it’s the only Japanese restaurant in Ocean City serving up fresh sushi. Many locals agree it’s the best in the world! In addition to creating delectable dishes, OC-Wasabi is staffed by the most fun and friendly locals you’ll meet. When I entered the dining room with my gorgeous dining companions, Kristi and Jill, I was thrilled to see Nick’s handsome face greeting us. He led us to a table in the middle of the restaurant where Jenny welcomed us and asked for our drink order. Congratulations, Jenny, on your adorable baby bump!
    Like many Japanese-cuisine restaurants, OC-Wasabi is set up so that patrons are encouraged to meet and socialize during the dining experience. Indeed, at the table next to ours, we recognized our favorite bartender from Shenanigans, Christian, and at the table in the corner, we spotted several staff members from Fish Tales. No doubt, OC-Wasabi is the spot where locals go to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and the ever-elusive night off from work. Chefs Kenny and Yo often send out complimentary, fresh daily specials for tables to share. And, of course, the Sake is always flowing. A casual establishment, OC-Wasabi invites patrons to flip-flop through the door after a long day at the beach. It was rainy and chilly on the night that my friends and I stopped in, and we were so excited for some healthy comfort food.
    The first course we ordered was Miso Soup. Soybean soup with bean curd and scallions, it is full of flavor and satisfying to the last spoonful. Plus, it only costs $1.50. Seafood soup is another affordable menu option, and salads at OC-Wasabi include House Salad, Avocado Salad, and Seaweed Salad. I suggest the Tuna & Avocado Salad, which is avocado salad topped with seared tuna and a spicy ginger dressing. Yummy. Some tempting appetizers on the menu are steamed shrimp dumplings, fried pork dumplings, and edamame—green soybeans. Spicy Mussels is a must-try appetizer. It seems like every time I visit OC-Wasabi, at least one person at my table orders the dish. Two more satisfying starter dishes are Spider’s House, which is soft shell crab tempura and vegetable tempura, and Seafood Kushiyaki, which is broiled seafood on skewer with teriyaki sauce.
    Our table ordered one of Kristi’s favorite appetizers, Tuna Carpaccio—pan-seared tuna with a wasabi mayonnaise dressing. Kenny also kindly presented us with Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura with crushed ginger and Baby Octopus Salad—a scrumptious blend of seaweed salad with baby octopus. (Note: OC-Wasabi’s menu is surprisingly easy to read. If you’re unfamiliar with sushi dishes, never fear, each Japanese-named menu item is described in English.)  Fortunately for me, Jill is a fine food connoisseur with a wealth of knowledge of recipes and ingredients. “Tofu and seaweed are so healthy for us,” she explained as she sipped on her steaming cup of hot tea.
    The sushi rolls at OC-Wasabi are phenomenal. I highly recommend the Cowboy Roll, which is shrimp tempura and eel, and the Dynamite Roll, comprised of shrimp, scallop, avocado, crabstick, and spicy sauce. Other flavorful rolls on OC-Wasabi’s menu are the Maryland Roll—crabmeat and asparagus, the Ichiban Roll—spicy scallop and shitaki mushroom, and the Rainbow Roll—cucumber, avocado, crabstick, tuna, salmon, and flounder. The M&M Roll is Kristi’s and my favorite item on the menu. A concoction of avocado, cream cheese, eel, shrimp, and crabstick, it is deep-fried and melts in your mouth. We ordered one M&M Roll, one Voodiu Roll, and one Coastal Roll—spicy salmon, cucumber, and tempura chips. Soup, appetizers, and three rolls are much food for three ladies to share, but that didn’t stop Yo from treating us to more of his succulent creations. A beautiful display of shrimp tempura with eel and avocado, his Dragon Roll is so pretty we almost didn’t want to eat it. Jenny also brought us the Ocean City Roll—spicy jumbo lump crabmeat, asparagus, and avocado, and the Crazy Rockin’Roll—tuna, salmon, and avocado.
    The chefs and servers at OC-Wasabi treat customers like gold. The owner, Kenny, makes it a point to sit down and converse with patrons and friends. In fact, several of the specialty rolls are named in honor of local celebrities. Comprised of crabstick, cucumber, avocado, and tuna, the Killa Roll is named after a bartender at the Bearded Clam. Paying homage to a talented, regional musician, the Kevin Poole Roll includes crabmeat salad and yellowtail. A delicious blend of asparagus, avocado, cream cheese, and white tuna, the Phatty Jay Roll is named after the owner of the Sahara Café. And, of course, the Chuck Webb Roll—a concoction of cucumber, cream cheese, crabstick, smoked salmon, and eel—pays tribute to the Seacrets bartender and number one celebrity at OC-Wasabi. Chuck even has his own chair, complete with a nameplate, at the end of the raw bar.
    Local celebrities aren’t the only customers who visit OC-Wasabi. Famous faces (like Orlando) are rumored to make appearances too. When you arrive at OC-Wasabi, park your car in the back lot and you’ll admire the hallway of local photos that leads you to a clean, exotic aquarium and the welcoming dining area.
    Sushi A La Carte —like white tuna, yellowtail, salmon, eel, crabstick, shrimp, octopus, rockfish, and much more—and Specialty Rolls complement OC-Wasabi’s irresistible Entrees menu. The Ocean Sushi Deluxe is chef’s selection of ten pieces of delicious nigiri sushi and one california roll. The Sashimi Bounty is a selection of thinly sliced fish and bowl of rice. Sushi Sashimi Combo is five pieces of nigiri sushi, one tuna roll, and five kinds of sashimi. Roll combination orders are also available as entrees. Perfect as a carryout order for parties, The King Boat is chef’s selection of sashimi, 15 piece nigiri, california roll, spicy tuna roll, and cowboy roll. For diners who want something other than a brilliant creation from the raw bar, kitchen entrees include Chicken Teriyaki, New York Strip Steak, Filet Mignon, and other beef, seafood, and chicken dishes. Clearly, OC-Wasabi offers something for everyone.
    After socializing with our friends, eating mass amounts of sushi rolls, and consuming questionable amounts of sake, I couldn’t resist polishing off our meal with one last order—banana tempura. A deep friend banana with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, it is sinfully delicious. Jill, Kristi, and I would like to send a special thank you to Kenny, Yo, Jenny, Nick, Peter, and everyone at OC-Wasabi who made our Best Bites experience go down in history. Carrie and Alex, we hope to see you there next time, which will be very soon. OC-Wasabi is open from noon to 11 p.m. everyday, and their lunch is wonderful. Call 410-524-7337 for more details or to place a carryout order.
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