As much as New Yorkers claim to hate it, the fact is that we all end up in Midtown at least occasionally. Despite its merits (events and concert venues) and unavoidability (jobs/internships), the area is plagued by a lack of quality dining options. This winter, Wasabi Sushi & Bento is trying to change that. After building a loyal following in and around London, this UK-based venture has finally come stateside with a new Times Square outpost. With big, bright decor to match its surroundings, the new location has been packed since day one with everyone from workers to tourists filing in for sushi and bento boxes.
While it includes all of the UK-favorites, namely individually wrapped sushi and bento boxes, the menu at the New York location has been modified to fit with local trends and tastes. In keeping with the current ramen trend in New York, Wasabi’s owners worked to create a special recipe that is served only at the new Times Square location. Although it lacks flavor, the ramen has a pleasant touch of spice and is perfectly satisfying on a cold winter day. The sushi, while wrapped in plastic that seems wasteful and troublesome for hungry diners, is surprisingly flavorful and reasonably priced. In addition to classic tuna and salmon nigiri, the spicy tuna and individually wrapped rolls are among the best and most popular choices.
Despite its name, Wasabi has plenty of options for vegetarians and the raw fish averse. In addition to a large selection of teriyaki bento boxes, there are also a variety of cold salads that are labeled “green” or “orange” and available either individually or as part of a combo. With prices starting at $2.95 for an individual item, these salads are a great opportunity to experience more of the Wasabi menu.
Still less than two months old, Wasabi has already become a hit with the demanding New York lunch crowd. With good quality, reasonable prices and a commitment to sustainability, the new location is proving to be a great launching pad for the chain’s US expansion.
Address: 561 7th Ave (at 40th)
Hours of Operation: Daily 10:30am to 10pm