There's a new sushi restaurant in northeast Columbia that's quickly become our favorite. It's called "Wasabi," and it's in a little mini-stripmall on Hardscrabble Rd. about a mile north of the Hardscrabble/Clemson intersection. The guy that runs it is apparently the former owner of Saki (later Saky, but never "Sake," for some reason) out near Fort Jackson; he goes by "Papa-san," and he definitely learned a lot about sushi over the years.
The interior decor bears no indicia of the Ben and Jerry's franchise that used to occupy the space; it's dimly lit, with the obligatory aquarium or two, and soothing string music in the background.
We've been three times thus far, and have been thrilled with the quality of the fish and its preparation. I'm a junkie for spicy tuna rolls, and the ones here are the best I've ever eaten. He adds a little cilantro to the tuna and chili, and the tuna itself doesn't appear to be the scraps of a more sophisticated order. The chef did a great job of highlighting the freshest and most flavorful choices for our nigiri, and the staff brought enough other complementary stuff (edamame, salad, soup, a couple of gyozas) that we had trouble finishing it all. In short, we're definitely fans, and hope that enough other folks will start going to as to ensure Papa-san will be slicing and dicing there for a good long while.
Wasabi Sushi Japanese Cuisine
4561 Hard Scrabble Rd, Columbia, SC 29229