Kasai Restaurant First Visit
 Wadsworth, Ohio           Date of Visit  03/12/14                http://eatatkasai.com/

Round two number three. We have enjoyed almost everything about Kasai nearly every time we come. One of the things I tend to enjoy is I can try things I haven’t considered before without much fear. Yes, both strip mall sushi and I have come a long way. The only thing that has changed about the restaurant is the addition of a full bar located right next to the very quietly laboring sushi chefs in their dark garb. One of the tvs is tuned to an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and between tasks a couple of them seem transfixed by what’s being cooked on the screen. You must love your job if you watch it while you’re doing it.



They Toil Oh So Quietly

Service, we have learned through multiple visits is hit or miss, efficient or haphazard, friendly or pointedly standoffish. We hit right down the middle this trip. Speaking of something a bit different, Steph tried a new roll and some Donburi while I tried a roll of the new creations paper and the tempura udon. Its just hard to go wrong here. The same salad and soup options as always were followed by two beautiful rolls. Steph’s 3-8-1 roll (which the menu says means I Love Y; I’m not enough of a cryptographer to decipher why that might be true) was loaded with spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber with some tempura crunchiness, plus an additional helping of tuna and avocado layered on top. I don’t know if it loves Y but I really dig this combo.

The new creation was titled Land & Sea. I have never had a sushi roll with red meat…why not? The seasoned rice was studded with cubes of mid rare new york strip, crunchy tempura fried lobster tail, grilled mushrooms, avocado and masago (the roe [caviar] of the capelin fish).


Still Not The Best Soup In The World

I Am Into The Ginger Laden Dressing Though


The Strangely Named I Love Y/3-8-1 Roll

Who Cares About The Name, I Love It


New York Strip Sushi Roll With Tempura Lobster. Surf n Turf Just Got Ethnically Awesome

Roll it in nori and top it all off with eel sauce and spicy mayo and suddenly I can’t believe I haven’t had this before. I will again. The steak was grilled to a lovely mid rare, the tempura held it's crunch from beginning to end, and the combination of the sushi flavors make perfect sense.

The tempura udon noodle bowl had to contain at least a gallon of lightly flavored broth (I like to give it a dash of soy and some of the little bowl of sauce that comes with the tempura [I suppose its for the tempura and not the soup] for a boost…stupid American). The broth contained lots of cabbage and broccoli and the like, plus long and thick strands of slippery noodles. It’s a delicate thing but clean and pure. To muss it up a little there is an assortment of tempura fried items from long shrimp to sweet potato, also lightly seasoned and just barely fried pale, not even golden and far from brown. Even though it sees little heat the panko crumbs still crisp up nicely and the variety of interior items all maintain their structural and flavorful integrity. I wonder if I could consider this diet food?


Just Crispy Random Goodies Are Served Alongside...

An Enormous Bowl Of Clean Happiness


Much More Tasty Than It Looks

The donburi rice bowl was much less attractive to look at. I have heard Gordon Ramsay refer to similar plates as a “dog’s dinner”, but we love our dogs, they eat well, and the rice mix was no different. Something in the bowl had a distinct sweetness and it coats the rice, the chicken and the veggies. There are underlying tones of more umami based ingredients but the sweetness starts the party and lingers long afterward. Add a little richness from the egg and crunch from the veggies

Kasai continues to offer delicious versions of the clean and thoughtful menu items you would expect from a Japanese restaurant. It is a great break from some of the more aggressive and haphazard approaches of many other styles of cuisine. I am definitely more a fan of the sushi at Kasai, but I've never been disappointed in any of their offerings. It turns out the other options are also worth some deviation as well, as is Kasai if you’ve never been.

  Change in Ranking        
  Original Score Which Way? New Score Why For?  
  B = B No change. The service isn't always as good as our first trip but we have strolled all over the menu and found consistently great food.  
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Kasai Restaurant (First Visit)
 Wadsworth, Ohio           Date of Visit  08/19/10                http://eatatkasai.com/

It took me a long time to try this. I’m kinda old and have some anachronistic rules about food. Not the least of which include the following. Don’t eat sushi in Ohio. Don’t Eat Sushi in a strip mall. Don’t take my wife to eat raw anything. And to be certain, Never…Ever…do all of the above. Well friends, sushi, sashimi, and my wife have all come a very long way. So after noticing this little place in Wadsworth years ago I decided to throw caution and my very well being to the wind and break all of the rules. Faux brick exterior, strip mall lighted box sign on the front, darkened windows, Oh My. Stepping inside you instantaneously get a different feel. Dark and richly appointed the interior of the restaurant bestows a measure of faith which requires the leap of faith through the door to see.


Lettuce Wraps

A counter is manned by four darkly clad and gloved sushi cooks busily shaping, rolling, and slicing a wide variety of options from a lengthy menu. The sashimi itself can be viewed in the case atop the counter so you can again take another measure of reassurance from the quality of the products before you order. It turns out we showed up on ½ price appetizer night and the place is packed with a line forming just after we sat down. We tried the lettuce wraps, which were good but not quite as good as the national chain that seems to have made their name by serving beautifully seasoned chicken alongside lettuce leaves and awesome sauces. Still they were good and save us about 20 minutes of drive time. We also tried the shrimp tempura app which was excellently done and delicious.

In the mood for a roll I tried the Mardi Gras roll which has Cajun calamari, avocado, cucumber and is topped with a spicy crawfish. Over all the roll was fantastic with just a couple of hard to chew pieces of squid which were slightly off-putting, but not near enough to not enjoy the roll.

Miso Soup, Never Really My Fav

Salads are Traditional

Shrimp Tempura App is Really Good!
The Box is Like a Present, with Sides

The Box Revealed

Mardi Gras Roll

Steph ordered the red box and although she struggled with the tuna sashimi (her not the tuna) the box also contained salmon, a tasty roll, and black pepper tuna. Now the black pepper coated tuna is seared then thinly sliced and served with daikon radish scallion and honey wasabi sauce. I have to say this dish (also available as an appetizer) is one of the best things I have ever had on a Japanese menu. It’s so good that Steph has talked about it a minimum of five times a day for what has now been over a week. There is no doubt we will return, I have no choice in the matter. Likely we will be there on a Thursday and be ordering six half priced appetizers…all black pepper tuna…well, at least I will probably try something else after a few trips.

Servers are attentive even if not completely well trained and appear to want you to have a good experience. Some are even difficult to understand in a busy restaurant which only adds to the sense that you are getting something authentic-esqe.

Every Meal Ends with a Shot of Sweet Plum Wine




What's Best

What's Worst

  A- B B A+ C B  
        Black Pepper Tuna For Me, Miso Soup
But that's Just Mi, so...
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