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Patti Woods, Your Hostess with the Mostest

Fun and flavor at Wafu

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I had no idea what I was eating. All I knew was that it was delicious.

The first time Mr. EatDrink and I went to Wafu, we really enjoyed it. This second time, we declared it one of our new favorite restaurants. Wafu is the new Asian-fusion restaurant in Southport, where Friendly’s used to be. I was skeptical at first when I heard that yet another sushi place was moving in. After all, there’s no dearth of spicy salmon handrolls in the area. But there are a couple of things that put Wafu in a league of its own. First off, the design. With mirrored walls, crystal chandeliers and a bar that glows in different colors, Wafu is definitely splashy. You’d expect something like this in New Haven or SoNo, but Southport? Guaranteed you’ll have to remind yourself where you are at some point during the meal. Second, the presentation. Sushi is usually always a visually creative food, but here, every dish is unique. The ginger and wasabi arrive in little pumpkin-shaped ramekins. An appetizer may be accented with a giant leaf or a real flower. You can tell that someone has been having fun in at the sushi bar.

The appetizer we had was called simply “Toro One” ($18). What arrived at the table was a hollow globe filled with ingredients in all sorts of shapes and textures. There was a soupy sauce, pieces of fatty tuna, chunks of fruit and a garnish. I went from, “Sure, I’ll try it,” to “That is amazing” in a matter of seconds. I’m not too proud to admit that I really wanted to spoon up the sauce and lick the bowl clean.

Then there’s the sushi. Wafu has a large menu of traditional rolls as well as specialties. All I have to say is, the Crispy  Godzilla ($14) is so crazy delicious you’ll want to order two. The menu describes it as “All kinds of fresh fish from sushi bar with rice, then deep fried spicy tuna on top.” Here’s the thing. This roll has it all. It’s crispy, it’s tender. It’s sweet, it’s savory. There is so much going on in this roll that you don’t need any soy or wasabi. As I type this, I find myself wondering when I’ll have it again.

No worries if you’re not a sushi lover, though. There are plenty of hot entrees to choose from, including my standard favorite, sesame chicken. It’s done the right way here. The chicken is sliced into thin strips (not the scary, unidentifiable hunks you get at some places). The sauce is sweet and tangy and the breading is crisp.

There’s one last thing I love about Wafu. The owner, Elaine Chen, gets right into the mix. You can find her at the bar mixing up a drink or delivering a meal to a table. She’s passionate about her restaurant and it shows. Ask for her if you go. You’ll leave having had a good meal and making a new friend.

Wafu: 3671 Post Road, Southport. (203) 254-2288; www.wafuasianbistro.com

Categories: General

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