Top-rated Japanese restaurant and sushi bar Suehiro of Old Town Fort Collins recently underwent a makeover. Suehiro is now Wabi Sabi, a modernized Japanese place with the same owners and a focus on shared plates with its redesigned menu.
Wabi Sabi, could be considered one of the higher scale sushi destinations in Fort Collins. It’s less suited for a casual lunch than it is for a night out or a bit of a splurge. If you’re looking for a relatively cheap, quick bite, Wabi Sabi is not where you want to be. If on the other hand you want more of a dining experience with creative cuisines, then you’re in the right place.
As a fan of the original sushi destination, I accidentally stumbled upon the reopened Wabi Sabi the weekend before school began. Hearing that it was still under the same ownership, I was more than willing to give it a try.
Aside from the noticeable improvements, ranging from a full wall mural, elevated plating presentation and screens displaying the work of the sushi chefs in real time, another factor that captured my attention was the pricing on the newly released menu.
While Suehiro had a slightly more student friendly menu with items such a Nigiri combination with roll, which ran around $30 and could potentially be shared, Wabi Sabi’s focus on elegant shared plates seems to have resulted in a jump in pricing.
A handful of items from the old menu remained, such as the surprising Kobe beef sliders as an appetizer and several of the roll options, but the new menu focused more on high-end entrées, small plates and individual rolls. The Facebook page describes the intended new style as a progressive combination of “Tapanese” and Japanese steakhouse.
We found it surprising that when we asked the waitress her preference between two rolls she wrinkled her nose and said that she preferred the Vegas Lights because the Dynamite was from the old menu. New is always exciting, but why do away with the classics?
We ordered the Tuna Tartar to start with, followed by the Vegas Lights roll. While both were indeed delicious, the portion size for the tapas-style Tuna Tartar did not quite feel worth the $12 price tag. It was well-seasoned and accompanied by a few wonton and seaweed chips, but was not large enough to be shared between more than two people. A complimentary miso soup and cucumber salad with a light acidic dressing accompanied the meal, but that did little to curb the appetite.
The Vegas Lights roll was very unique, delicious and creative. It was filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, tempura avocado, spicy krab and topped with an apple coulis, soy glaze and spicy tuna. It was even adorned with sweet potato chips for a showy presentation. It had a sweet and spicy tang with layers of flavor ranging from smoky to umami.
For two people, these dishes were not enough for a full dinner, so we added the cleverly named Eating Nemo roll to our order. This was also quite good, but the description failed to mention the abundance of lemon; thin slices of preserved lemon also topped the salmon on the roll that was filled with krab, avocado and cucumber. It was drizzled with a wasabi aioli, which added to the zesty zing of the lemon flavor. I enjoyed it, but it was more of a personal preference; I could see it as a less popular choice because it doubled up on bitterness with lemon and wasabi.
Wabi Sabi is a tasty destination, but in terms of Nigiri options, pricing, and portion sizes, I would have to say I preferred the former Suehiro. However, there is still a Suehiro destination in Front Range Village on Council Tree Avenue.