Upclose shot of fresh wasabi, spicy salmon rolls, egg nigiri and salmon nigiri at Wasabi House. (Photo: Laura Oakley)

Wasabi House great addition to Halifax sushi scene; not fit for the student budget

New sushi restaurant opens in former Spartan and Louly's location

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Wasabi House, the newest addition to the Halifax sushi selection is a quick walk from campus, but the price range may be too steep for students who like to eat sushi on a regular basis.

The new restaurant is located on the corner of Quinpool Road and Oxford Street, where the former Spartan restaurant, was once housed.

The place was about half full when two classmates and I arrived on Wednesday, only its third day in business. We were greeted right away by a friendly server, who was full of knowledge on the restaurant's happy hour and other promotions.

I haven't been in the building since it was the Spartan. The inside has been completely made over to have an all-black interior, black tables and benches, along with a visible black sushi bar. Several round red and white lanterns hang from the ceiling. It looks nice; I think it would be very intimate at night, when the sun goes down and the tables are candle-lit.

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The "sushi lunch" plate at Wasabi House. (Photo: Laura Oakley)



We were informed by our server that their debit and credit systems weren't up and running yet, so it was cash-only. The restaurant offers a 10 per cent discount on cash payments.

We ordered a big pot of green tea to share, which came out quickly.

A few minutes later, I ordered the sushi lunch, one of a few specials on a one-page lunch menu. The sushi lunch consists of one piece each of salmon, shrimp, egg and white fish nigiri, as well as three pieces each of kappa (cucumber), California, spicy salmon roll. I subbed out California roll for avocado. Our server let me know she wouldn't be charging me extra for the substitution, which was great, as every other sushi place in town does (and I have an aversion to Cali rolls). The sushi lunch is $11.95, and doesn't include anything but the sushi.

There were also two maki roll combinations, either two rolls for $10.95, or three rolls for $14.95. Aside from sushi options there were several stir-fry and salad items available in the bento box combinations; three items each, ranging from $8.95 to $10.95.

The full dinner menu was also presented to us; an extensive list of higher-end Japanese cuisine that looked enticing.

We waited about 35 minutes for our three sushi plates (all off the lunch menu) to come out. This was noticeably a long wait, especially with the restaurant only being half full and there being so few seats to begin with. However... it was only their third day open, and they brought us complimentary miso soup, which was delicious.

Once the sushi came out, we forgot all about the wait. It looked fantastic and was presented on long rectangular, white flatware.

The rolls were obviously made with skill, they were rolled tighter than I've ever seen in Halifax, and the fish was lovely and fresh. My white fish nigiri was like butter. We were all very happy with our selections. They also threw in their freshly made wasabi on the house, which I had never seen before… it looked sort of like relish, and was not as intense as regular wasabi paste, more subtle; we all enjoyed it.

Once the bill came, with the 10 per cent cash payment discount, I had a pretty affordable lunch. That along with the fact there is a bento box option as low as $8.95, it might be possible for a student lunch every once and a while. The dinner menu definitely didn't offer anything in the student budget.

We left satisfied, very full of sushi, pleased with the friendly service, and almost forgetting about the long wait.

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