This Lakeview sushi bar by Henry Chang, owner of the teeny, minimalist pan-Asian hotspot pingpong
right across the street, prides itself on serving the absolute freshest fish. And with daily flown-in deliveries and a Nuevo-mountain lodge design motif complete with woodland mural, potted pines and dark, fiber-covered walls, it gets the fresh-from-the-stream message across as loud and clear as the '80s dance music coming through the sound system.
Wakamono's menu hews mostly to traditional maki and sashimi offerings, with several signature rolls livening up the list, such as the Oedipus Roll, a combination of salmon, avocado, spicy sauce and cucumber topped with salmon roe and wasabi mayo. The Wakamono roll pairs lightly seared tuna and salmon with tempura shrimp and spicy sauce, resulting in a smoky, barbeque-y flavor.
A whimsical counterpoint to the traditional sushi is a small-plate "Japas" menu: tapas-style Japanese dishes such as golden-crisp shitake mushroom ravioli with pork and shrimp and yellowtail ceviche with lime, jalapeno and cilantro. The flavors are fabulous, though at around $6–$12 a pop, I'd prefer heartier portions. Then again, as evidenced by the numerous diners packed into Wakamono's 30 seats on a Monday night, people clearly don't mind paying a little more for an extra helping of scene with their sushi.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Emilie Zanger