Wasabi House is a Pynchon character writ large, a Benny Profane or Nathan Levine of an eatery, cut off from the world of hip, and largely not caring. You can tell from the moment you get inside, because otherwise the outside is white, safe, sane, and seemingly just another ultra sanitized Dunwoody eatery. Inside,  however, the differences strike you, and you can see the real character of the place: the twisted bamboo pole on which a blue cloth Mount Fuji separates the kitchen from the rest of the restaurant; the mirrors on the walls, the plain plastic booths, and the only really good seating, in the middle of the sushi bar, right before the square hole through which you can see the chef cook.

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This is not a place for the squeamish:

“The inside of this place needs some serious revamping– it is mega depressing and dark and old yucky wood everywhere. Its dingy and icky.”

Yes, if it weren’t for the whitewashed outside, this would be a true hole in the wall. But, like true hole in the walls, there are some food bargains. Yakitori for $2? Where does that happen in the Atlanta Japanese food universe? Another Yelp writer, WaiLing C, writes with much less revulsion and a lot more insight:

“I would highly recommend the Godzilla, Dragon, Tuna Avalanche and BiBimBaps.  Yes, they have Bibimbaps!  This place is owned by Koreans.. go figure.. what isn’t owned by Koreans in Atlanta..  But they make some meannnn sushi.”

Other comments are also worth noting, this one from Emily R:

“I usually only get the spicy tuna chirashi.”

Chirashi sushi is worth noting anywhere. Bai bai little dynamite roll, you’ve just been pwned.

Being a “I’ll eat the sushi last” kind of person, I had the nabeyaki udon. And guess what? It arrived in a genuine iron bowl. Yes, and it was tasty too, with tempura, chicken, beef, and shrimp mixed in with the udon noodles.

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I couldn’t help eyeing the flying fish roe as I ate and so asked the sushi chef if he could make a couple for me. They’re smaller than some I’ve had but I wasn’t complaining at the time. I was on a minor high after having watched my food cooked, watched the bowl being prepared, the grey in the chef’s hair, his baseball cap, the nifty use he made of ordinary tools, such as ice cream scoops.

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I enjoyed this place. I like eateries that are, to quote BuHi, “comfortable in their own skin.” It’s not going to please someone who needs an exquisite tea house ceremony of an eatery, but for those looking for value, I’m sure it’s to be found here. Further, I’m equally sure this is the kind of place that appreciates it when you noisily slurp down your noodles.

Down sides: There are no ‘to go’ menus, no web site. You can’t find out online if your particular Japanese specialty is being made here. Service is pretty laid back. If you need it, you have it, but the staff might slip to the back and start doing homework on laptops. The lack of a web site is perhaps their biggest drawback. The fact they have inexpensive Japanese dishes other than sushi will draw in a crowd of Asians and people who have lived overseas.

Verdict: Inexpensive Japanese foods in an informal environment. Highly recommended.

Wasabi House
5500 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 804-8400

Wasabi House on Urbanspoon

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