#54 - Wasabi Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro - Tyler, TX

We added Tyler, TX to our list of caravan stops in 2011.  Mary and I had never been there, and the way Coach Wickline talked about Tyler we were convinced we were going to a little podunk town.  So we were absolutely shocked as we pulled into town to find a really nice, good-sized city of almost 100,000 people--twice the size of Stillwater.  They've got tons of restaurants, a pretty nice mall, and a good selection of hotels.  The caravan was at Cascades Country Club.  Again, we were amazed at how beautiful this place is.  The clubhouse is phenomenal (Mary wants to get married there), there's a beautiful lake, and the grounds are beautiful. 

Two years ago one of our donors had taken Mary and I to lunch the day after the caravan and it was really good, but we couldn't remember what it was called.  And last year the same donor had taken me and Pam to a great spot on the water for drinks and appetizers after the caravan, but I couldn't remember what that was called either.  So we hopped on Trip Advisor to find a place to eat.  We finally settled on Wasabi Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro, because, according to one reviewer, "run don't walk" there. 

Wasabi is behind a strip mall, which I thought was kind of a weird location.  If you don't know to look for it, you're never going to see it.  And to me, a unique restaurant like that should be in a place where people driving down the main road can easily see it. From the outside, it looks more like an Italian restaurant than an Asian one, but I guess that's where the "bistro" part comes in

The inside still really didn't have an Asian flair, but I guess that's what they do.  The bar was immediately to the right, and the rest of the restaurant seating was to the left, with a separating wall between the 2.  The tables in the bar area were a combination of short tables and tall bistro tables. In the main dining room, it was a combination of tables and booths.  There's a lot of very interesting artwork on the walls.We were seated in the bar area, which I'm not usually a fan of, especially because the restaurant wasn't very crowded.  But I was tired and just decided to go with it.

We had just had a very light breakfast, so we were starving by the time we sat down.  We decided to start with the jalapeno poppers and potstickers
Crab mix stuffed jalapeno with spicy mayo and unagi sauce
Handmade pan-seared dumplings filled with pork, cabbage & ginger
I've heard that unagi sauce is made of eel, and I've also heard that it's not.  Mary didn't want to try it at all, but our waitress said she could put it on the side so we went with it.  I just googled it, and there is no eel in the sauce (it's just soy sauce, mirin and sugar), but it's very commonly used in eel dishes. 

The jalapenos were awesome.  They had a kick, but  I'm pretty sure all the seeds were gone because it wasn't too overwhelming.  Mary tried the unagi sauce and liked it.  I'm glad we got it on the side, because it could well have been too much on the poppers.  The dumplings were okay, but just your basic standard pot stickers.

Normally I would get sushi in this situation, but I was so hungry I decided to go the main entrée route.

Mary got the Mongolian beef
Thinly sliced beef in a Mongolian style spicy sweet garlic soy sauce with onion
Mary said hers was good, but had way too many onions.  I tasted a bite and it was very good, even with the onions.  The sauce was delicious. 

I got the drunken noodles with a shrimp/chicken combo
Fresh flat noodles, egg, red bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, basil leaves & carrot
My dish was awesome.  I have to be honest that at first glance I was a little disappointed because it didn't seem to have much color to the noodles or chicken.  Yeah, I know that's kind of weird.  But one bite and I was sold. I was kind of surprised that the noodles were broken into short pieces.  But honestly, that made it a lot easier to eat.  With a combo meal you usually don't get very much of any one type of protein.  But there was tons of shrimp and a good amount of chicken as well, which was a very pleasant surprise.  I accidentally got a couple bites of jalapeno, which were left in pretty good-sized pieces and still had some seeds attached, and that wasn't so good of a surprise. 

Will I go back?  Definitely!  We had wanted to go back that evening after the caravan for a glass of wine, but it closes at 9:30 on weekdays.