I’m going to start off by saying that I am obsessed with sushi and for a landlocked city, the sushi scene in Kansas City is surprisingly strong. I tried to sample three different restaurants based on price to see if the best sushi was also the most expensive sushi. In my life, I have seen that the more expensive food is typically better, and this principle applies to sushi. Bob Wasabi hurt my wallet the most but treated my stomach the best out of the three restaurants.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant
7474 Nieman Rd
Shawnee, KS 66203
Sakura was swamped for an out-of-the-way sushi place. From the sushi bar, you could hear the cheers at the back of the restaurant as the hibachi chefs were shooting flames into the air. I was tempted by the tantalizing smell of the hibachi, but I came for the sushi.
I sat by myself at the sushi bar, which features a mechanical train going around the bar carrying small plates of sushi. Any of those plates can get grabbed by anyone with no need to order anything, which is the setup I favor because people have more options to experiment. My waiter informed me of their pricing system, which is based off two plate colors. The blue plate being $2.60 while the green plate is $3.05. The price is based on what type of sushi is on the plate. As the headlights of the train rounded the corner of the bar for the first time, I became excited.
During my trip to Sakura, I grabbed three types of plates off the train. I grabbed a blue plate of tuna nigiri, which is sliced raw meat over rice. I also grabbed a green plate of daikon radish topped by beef sashimi, which is thinly sliced raw meat, with a jalapeño slice and a tempura shrimp roll. My favorite of the three was the beef sashimi plate. The soft piece of beef sashimi combined with the spicy jalapeño slice made for a sharp aftertaste which was spicy but not overwhelming.
The other two rolls were average at best, but just didn’t do it for me. The tuna nigiri plate tasted mediocre but it had an awkward, soft texture that is not normal for sushi. As for the tempura shrimp roll, it had some appealing features, such as being fried, but overall wasn’t tasty. Typically I like anything that is tempura-fried, but the fried batter of the shrimp didn’t make the shrimp taste any better which caused the whole roll to be a little off.
My experience at Sakura was highlighted by average sushi and the mechanical train. For the little amount of money spent, you get solid sushi, but nothing special. Sakura would be a good place for families with young kids to introduce sushi to them because of the train and the cheap prices. However, this is not a place for sushi snobs.
7660 State Line Rd
Prairie Village, KS 66208
Despite its plain look from the outside, Jun’s was far from a hole-in-the-wall quality sushi place. As I walked in, I was seated in less than a minute, which is always nice. I wandered past the sushi bar where the chefs were cranking out roll after roll. The dim lighting and soft music added to the overall ambiance as calm and soothing, perfect for a nice meal of sushi.
I decided on three choices, which were the crazy roll, the dynamite roll and the hamachi roll. These caught my eye because hamachi, which is yellowtail, is one of my favorite fish and because I love when tempura is incorporated into sushi.
After about 15 minutes, all the rolls came out at once packed onto one plate with all the rolls smashed up against each other. My favorite of the three rolls that I ordered was the dynamite roll. It’s a tempura-fried, three fish blend of yellowtail, salmon and tuna that mixed very well with the spicy sauce it is served with. The sauce lived up to its name but was not overwhelming with the taste of the fried fish perfectly balancing it. The initial bite was a pleasant mix of crunch and spice, which made it my favorite.
The other two rolls that I ordered were average. The hamachi roll, which consisted of yellowtail wrapped in rice, tasted boring to be frank. The crazy roll, which had a tempura-fried shrimp tail, spicy tuna all wrapped in a dull pink piece of soy paper. While the crazy roll was tasty, it was outshined by the dynamite roll. The crazy roll had the best appearance though, considering that some of its ingredients were piling out of the top of it, including the fried shrimp tail.
Jun’s left me with a with a full stomach and a happy mood. It was priced very fairly ($21 for 20 pieces) and for the most part I liked their sushi. This is the place for people new to sushi to experiment with what they like and don’t like as far as sushi goes. I would suggest Jun’s to anyone looking for a solid sushi place, but isn’t willing to pay the big bucks.
Bob Wasabi Kitchen
1726 W 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64111
Although I spent a good 20 minutes looking for a parking place, I was seated at Bob Wasabi Kitchen within two minutes of arriving. Those 22 minutes were well worth it because the sushi was fantastic. Bob Wasabi is a traditional sushi place fused with a modern dining establishment. Classic American music played in the background while waiters hustled by. All of the chairs and tables had a vibrant style, in addition to the presentation of the food.
I had no problems at Bob Wasabi whatsoever. In fact, I had the best sushi roll I have ever eaten in my life, which was the TNT roll. The TNT roll is a tempura-fried roll with spicy tuna, hamachi and salmon, topped with spicy mayo, sriracha and spicy chili sauce. Imagine sriracha sauce without as much kick mixed with the sweet taste of chili sauce for a second. That is what the sauce tasted like. Some things are just indescribably good, and the TNT roll is that good.
The other two rolls that I ordered didn’t disappoint either. I also tried the tuna nigiri, which was tremendous. I don’t know what they did to it to make it so much better than the tuna nigiri at Sakura, but was way better. I think it was so much better because it was fresher. The last thing I ordered was called hamachi kama, which is broiled yellowtail collar. I went off script a little bit and ordered this non-sushi dish. It was awesome and showed the all around quality of the menu. Even though they are known as a sushi place, they can also make other dishes just as well. The meat of the dish fell right off the bone and melted right in my mouth.
All of the dishes at Bob Wasabi Kitchen impressed me, and I would go back in an instant. The ticket price here was north of $50, but the sushi was well worth the cost. Bob Wasabi Kitchen is the best sushi place in Kansas City as far as I am concerned. If you are a sushi snob and haven’t gone to Bob Wasabi Kitchen, it should be at the top of your list. Overall, Bob Wasabi hurt my wallet the most but treated my stomach the best out of the three restaurants.