I was driving down King Street in Waterloo the other day with Cate when we passed this place:
“Cate! Look! Was that there before?” She couldn’t remember seeing it. Nor could I. That’s cause it just opened last Wednesday ya’ll! New shushi bar in Waterloo= instant curiosity. I called and made reservations (you don’t have to! I just wanted to make sure we’d have seats!) and then tried to keep from bursting with excitement.
We went for dinner, and it wasn’t busy, but I’m guessing that’s because they’re brand freakin new and not too many people know about it. A few facts:
- This Watami is the second one of its kind. The first was in Toronto. Jen blogged about her experience there at Passion 4 Food.
- The menu is completely a la carte and everything is made fresh to order.
- Many of the waitstaff, chefs and other workers are also co-owners. They’re all friends who pooled their finances to start the Watami chain after moving to Canada from China and it’s been a great success for them all.
- They came to Waterloo for their second branch when they noticed the lack of high-quality sushi around here. I find this sort of funny.
- The food and the service are the best we’ve (Kitchener-Waterloo) had so far. Honestly, Watami is going to become serious competition for all the established players around here and I can see them seriously driving up the quality of sushi in this region. We left a 25% tip despite the fact that my food took ages to arrive- it was that good.
- Oh yeah. Watami is expensive, but entirely worth the price. Plus, they give a 10% discount if you show your student card. Still, I’d relegate it to a “special occasion” place while you’re still dropping several grand every 4 months. Unless you get their soup & salad meal, which is between $11-20 for a good portion of lunch or dinner and significantly more affordable if you’re addicted to the stuff.
Now, on to the resto!
The first thing you notice when you walk in is the fireplace by the entrance.
You guys, this place is nice. Like, impress-a-first-date-with-how-good-your-taste-is nice. It’s quite roomy but still cozy and it’s all classy dark colours with art on the walls(!) and rainbow origami geese all around that the waitstaff make together(!!). I snapped some pics, but look at them after you finish reading this!
The one thing I didn’t like about Watami was that I smashed my face into the door in a way only I ever could. I yanked back hard on the door and then walked forward only to realise that their front door is extremely heavy and as hard as I had pulled back, I hadn’t actually opened it all the way…so yeah…make sure the door is open before you try to talk through it.
We (Cate and I) reserved seats in front of the chef, and we watched him work his art. Really, truly, it was art that was being made. At Watami, if you order a dragon roll, it comes to you shaped like a dragon. Seriously!
Look at the little wasabi eyes and the pickled ginger snout!
Look! His mane is made of lettuce!
Shrimp ears! Shrimp ears!
I also saw a rainbow roll presented as a flower and some cool looking wooden boat thing that made me want to change my order.
What we ordered:
Inari, on the left, and tamago on the right which Cate got. Apparently, tamago is an indicator of the skills of your sushi chef. Cate loved it, indicator test passed. She had and enjoyed a few other little things like edamame, but I forgot to take pictures.
I had the soup and salad meal, which came with miso. So did what Cate ordered actually, but I may or may not have drank both our soups. Don’t hate on a girl for liking miso. So two bowls of soup, multiple cups of tea and a salad later, I was already kinda satiated by the time my sushi came (nearly 25 minutes after I ordered it!) but it was so good I om-nom-nom’d my dinner anyway.
It was delicious. Be jealous.
It came with an umbrella! How festive, right?
There were 2 servings of these 6 salmon and tuna rolls for a total of 12+ 6 california rolls. 18 pieces of sushi for $12+tax ain't bad!
It was heaven in bite sized pieces. And it was cool in temperature on my pallet. As much as I love sushi, I can’t quite get over the raw-seafood thing. So I find it comforting when my sushi comes to me fresh and cold as opposed to the lukewarm/room temperature stuff I’ve come across at other places that has me saying the Lord’s Payer before bed that night.
Also, dessert. Ice cream, natch. I obviously got mango (I always order mango ice cream in case you didn’t know, because it’s the best ice cream flavour in the world) and ate it all up before I remembered to take a picture for you guys.
All in all, I had an awesome experience here. Our waitress was so nice we exchanged Facebook deets before I left and the food was so good I took a take-out menu with me. With the decor, the value vs. prices and the quality of food, I’d say this is the best sushi place in KW so far. I’m already looking forward to going back. Watami makes me really wish my mother liked sushi, cause this is the perfect place to bring your parents when they come into town to visit you and you want to take advantage of their willingness to feed you properly. Good sushi is a nice break from Kraft Dinner and cramming for exams.
A note on the sake, as this is a a sushi and sake bar afterall. Their liquor liceence hasn’t actually come in yet, so there is currently no sake to be had. BUT for all you peeps dining with your parents, or are already of legal drinking age, they should have it before the end of the year. Doesn’t that make you so happy?