I first heard about Tsubasa through a few articles on kansas.com. The first one talked about the growing popularity of sushi in Wichita, and included Tsubasa in the list. The second one announced the restaurant getting ready to open, and this time didn’t just mention sushi but also mentioned sashimi and Japanese noodles. So my perception was I was going to walk into someplace similar to Sakura, Hana Cafe or Kanai. I was wrong.
Anyway, Karla and I were both craving sushi rolls/maki. So imagine our disappointment we excitedly looked through the menu, in hopes of sharing three or four rolls, to only find California rolls and tuna rolls. And not even spicy tuna rolls… Since we were craving sushi we went ahead and ordered one of each roll. I asked about making mine spicy, and our waitress said they could only do it by adding extra wasabi in the roll. Not the same. Dang.
We perused the rest of the menu and I decided I wanted to try a soup. And Karla thought the fried Japanese chicken sounded good. So we ordered those right on up.
The service. Oh, the service. OK, we walked in and the server who greeted us did not look happy we were there. Or that she was for that matter. We ordered our drinks and were afraid she might off herself in the kitchen before we got them. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but she definitely didn’t love her job. Or people. She brought us hot towels, which was interesting because I don’t think I’ve ever been brought a towel before. I even openly said, “What are those for?” And maybe she didn’t hear, but I would have gladly taken the lesson. When I asked which soup she would recommend, she hesitated for a moment and then finally suggested the udon soup. When I said, “OK, I’ll take that one then!” And suddenly she perked right up. I realized she was either really insecure being a server (and got a boost of self-esteem from me taking her suggestion), or was really shy and chose that point to ease up. Either way, the service definitely went from about a 3 to a 6 just by ordering udon soup. Small favors.
Our food came out and we decided both rolls weren’t anything exciting. Normally my spicy tuna comes with cucumbers, which gives it a little crunch I like. So without the cucumbers OR spicy tuna sauce, I wouldn’t order them again. They weren’t bad. They just weren’t worth a second order. Karla thought the same of her California roll. Decent, but nothing overwhelming.
Karla also said her Japanese fried chicken was OK, but she wouldn’t order it again or recommend it. On the other hand, I LOVED my udon soup. It was very, very simple. And possibly over-priced for the small bowl. But the noodles were plump, soft and delicious. The garnishes of green onions and what I believe were fried wonton wrappers complimented the soup. I also appreciated the garnishes came on the side so I could add them as I ate and they didn’t get soggy.
We were both fans of the soy sauce pitchers. Very cute. Yes, I just wrote that. But we both wanted to steal them and put our home soy sauce in them. Don’t worry, we didn’t.
Overall, they had a lot of little details that made the place interesting. They did a good job setting up private eating areas with room dividers. When we first walked in it felt awkward, but after being seated it was nice to have the privacy. The warm towels and the cute soy sauce pitchers for some reason stood out. It’s like a lot of thought went into some aspects, but other aspects (like the menu design, the way wait staff approaches you, etc.) were left unrefined.
Anyway, Karla and I both walked out saying, “I wouldn’t come back…” ButI kept thinking there had to be more to this restaurant than met the eye. So when I got home I started looking online for other reviews and couldn’t find any. I finally stumbled upon a “You’ve gotta try it” section of another kansas.com article. And the suggestions were for non-sushi/sashimi dishes. Damn. Why didn’t I read this BEFORE I went? If I go back, it would be to try one of their noodle dishes. After all, I love noodles! There was a special “for summer only” advertisement on the table for a noodle dish I wish I’d tried. Hindsight.
So, my personal review of the place isn’t smashing. And the chances of me going back are slim but possible. If you’ve been and can recommend something, please do and I might give it another shot and post a retraction review. The problem was we found the menu confusing, and our waitress wasn’t very outgoing so she didn’t make suggestions (which is always nice, especially with a new place).
I did like my udon soup enough that I’m going to try to make a similar recipe at home. So, there’s that!
Everything was served on trays like in a lunch line, which didn’t raise the ambiance level. But here you see my udon soup. And just above it the green onions, and just below the fried wonton wrapper garnish. You can also see my tuna rolls.
Close up shot of my tuna roll.
Closeup of my udon soup garnished with green onions and fried wonton wrappers.
Karla’s meal. You can see her California roll. And her fried Japanese chicken, with ketchup. Take note of the cute saucer. That’s the soy sauce. We knew this because the saucers were labeled. Just like the salt, pepper and sugar.
Close up of the chicken.
I saw they had green tea ice cream, along with several other ice cream selections. Upon closer investigation we discovered it was just big containers of run of the mill ice cream, not anything homemade. But we still ordered anyway. My ice cream had a slight freezer burn taste to it.
At the request of Lynds… The soy sauce saucer. I actually took several pictures (yes, seriously). This one was the best. But I didn’t like it enough to post it originally. I guess it’s not fair to give a raving review of something and not post a picture! Does this remind me of Beauty and the Beast?
Yes, apparently it IS Beauty and the Beast! “Well, hello, Mrs. Potts!”