Wakame Sushi & Asian Bistro in Minneapolis

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

With the closure of Three Fish in December, Calhoun Commons’ sunny corner spot has stood empty — that is, until last week. Newly introduced is Wakame, a sushi bar and Asian bistro that, according to the website, “feature[s] both traditional and modern Asian cuisine, especially Japanese.”

As the website states, the menu plays up many Asian favorites and flavors. Curries are listed alongside noodle dishes and stir-fries, most served with your choice of protein, ranging from $10 to $14. Other sea and land entrees, like sea bass with miso, apple teriyaki salmon, whole red snapper, and several steaks, are features on the menu and range from $15 to $27. Of course, there is sushi, the extensive menu listing sashimi, sushi, and signature rolls with creative names like the Minnesota Roll, Excelsior Boulevard Roll, Las Vegas Roll, and Hot & Spicy Girl Roll, to name a few.

Wakame features early and late happy hours on appetizers and sushi, but the best meal deals are to be had at lunch when Wakame runs specials on bento boxes ($9 to $11), sushi ($11 for 1 California roll and 5 pieces), sashimi ($14 for 12 pieces), and rolls (2 for $10 or 3 for $13).

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

For our first taste of Wakame, we visited at lunch and sampled several options. First was the seaweed salad, a light and well-seasoned starter dressed with a toasted sesame vinaigrette. Amongst the many signature rolls, we decided on the Sweetheart Roll — salmon, tuna, and tempura flakes on the inside, fresh tuna on the outside, and drizzled with wasabi mayo. While the roll was a fun blend of flavors and textures, it did not stand out overall as fresh.

A lunch special, a bento box with shrimp tempura, was served with a side salad and miso soup. While the tempura was well-cooked and perfectly crispy, overall the bento box was bland, especially with the apparent lack of any seasoning on the shrimp and in the soup. And while the Ginger Mushroom stir-fry with tofu could have been a favorite dish with its fresh ginger and crisp vegetables, the heavy sauce weighed it down.

Not even a week into service, Wakame still has time to work out some of its new-restaurant kinks. If executed well, the well-rounded and interesting menu could be a promising addition to the Calhoun Commons neighborhood, the main focus of which centers around the usual fast-service suspects of pizza, burgers, and burritos.

Wakame Sushi & Asian Bistro

Asian in Uptown
3070 Excelsior Blvd
Minneapolis, MN 55416
Mon-Thurs 11am-midnight
Fri 11:30am-1am
Sat 12pm-1am
Sun 12pm-10pm
BAR: full bar

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table


  1. Ed Kohler

    There has been a lot of churn at that location over the years. It seems like a spot that could support a restaurant like this. I hope they work things out create a must-visit place for the thousands of people who live within walking distance.

  2. David

    I would say the food is decent, but the service is absolutely horrible. If they are going to survive they really need to work on that. 6 of us dined there today and as we walked in none of the 3 staff sitting at a table nearby greeted us. We were served appetizers without having any form of utensils at our disposal. A dish I had ordered never came, but luckily it was not on the final bill. The pace of service was very slow even with us being the only group in the place at the time, I can’t imagine what it will be like if the have a rush.

    The food is decent as I said. They seem to like using the eel sauce on a lot of the rolls, which I am not a fan of. The rolls themselves are decent, but the larger ones were rolled sloppily both times I visited. The Miso soup is not very good, but that will vary from person to person.

    All in all, I would say it is a decent place to visit. The prices are very high for what you get in some of the meals, but the sushi is a fairly good deal. Unfortunately, after 2 visits and lackluster service both times I will not be visiting this establishment again.

  3. Katie

    We too were not greeted when we came in and waited several minutes for the hostess to make an appearance only to have her wait on people who just stepped in the door. After we corrected her error, she led us to a table in which she apologized for it being “still wet from being washed” when in actuality it was not washed at all as she slid the crumbs off the table. Our waiter was nice and he was embarrassed that we were seated at a dirty table (he noticed without us bringing it up). I ordered the sashimi platter which is supposed to come with soup and salad and didn’t and I had to ask after the entree came. The sashimi was good, fresh and generous in portion. I was given a free ice cream for the salad/soup omission. When we left the useless hostess failed to thank us while sitting there twittling her thumbs. That particular hostess needs to be fired.

  4. Bryan Lambert

    This is interesting – I was just there tonight, and didn’t have any service problems at all, maybe because it was a Saturday night. We were greeted when we came in – twice, in fact, and they waited until the first open table was clean before they seated us.

    If you go / go again, I have to recommend the Anna’s Ika – I ordered it expecting basic fried calamari, and got something very different – large pieces of squid flash-fried with just a hint of a coating, and not rubbery at all.

    We didn’t have much sushi – just the nigiri appetizer, which was fine in the generic way a lot of the sushi in the Twin Cities is fine.

  5. Samuel Roberts

    My experience was really different than most of the postings.

    I visited last week. I really liked it. The atmosphere was cool and perfect for summer, and the lighter, comfortable pallet was a nice break from the already redundant/unoriginal “ultra high-end, classic-but-modern, darkly-lit (Eur)Asian” sushi restaurants in the cities.

    The service was the highlight, and I loved the staff, from begining to end. The hostesses were really nice and got us seated right away, and even opened the door for us when we came in! (That usually only happens when there’s a ridiculously dressed man in a top-hat at the Grill, or a pretentious ass at [insert any now-closed high-end concept restaurant in downtown Minneapolis]). Our table, and the whole restaurant in fact, was spotless. The server was really friendly and read us well, tailoring her attendance to us by balancing her check-ups — she was in touch without being too overbearing, and allowed us to enjoy our convo.

    The food was really good. The presentation was beautiful. The only complaint I have is that there aren’t enough vegetarian options on the menu, but I’m used to that, lol. My carnivorous companion loved her sushi rolls, nigiri, and the crab wantons…and I could only look on, drooling, in envy. Beer on tap would be nice, but we can’t have everything, now can we?

    Contrasting with a lot of the uptown eateries, where being seen at the restaurant is as important as the food at the restaurant, Wakame had a nice laid-back-without-being-sloppy-vibe. It’s the perfect place to relax and have fun without looking like you’re trying to hard…or having to try too hard.

  6. Julie Estes

    I’ve been to this restaurant twice for dinner/drinks and have had a really great experience both times. We had a relatively large table (10-12) the first time and were taken care of in a timely manner, with great service. The sushi was excellent. The seaweed in the rolls very fresh which hasn’t been the case for me when I’ve visited other top sushi restaurants here in town. The second time we ate at the sushi bar and again had great service and food. The ambiance is so relaxed and just cool. We will eat there often. Oh, and the happy hour prices are amazing! A great way to experience sushi for a low price.

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