I admit, I’m something of a foodie and so I’m always looking for interesting restaurants to check out. One of my recent finds was a great sushi place called Wabi-Sabi, in Petersburg, Virginia. A small town in central Virginia might not seem like the most likely place for awesome sushi, but don’t let the location fool you. Wabi-Sabi is a first-class establishment that rivals many big city sushi bars. It’s one of those places that’s extremely popular with the locals and is gradually drawing customers from the nearby Richmond metropolitan area.
Located at 29 Bollingbrook Street (less than a mile from Interstate 95) Wabi-Sabi makes a convenient lunch or dinner stop if traveling in the area by car. Besides the food, the building itself is worth a visit – it’s a 200-year-old former private residence and has been beautifully restored and decorated with work from local artists. The restaurant’s minimalist atmosphere also perfectly suits its name. Wabi sabi is the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in commonplace objects or things that have been pared down to their essence. The decor reflects this “less is more” aesthetic by using antique, found objects and retaining much of the original interior of the building. Keeping with this Zen-like theme of the main dining area is a series of large paintings that adorn the walls – each depicting gorgeous, serene images of koi fish. This tasteful decor can be found in every room of the building, including a martini lounge that features live music on weekends and a casual bar on the lower level that’s perfect for an after-dinner drink.
Of course, the food is the main attraction, and Wabi-Sabi has an eclectic mix of dishes. I’m an old-school sushi fan, so on my last visit I ordered the Wabi Roll ($8.75), which consisted of lump crab, avocado, cream cheese, kanpyou (a type of gourd), and topped with crunchy wasabi peas.
Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a photo of my plate, but the presentation was perfect and I highly recommend it. While the Wabi Roll was excellent, I almost regretted not ordering the Tempura Spicy Tuna, which my server, Carolyn, raved about. If traditional sushi and sashimi are not to your liking, you have many other choices – including a wide range of tapas-style items, as well as salads and favorites such as crab cakes and salmon filets.
Whether you live in central Virginia and are looking for a new sushi place or just passing through, check out Wabi-Sabi. While you’re there, take a few minutes to stroll around the nearby Old Towne section of Petersburg, which features many historic buildings as well as a variety of shops and art galleries.
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