Just recently open in the former Hava Java at 258 Water Street, ASA Sushi has hung out its shingle. With the rising tide of sushi restaurants downtown and around the city, ASA (which means “morning” or “sunrise” in Japanese) is primed to set itself apart in a city of spicy tuna rolls.
“This is Vancouver-style sushi from a properly trained Japanese chef,” says owner/operator Spencer Wood.
“It’s modern in its flavours and presentation. We also decided to stay away from the all-you-can-eat route. Often there are quality control issues or cut corners to ensure that all-you-can-eat is profitable. We wanted to go absolutely in the opposite direction by ensuring the highest standard of quality and care in everything we serve.”
The ASA brand has been in Canada for nearly 30 years. “Our executive chef trained in Japan for ten years before opening the first ASA Sushi just outside of Vancouver in Kerrisdale, BC,” says Wood.
“We discussed at length several places to expand the ASA brand. In the end, it came down to Montreal, Ottawa, and St. John’s. I think we made the right choice. The second we got off the plane, St. John’s immediately felt like home. ”
This will be the seventh ASA Sushi in Canada. “We’ve only been open a little longer than two weeks and we’ve had several packed lunch and dinner services,” says Wood.
“Hands down the best thing on the menu right now is the fish-and-chips roll. The roll is served with tempura cod inside and with a number of extra pieces on the side. Perfect for sharing or as a great meal on your own. This has been a popular roll for years, but having access to a fresh local ingredient like this has really made it something extraordinary. ”
“We’ve had local foragers come in and show us plants and fish that are truly native to Newfoundland, if not the Avalon Peninsula,” says Wood. “Cooking locally with ingredients that are sometimes caught or foraged by the team working the restaurant is definitely something to get excited about.”
Coming out of a successful soft launch, ASA Sushi St. John’s marks its grand opening August 1st, when their latest menu will become available in the restaurant and online. “While we don’t have a standalone website, we’ve been using our Facebook page as a launch platform to spread word about ASA Sushi.”
Find ASA Sushi at 258 Water Street and online @ASAsushiNL
I’m just waiting for an NL sushi place to embrace the pun and make a “capelin roll”.