By Maureen Werther
Larry Zhao and Danny Lin are co-owners of a new restaurant in Saratoga Springs offering sushi, sashimi, teriyaki and stir fry food.
Wasabi, located at 63 Putnam St., is offering an upscale version of “all you can eat.”
Unlike Asian restaurants that offer pre-made, buffet-style items, Wasabi has differentiated itself in a few important ways. People who come to dine are seated at a table and given a menu. They choose their selections and give them to the server, who brings unlimited quantities to them for a fixed price. Nobody has to get up from their table and serve themselves in a buffet line. All food is freshly prepared to order.
Zhao grew up in the Capital Region, graduating from Colonie High School. From there he went into the restaurant business. He came to Saratoga seven years ago and was the owner of Izumi, which occupied the same location on Putnam Street where Wasabi is now.
The building went through a facelift before opening as Wasabi. So did the menu.
Zhao’s new business partner, Danny Lin, is also the chef and was responsible for the redesign of the menu and the new additions. Lin comes to Saratoga from Manhattan, where he was a chef at several upscale Asian restaurants.
Wasabi opened in May and Zhao said business has been excellent. He has seen some customers return two or three times in the same week.
The restaurant has a full bar, large indoor dining area and a large outdoor dining space that Zhao expects to be packed during the summer season. He estimated the restaurant seats up to 120 people and the bar area can seat 25.
“This is definitely an upscale, New York City-style, all-you-can-eat experience,” said Zhao A formal grand opening is planned for later in the summer.
Wasabi offers a fixed price all you can eat option for both lunch and dinner. There is also an ala carte option for people who do not wish to use the all-you-can-eat option.
The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 4:30-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday for dinner. It stays open on Fridays until 11 p.m. They are open Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday 1-10 p.m., serving “all day” dinner on both weekend days.
Zhao said Wasabi is already doing “two to three times better” than Izumi did when it was open for business.
For more information, visit wasabisaratoga.com.