For my friend Audrey's birthday we tried a new place I had heard about called Wayne's Sushi. The restaurant consists of a funky single room that is located in Shilla BBQ on Sahara next to the Palace Station, and is run full time by a sociable Hawaiian man named Wayne. I'm sure the place has a regular following, as it is impossible not to make friends with Wayne while you're there, as well as any other customers that come through the door. He is truly hospitable, and you can tell that he loves what he does. His website is worth going to for laughs ("the friends" page is my favorite) and you'll learn there that the restaurant doubles as a karaoke bar, whenever a customer feels like singing. We were offered the option but respectfully refused, as we were not having sake at one in the afternoon. Wayne also takes requests, if you feel like watching a singing chef.
As soon as we sat down he brought us a little dish that had his own version of sunomono (pickled cucumber salad) as well as pickled bean sprouts. Both had great flavor and a touch of heat, but I just fell in love with the interesting sprouts. Though we were sitting at a table, we shouted our order to him over the bar, starting with the Cajun Ahi Salad (it's a one man show and the place is tiny). This addictive dish ($14) consists of Cajun rubbed ahi slices beneath a bed of mixed field greens and onion slices, and is dressed in Wayne's Ninth Island Asian Caucasian dressing. Though it was slightly overdressed and a bit pricey, the flavor was terrific and I loved the addition of crunchy cashews. We had a hard time choosing which rolls to get, but after much deliberation and instruction from Wayne (he told Audrey not to get the one she wanted - weird since they're all his creations) we settled on the Da Buggah Ono ($8, eel, jalapeno, crab, cream cheese and asparagus prepared tempura style with no rice) and the Mikey Mikey ($14, soft shell crab, shrimp tempura, and spicy tuna topped with spicy crab, avocado, and ahi). The former had great flavor but the tempura got too soggy from the muddy colored sauce and the latter was tasty, but very filling and similar to what you can get at other sushi places. Mikey, after whom the roll was named, was sitting at the sushi bar so I suppose we were sort of forced into getting that one. I have to say that I prefer the rolls at Sushi Fever, but I'd like to give some others on the menu here a shot.
We also had the black cod, or miso butter fish, appetizer ($8) and a side of chilled asparagus with Sum Young Gai sauce ($4). The fish was really flavorful (true to his slogan, "it's all about the flavor") but was previously frozen so the texture wasn't ideal (I much prefer the Black Cod Soy at Sen of Japan on Durango and Desert Inn). The asparagus was light, refreshing, and perfectly cooked, and went well with the creamy sauce. Then, as if we needed more food, he brought us complimentary baked oysters, which was generous (I should mention there were three of us so you don't think I'm a total pig). These were really unhealthy as they were baked with creamed spinach and topped with spicy mayo, but looked beautiful and were delicious (pictured above).
Unfortunately, I didn't get to try any sashimi, which is the best indicator of quality at a sushi place. I don't feel I can give a complete evaluation on account of this, but I was intrigued and entertained enough to go back so I will keep you posted as to what else I try and how it stacks up.
Today's Food Rating: 7.5
Would I go back?: SURE. THE FOOD WAS GOOD, IT'S CLOSE TO HOME, AND I LIKE CHEFS WHO COOK FROM THE HEART.