Tex Wasabi’s | Santa Rosa

Monday, May 16th, 2011

“Have you been here before?” asked every server, hostess and employee who dropped by our table — and there were many — at the reborn Tex Wasabi’s in downtown Santa Rosa.

The mantra comes with the instant answer, “Doesn’t it look great?” followed by the staff pointing out some new feature: The super cool fish tank upstairs, the new bar, the new layout, the new hostess station, the new menus.

You only get one chance to make a second first impression.

After being shuttered for more than 18 months, Guy Fieri’s flagship Tex Wasabi’s in downtown Santa Rosa reopened Tuesday (5/17/11).  The restaurant closed in 2009 after a faulty sewer pipe ruptured, causing severe water damage. As crews began renovations on the old building, more damage surfaced and more repairs were needed.

The interior is transformed for the better, with a more diner-friendly layout — more restaurant seating, the bar moved further back and the sushi station tucked closer to the kitchen. The vibe is as amped-up as you’d expect a Fieri restaurant to be, with lots of lights, music and action all around. And, let’s just be frank about this…the place smells a heck of a lot better than it used to.

Cowboy Burger

On first blush, the food is on par with the rest of Fieri’s restaurants. It sounds really fun, it’s got lots of wacky, spicy ingredients and appetizers are king. It’s Friday night food that goes down best with a 64 ounce “bowla” mojito.

You pretty much can’t go wrong with anything fried, the Asian green beans rock, the barbecue sliders are actually pretty solid, Guy’s bottled barbecue sauce is really tasty and the burgers (we tried the Cowboy, with pulled pork atop a Snake River hamburger) are safe bets. Guy’s favorites are noted on the menu (usually solid picks). The sushi is worth skipping altogether. Especially the one with the barbecue and fries inside — yeah, not nearly as fun as it sounds.

My take: Considering all the hubbub, Tex Wasabi’s is what it is. It’s fun and loud and silly and very Guy. Go for drinks and appetizers and burgers and barbecue sliders and you’ll likely leave with a smile on your face.

Tex Wasabi’s: 515 4th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401


Guy Sighting? The opening comes on the heels of Fieri’s launch of a new cookbook/biography Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It Filled with recipes and personal anecdotes, it’s already climbed to #186 on Amazon.com. Fieri is expected to come to the restaurant’s grand opening sometime in late June or July.

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. SORRY Guy is an A@#. and his restaurants all such if you want good food go to the City there is Jardiniere.Waterbar. IF you want to go local then go to Cyrus in Healdsburg or the French Laundry in Yountville. But, most Sonoma County had no idea what good food is anyway. So yes Guy’s food is mmmmmmmmm good for the average Joe.

  2. What a dipstick….. The place is exactly as advertised. Its hard hitting, good food and great fun. Go to Aqua in the City if you want an “experience”. Gezzzz

  3. I decided to give Tex Wasabi’s a try and was very disappointed, The chicken was dry and had no flavor, my potstickers were ok but they were cold and my sushi was horrible !!!!

    I felt like i wasted my hard earned money !!!

  4. I went to the old Tex Wasabi’s. I tried the sushi which was horrible, you can get better sushi at the grocery store. The servers were nice and the service was quick. I did not try his other offerings but I would of thought that he would of dropped the whole sushi thing.

  5. I heard Guy did an episode of “diners, drive-in’s and dives” at the Broken Record in San Francisco…

  6. Thank you, Heather. Upfront, I have yet to visit Tex Wasabi’s since the re-opening, and previous visits weren’t memorable enough to make me a loyal fan. Besides, IMO, restaurant openings, especially re-openings, generally have a staff-led, sis-boom-bah atmosphere best avoided. That said, the online menu still has items that my family and I have enjoyed in the past, so we will return after the proverbial bugs are worked out.

    While celebrity co-owner and local booster Guy Fieri’s televised tips on how to cook healthy, economical meals are infrequent, and won’t put him in the same league with Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution, he deserves related kudos nonetheless. Yet, IMO, it is irresponsible to our community at large to offer quart-sized beers and alcohol-mixed drinks in half-gallon bowls. Yes, we all realize the $27 bowls are meant to serve two or more, but emptying it can encourage overconsumption and result in compromised safety when driving home.

  7. QUICK QUESTION: How much of the stated $1 million dollars that he reportedly spent on the “renovation” was actually put back into the local Sonoma County economy, ie: did he use a 100% Sonoma County labor force and did he use 100% Sonoma County bought supplies (construction, furniture, fixtures, equipment, etc. vendors) for this recent renovation? H m m m m m . . . . . Anyway, DDD & Big Bite are for the most part pretty entertaining shows, but “Minute to Win It”, LOL, watched it once, more like an “hour to sour” but hey you can’t do everything right, so maybe he just needs the dough to keep everything else afloat? Have not been to the “New & Improved” Tex Wasabi’s but am hoping that this time it will live up to it’s “Flagship” namesake as his other restaurant does not represent Santa Rosa very well, probably going to wait a bit until things level off a little to give it a try as most “new” spots are way over staffed and way over managed. Only time will tell Mr. Ferry . . . . . you have had a “week to tweak” so let’s hope it goes “strong not wrong”,

  8. Visited Tex-Wasabi’s on Friday.

    The beer was cold, the employees were friendly and quick to respond, the decor is a vast improvement.

    I only tried the sliders and tacos and truth be told they were a bit Applebees-ish but I had a nice time and I am going to return which is something that didn’t happen in my one previous visit to the old Tex-Wasabi’s.

    Good vibe to the place and a welcome return to downtown.

  9. I have never gone wrong with Heather’s recomendations. So when I saw the new TexW’s reviewed I was eager to try the experience again (-minus sushi, since that had been mentioned as something to forego). I had eaten there before the closing so I was looking forward to a new experience. I must say that I have a hard time understanding what the 18 month closing did for the place, but oh well. Moving on to my recent experience. I found the items that we ordered with the pulled pork delicious. My disappointment does not come from the food, it comes from the staff and the atmosphere. I don’t particularly mind loud atmosphere if it contributes to the experience. I lived in Japan for 8 years and one of my favorite sushi bars was loud, but it was mostly a display from the staff, which made a good show for the customers. In Tex’s case it is just loud obnoxious noise, and it seems for no particular reason other than to be loud. I could have even lived with that, but watching a waiter sweat profusely then wipe it away with his hand the same hand that will touch the next drink or plate, is extremely gross to me. I was also bothered when the person who was to take our oreder informed us that we would have to wait for a menu or have her read it to us. And then there was the how many waitresses does it take to get a guy the drink that he ordered event happening right in front of us. Someone ordered a drink and had sent it back for some reason, all of a sudden it took 5 waitress to assess the situation while the guy sat waiting. My experience of the New TW’s is that it still needs a lot of oraganization, it needs to refine it’s atmosphere, and it needs to take a hard look at the wait staff. I would have thought that 18 months was enough time to iron out these kinks.

  10. I was surprised when the reviewer said to skip the sushi altogether. It was always so good. When I heard the menu had changed I panicked b/c I love the Hidden Chicken and Jackass rolls. My parents and I went to Tex Wasabi for lunch today and I was thrilled to see my ol’ favorites still on the menu! The Hidden Chicken roll and Jackass roll are not at all what they used to be. Tasted just okay. Glad now I didn’t order the Rainbow roll b/c that really has to be done right. My Dad ordered the Pork Slyders and said it was just okay. Those used to be GREAT. After waiting all this time for Tex to reopen, this is really disappointing.

  11. The jist of the comments is that the reality does not match the image.

  12. Luke, You are obviously a fruit ball if you are on here putting people down. Guy is a Badd A** and represents the eclectic tastes of sonomans Some like a neighborhood restaraunt and bar. Applebees isnt for everyone. Let the public decide if they like Fierri’s restaraunt by going there and supporting him or not. I love TEx wasabis cause my girl can get sushi and i can get bbq. we both can drink and be welcomed. So Luke……..wait for it……….just shut up and chill out!

  13. Thank you Heather!

  14. Thank you for finally shutting the crappy comments down! I am really saddened by all of the immature and incorrect comments being made. I was at the Tex Wasabi opening and had a great experience. I enjoyed great friendly service, amazing food and enjoyed the new atmosphere. The restaurant was very clean, not too loud, and I actually had the best tri-tip sandwich I have ever had. I am not a sushi fan at all and cannot comment on it, but if you are looking to have some great BBQ it’s worth giving a try. I do not think that it is over priced and I would go back for more if I lived closer.

  15. Thank you!

  16. Officially done with idiotic comments. From here forward, I’m deleting with abandon. It’s maddening to see how immature, small and petty we can be as a community. Damn.

    If you have ACTUALLY eaten at Tex Wasabi’s feel free to have an opinion, good or bad. We’re just rehashing old ground going on and on and on about personal opinions about Guy.

  17. One more thought to all the people who say the food is crap. The JG’s in Windsor is packed every Fri.-Sun. Places that serve crappy food are not packed full with people. I think the food is pretty good for the price. People have no idea how much it costs to run a restraunt. It’s just Guy that is…..unpleasent in my opinion. You never hear people criticizing the owners of Stark’s, Willy’s, Traversos, other popular restraunts…I think when you package yourself in an extream way you open yourself up to be criticized.

  18. WOW!! I was really hoping to read actual comments from those who have gone to the new opening! Seems only one person who commented actually tried the “new” place. I also agree with Ann – go out and pick up some trash or something! I wanted to hear how the newly re-opened place was…. not all the old trash about the old place.

  19. I, like, totally agree with Anne. and I’m all… jk. lol. Actually just checked out the new Thai (ish) restaurant arount the corner on Mendo right next to Puerto Rican joint… talk about yummy. And happy to share their love of food. Fresh summer rolls rocked, lamb kebabs with seasonal veggies grilled to perfection. These guys are rising stars.

  20. Why all the bitter words? I have to wonder if it is the way he comes across? He is so loud and obnoxious. Not someone you would really want to hang out with. I think if he toned himself down a lot he would be more palatable. And by all means if he would buy a bottle of brown hair dye and loose the jr. high gel/spiky look I think he would be so much more enjoyable to listen to and look at.

  21. Don’t go it you don’t like him or his restaurants. Pretty simple. Take the energy you are using posting negative, mean comments and go pick up trash in your neighborhood or something.

  22. The vibe is great, the drinks are great! It was a great hangout spot for a drink after a long day at work-I’m glad to have this place back!

  23. This place rocks!! The food was great before and even better now – if that’s possible. It was a too long of await for them to reopen but now they are back. The place looks great and so is the staff. We are so lucky to have them back at the downtown location.

  24. Brandon, incorrect, he co-owns the place with a partner. Not sure where you get your information from. As for the food, God, it really is terrible. I am sorry. Guy is a stuck-up jerk, and there is not way around it.

  25. Wasn’t impressed with TW last time I dined there. Johnny Garlic’s is terrible too. Overpriced. Service reminds me of fictional Chotchky’s… “Would you like to start out with a strawberry lemonade? Jalapeno poppers? or our extreme fajitas?” Food no longer that garlicky. Also… many many runors about Fieri’s booty grabbin and other questionable treatment of females. No thanks.

  26. What about it, exactly, is so sad?

  27. How is he a bull$%@& artist if he is that wealthy and that famous? Do you think the execs at FN and the THOUSANDS of supporters of his are all stupid?

    He has NEVER claimed to be a world-class chef or anything like that. He is an entertainer. THAT is why he is famous. He is a brilliant entertainer who, it just so happens, knows a little about food and what people like.

    I agree with Pie Fee-eddy- it is not the chefs or restaurants that make us fat. It is our own lack of self control and respect for our own bodies and our health that make us fat. I bet you are one of those who think that guns alone kill people- not people with guns kill people.

    And, judging by the responses in this thread, the real “sheeple” are folks like you. Folks who are ok with the norm- the norm simply being to trash others because they have something you probably never will- a life…

  28. Sounds like the same bad restaurant. Even Biteclub says skip the sushi. Why does he even call it Tex-Wasabi??????????

    Just turn it into an Applebee’s, same quality food.

  29. This is great news for santa rosa!

  30. Congrats to Guy and everyone there. Haters not withstanding, this is a good thing!

  31. lol the sysco truck is never a good sign! I would have them drop off a block away and send a bus boy with a hand truck to go get the stuff!

  32. wow…I know it’s been raining alot and people are a bit grumpy but hey you guys…stop with all the negative stuff. Guy does contribute to our local community and he is a very entertaining fellow. Like the saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all. Now, lets get out there and enjoy the SUN!

  33. This is one of the sadest news I’v herd in a longe time.

  34. “blaming Guy for my misery??”

    I couldn’t be happier I’m one of those who can smell a bull@!## artist from miles away. And he is without a doubt one.

    In fact, I pity those sheeple who respect this faux “chef.”

    Have a great time in the flock!

  35. Americans make themselves fat by refusing to exercise. Americans make themselves stupid by refusing to think for themselves and by refusing to take responsibility for themselves. But go ahead and blame Guy for all your misery, if it makes you feel better.

  36. Amen! We also have the total power and freedom to *exercise*, and not one single “resto” in this land is preventing any of us from doing that. It’s actually a really simple formula: the more you exercise, the more you can eat with impunity! Sounds like a winning combo to me…

  37. The place looks pretty nice. I’m going to give it another shot. Last time I was there, the place was filthy , especially the bar and bathroom. Hopefully the staff can keep the place CLEAN

  38. To blame ANY restaurant or person for “making us fat” is ridiculous. We have the power to order what we want, and also to control our portions. When I eat at JG’s, one dish lasts me for 4 meals, because I don’t gobble down what is put down in front of me, which is clearly far too much food for one person in one sitting. I believe in low carb, so I order the Cajun Chicken Alfredo served over veggies rather than pasta. I take responsiblity for what I put into my body. Please stop blaming the restaurants.

  39. In case anyone misconstrued, I *like* Guy Fee-eddy. I think he’s quite entertaining, and I’m proud of him. I wish him only success. I watch either “Guy’s Big Bite” or “Triple D” almost every day. [I also like “Gal” Fee-eddy (Anne Burrell).] If anyone’s going to bash Guy because Tex Wasabi or Johnny Garlic isn’t five-star Michelin food, then they’re missing the point, which is that Guy isn’t pretending to be five-star Michelin. He’s not putting himself out there any more or less than exactly what he is. Here’s to Guy!

  40. To answer your loaded question: No, we don’t dislike him because of his “success” (entertaining uneducated Americans who know nothing more than mediocricy) or the fact he gives back to the local community (huge tax write-off incentives and free publicity he’s getting for “giving back to his community”), we dislike him because he’s making Americans more fat and stupid with his gimmicky crap food and imagery.

    Check him out in this video being the good modest felllow that he is:


  41. Johnny Garlics is a multi-owned company….he owns Tex by himself.

  42. Actually, Brandon, Fieri already did a Triple D show @ Johnny Garlics in Santa Rosa. I was there for the taping….

  43. Whoa! Lots of Guy Fieri haters on here, huh? What’s the deal? Is it just that he’s successful? Or, is it the fact that he gives back to our local community both through charity and publicity that bugs you so much? What a bunch of sour pusses.

  44. i honestly have no idea. I find all the animosity to be tiresome. We’ve hashed it out a million times. Click on the “More Restaurants Tagged Guy Fieri” at the end of the post and you can follow the bouncing bitterness.

    Word is that Guy won’t make an appearance there tonight or anytime soon due to his book tour. At least that’s what I’m hearing. I think we all get that he won’t be in the kitchen. that’s been the status quo for years.

    On a related note, the book is kind of nifty. I don’t have any of the others, but i was pretty intrigued by this one. Not sure about the recipes, but the whole vibe seems less “manufactured” than some of the previous FN ones. Gives some touching personal insight into the Guy behind the “Guy”. A friend said, “Wow, I’m bet he’s actually proud of this one.” — if that’s any indication.

  45. Heather, I get the impression that your readers do not like or appreciate Guy Fieri.
    I wonder why that is? Is it because he is a local made good? Or is it because of his lack of culinary expertise and experience?
    What some readers may not realize is that the food service industry is not usually possible with only one person involved. It requires the input of many individuals. I seriously doubt that Guy Fieri is going to be involved in the day to day operation of the restaurant let alone be the Chef.
    Guy may have input regarding the menu selection but I doubt he will be the Chef in presenting these meals on a day to day basis.
    So why the animosity?
    Are Santa Rosan’s so jealous that they can not be happy for the success of one of their neighbors?

  46. mac’s Reuben is my kryptonite. man…you’re the second person to push my mac’s button today. mmmmmmmm. reuben.

  47. barf food? come on. at least be clever.

  48. what did you expect Heather..

  49. more barf food.. where is the food trucks when you need them.. i will only go to Macs.. evrything else downtown tatse like it come from a microwave..

  50. Really? This is the caliber of conversation? Sigh.

  51. Sewer pipes – yeah that food always did go right through me…. 😉

  52. Barf more bad food for downtown. Ruptured sewer pipe can explain the weird flavor in the food.

  53. I can see the SYSCO truck pulling up now!

  54. Let us not forget about Steve Gruber. He truly is the half that runs the show.

  55. Pie, if he were to showcase his OWN personal Restaurant on an episode of triple d, it would be one of the LARGEST cases of shameless self promotion. It isnt the “Guy’s Personal Restaurants” show, it is the showcase of the mom and pop’s who can still make it through the recession.

  56. First it was water pipes and now sewer pipes? He probably didn’t want his place associated with a sewer problem again. A job that size is hard to keep under wraps. It will be nice to have them back.

  57. He should film the re-opening for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, right?

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