UPDATE: June 2012
I revisited Watami 2 times (once for sushi and once for redeeming the latest lunch specials Groupon) and sadly the food quality has deteriorated significantly. It was also very disappointing that they decided to skimp on portion size for the Groupon orders.
Watami is located in the same strip mall as Shanghai Wonderful, in replacement of the old Tokyo Ichiban. I think it's run by Japanese owners since the chefs were speaking Japanese to each other. The place was relatively empty though, considering it was Thanksgiving — a public holiday.
I liked the ambiance and feel. Everything seemed new and clean.
When the sweet potato tempura ($3.95) came, I was very impressed because each piece was cut into the same size and fried perfectly to a golden yellow colour.
In my opinion, the best value items on the menu were the special udon sets. We ordered the curry rice and udon set ($8.95) which also came with a side of kakiage (mixed veggie fritters). The curry was very sweet and mild compared to its Thai and Indian counterparts. It would probably be a good comfort food, and I quite enjoyed it.
The onigiri ($2 each) were quite good as well. The rice was warm and fluffy. I liked the salmon more than the plum. There were large chunks of salmon inside (not just flakes) and the rice was topped with a fatty piece of salmon as well.
We ordered a number of sushi rolls. One of my favourites was the beauty roll ($15) because of the fatty BBQ eel on top combined with salmon, tuna, crab and avocado.
The special mango ($9.95) was also quite nice, but it would be so much better if mangoes were in season. By the way, I'm guessing the chef misjudged the size of the roll when he was cutting because we got 9 pieces instead of 8. I'm not complaining though; at least it felt like we got more for our money's worth haha ;)
The spicy salmon roll ($3.95) and the cream cheese dynamite roll ($5.75) were a bit more common, although I usually see cream cheese paired with salmon instead of prawn. Both rolls were decent, but obviously not as exciting as the beauty roll and special mango.
When it came time for dessert, I was impressed by the presentation and quality of the Watami cheesecake ($6). It reminded me of Ebisu's creme brulee cheesecake because of the thin layer of burnt sugar on top. The cake was very creamy and dense without being too heavy.
Prices were a bit high but still reasonable considering the quality of food. Service was prompt and the ambiance was quite nice. I would most likely come back for casual Japanese eats in the future.