Spinning in its own distinctive orbit, Austin’s Mars has created a stylishly multicultural menu, with Middle Eastern, Pacific Rim, and Mediterranean cooking styles all getting their due. This grilled salmon in a velvety sauce punched up with Japanese horseradish demonstrates how the small, trendy restaurant makes culinary worlds collide. Owner Georgia Coleman says that the sauce, invented by executive chef and co-owner Tim Kartiganer, is “hot, but clean enough for you to taste the salmon.” When Kartiganer tosses seasonal vegetables (lightly steamed, with a glimmer of butter) into the mix, the planets are definitely aligned.

Soy-Wasabi Sauce

5 tablespoons wasabi powder (available at Asian markets)
3–4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sake (available at liquor stores or Asian markets)

Stir together wasabi powder and just enough water to make a very thick paste. Set aside for 20 minutes. In medium bowl, whisk oil into egg yolk gradually, a drop at a time, to make a thick mayonnaise. Then add wasabi mixture and whisk in remaining ingredients. Makes a scant cup.


4 5 1/2-ounce salmon filets, skin removed (can substitute king salmon for Pacific salmon)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Lightly brush salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook on hot grill to desired doneness, 5 to 8 minutes on each side, depending on thickness of filet.

To serve, pour a layer of soy-wasabi sauce on plate, then place salmon on top of sauce.

Serve with rice and fresh steamed vegetables, such as artichoke, green beans, asparagus, summer squash, or red bell peppers. Garnish with pickled ginger (recipe below) or dried seaweed. Serves 4.

Pickled Ginger

1/2 cup fresh ginger, sliced paper thin with vegetable peeler
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Stir all ingredients together in nonreactive stainless steel pan or glass saucepan and bring to a boil. Let mixture cool to room temperature and chill overnight. (Pickled ginger keeps for several months in the refrigerator.)