Archive for the ‘good eats’ Category

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Aki Sushi

April 12, 2008

We tried Aki Sushi last night, and our initial impression is this: great selection, real good quality! When they gave us the warm towels to wash our hands, they were real, terry-cloth towels! Not too many places do terry cloth these days. They were very warm and felt great on the hands.

When it came time to order we didn’t select an appetizer at all, we simply ordered the sashimi and sushi love boat as well as two special rolls figuring that would be enough to fill us. The Sahara Special had eel tempura, avocado inside, spicy salmon, tempura crunch outside. The Beauty Roll had spicy yellowtail, mango, tempura crunch inside, tuna and salmon outside. Both were very tasty and generously sized. I don’t like skimpy rolls. :)

The Love Boat consisted of 20 pieces of fresh sashimi, 10 pcs. of yummy sushi, tasty eel dragon roll and lobster salad roll. (photo at right is just a stock photo) The boat was attractively presented in addition to tasting great. I honestly can’t believe we ate all of that food, but it was simply delicious and we couldn’t help finish it all. We were quite full when we left, that’s for sure. I wanted to try a dessert, but I realized I just didn’t have the room for it.

In summary, as people who have tried dozens of (run-of-the-mill) sushi places around the area, we really enjoyed Aki Sushi. The decor doesn’t particularly “wow” you, but they have booths and tables alike. No hibachi tables! if you want cooked food, it’s made in the kitchen.

We recommend sushi lovers to definitely try them out, they are one of the better sushi restaurants in the Bayshore area.  4 out of 5 stars.

Aki Sushi
436 Route 36 (in the Super Foodtown strip mall )
Port Monmouth

732-471-8811

Monday-Thursday 4:30-10:00
Friday 4:30-10:30
Saturday 1:00-10:30
Sunday 12:00-9:30

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Dine Downtown in Red Bank in April

April 1, 2008

As Red Bank Green so eloquently reports, The Red Bank River Center is sponsoring Dine Downtown, a restaurant promotion in cooperation with 16 downtown dining establishments that feature prix fixe menus (ranging in price from $15-$35) on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings throughout the month of April.

This may be an excellent opportunity not only to try a restaurant I’ve never been to before, but perhaps make it an official Bayshore Friends gathering! Please post if you’re interested, or better yet… join Bayshore Friends and let us know there!

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Oishi Sushi – Hazlet

March 5, 2008

Oishi Sushi Japanese Restaurant, Hazlet NJ

My fellow food blogging enthusiast Dani swears by it, so I figured it was high time we checked out Oishi Sushi Japanese Restaurant in Hazlet.

Overall, I’ll have to say it was pretty good. The only area of concern was the service – it was a bit slower than we would have liked. Sure, it was a Friday night after all, however the dining room was far from crowded. It appeared they could have used another server.

sushi platterAnyways, my special rolls (Everything and Jungle) were fantastic. His Fantasy roll and salmon special were quite delicious as well. The only thing I will have to remember in the future – and this is possibly anywhere – if it says “BBQ” on the menu: don’t order! The BBQ squid appetizer I ordered was entirely too spicy hot for me. So he ate most of it since he can handle the hot stuff.

Regardless, I’m definitely putting it on the “to go back to” list.

3.5 stars out of 5. Simply for slow service.

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Cafe de Thai, Matawan

February 10, 2008

I enjoy Thai food. Unfortunately, due to stomach issues, I must eat the mild selections. Though my palette enjoys the spicy stuff, I pay for it later. In any case, I have wanted to try Cafe de Thai (on Route 34) ever since I moved up here. For some reason, the combination of French and Thai food sounds like a winner. And many of my Chowhound compadres have had good things to say about the place. So I convinced the man that we needed to take a break from the sushi this evening.

First impression: it’s a cute place. The decor, while basic, exudes a certain coziness. The lights were dimmed, which lent an air of simple romance.  So, it was more French, than Thai in that regard.

Had I been in the mood, I would have gone next door to Wine Nation for a bottle of Riesling to accompany the meal, but we simply had a pot of hot green tea and some water.

I started with the Tom Kha Gai soup, which was quite good and hit the spot. It came in a generous bowl. His first course, Maryland Crab Cakes, he found to be tasty.

For my main course, I had the Chicken Pad Pak. It was your run of the mill pad pak, nothing to rave about, but certainly good. His grilled shrimp came with a scoop of wild rice and a green salad. He said were good.

I saved room for the Pumpkin custard, which was just as good as my fellow Chowhounder raved about. It was the perfect, not too sweet ending.

Overall, nice place, decent food. I’d like to go back to try the French side of the menu another time.

3 stars.

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Shogun Legends, Wall Township

February 7, 2008

In our neverending quest to try all sushi joints in Central NJ, our travels took us to the new Shogun Legends on Route 34 in Wall Township. It is owned by the same people who own Shogun Bey Lea in Toms River.

Overall, it’s quite nice. The decor is contemporary and elegant, and the big aquarium is quite the eye-catcher. The main dining area downstairs is big, and there is a nice bar area as well as private party room. We dined downstairs (by the sushi bar). I wanted to go upstairs to check out the hibachi area, but perhaps another time.

I started off with the savory sesame noodles. They were good, nothing spectacular, but tasty. He had the 8 piece sushi appetizer. I forget what was all included, but it was 2 each of 4 varieties. One, however, was some sort of scallop roll in seaweed – it was very, very good.

For my “main course” I had the Pa-Pa Dragon roll – eel, tuna, avocado, with a honey walnut in it and caviar on top — very unique, very yummy! I also, simply, had an eel roll. He had the Flaming Heart roll – which for the life of me I forget what was in that – and a plain Philadelphia roll. No complaints from him.

While we still think Kanji – and Ichiban – are tops, Shogun Legends is definitely good enough to warrant a return visit.

3 stars.

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Sushi Bento

December 16, 2007

Like usual on the weekends, we just had to have our sushi fix! The only difference this time is that I actually didn’t feel like dining out! So we decided to order from the new Sushi joint on Main Street – Sushi Bento!

Not having written down their number when I drove by last week, we decided to just walk in and order our take out. It’s a quaint place with one large table (that seats about 8 not so comfortably) in the front and another table towards the back (that seats 4). There are also some stools at the sushi bar and in the back. Decor is typical Japanese with paper lamps and umbrellas, and pictures depicting Asian scenes.

While we waited we were offered some hot tea on the house, which we graciously accepted. We struck up a conversation with the server/cashier, who introduced herself as Kim. She was very polite and, after having asked my man of his nationality, we learned that she, and the owners/chefs are also Korean. I noted that while we were certified sushi lovers, we felt there was a need for real Korean food in the area. She gave us some great suggestions in the Edison area.

As our food was being prepared and bagged, she asked if we would like some kimchi on the house! Naturally my man is not one to turn down kimchi so he said “Sure!”. We were also given complimentary California rolls just for waiting. How nice!

Here’s what we had:

  • House salad & miso soup (1 for each of us)
  • 1 order appetizer Sushi (5 pieces)
  • 1 order Age Dashi Tofu (deep fried tofu)
  • 1 order Sashimi regular (10 pieces)
  • 1 order Diamond roll (inside: crab meat, avocado & cucumber; outside: salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and masago)
  • 1 order Dragon roll
  • 1 order “No Name” roll (inside: eel, cucumber, masago; outside: avocado)
  • 1 order Philadelphia roll
  • 1 order California roll (as noted above)
  • small kimchi (not on the menu, so I’m not sure if they always have it)

Yes, that’s A LOT of food! We definitely had leftovers today. Anyways, ALL of that for only $55!!!!! The price alone was enough to wow. All rolls, even the special rolls, are under $10. All dinners are under $12.95. The most expensive item on the menu is the “Sushi Bento Chef’s Special” and you have two choices: A. $45.00 and B. $90.00. Not sure what all is included in that… but I can guess it’s enough to feed a small army.

But, you ask, how does it taste? Overall not bad at all. We’ve certainly had better and most definitely had worst. I’d say it’s your run of the mill sushi. But for the value, convenience, and most definitely the service, I’d say it’s a good deal! So if you’re looking for good sushi at a good price, seriously consider Sushi Bento.

They also offer FREE DELIVERY on a minimum $20 order. I’m sure we’ll be hitting that up some time.

Sushi Bento gets 4 out of 5 stars! Especially for value and service!

Here’s the lowdown:
Sushi Bento
129 Main Street
Matawan, NJ
732-290-0110

Hours:
Monday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm

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Aligado Japanese & Thai

December 11, 2007

After our shopping excursion on Saturday, I decided it was time to try Aligado Japanese & Thai Cuisine in Hazlet. We were promptly seated in the back by the sushi bar.

Our server, who was polite, took our drink order and rushed off. In a short amount of time, he returned to bring our drinks to us. He gave us a few minutes to mull over the menu and then swung by to take our order. He seemed rushed and it appeared he had quite a few tables. I believe there were only 2 other servers working that evening. I could be wrong, but I only saw 3 total.

Anyways, I had ordered a simple house salad and he ordered the Yellowtail Amazing. This is when things got a little testy. In a few minutes my house salad came out, but his Yellowtail Amazing was no where to be found. I waited a few moments hoping it would make its way to the table, but alas it hadn’t. I apologized for starting without him, and started to nibble away at my salad. Several minutes went by and, finally, his appetizer was delivered along with the special rolls (his main course) that he had ordered! My 2nd course (Holmdel roll) had also been delivered at that time as well, which was good because I had finished my salad and was ready for more.

He was not pleased at all and was sure to tell the otherwise polite server that his appetizer should have been delivered earlier. The server had apologized and rushed off to his other tables. As I have noted in past reviews, it’s, like, our biggest pet peeve to NOT have our appetizers served at the same time. We don’t care if one of us orders hot, and the other orders cold. It should be timed that not one of us is eating before the other!

It seems a lot of places can’t get this right! *sigh*

The delivery of my main course, Pad Thai, was a bit off as well. I had finished my Holmdel roll and waited several minutes for the Pad Thai to come. By that time, he had finished with his main course (his special rolls) and I was left being the last eating.

Despite the disorganized service, the food was rather tasty. No complaints at all there! But when you’re spending $60+, I think service needs to be coordinated as well as polite.

3 out of 5 stars. For quality of food alone.