Kushi-age (Japanese deep-fried skewers)
I've been getting my fill of yakitori lately at Sumiya and Sumika, but being satiated on the grilled front got me craving the deep-fried skewers (kushi-age) we love in Japan. I am not a big fan of the kushi-age at Saizo, since I think they are too heavy and the oil seems to soak into the crust too much... Rokko's also doesn't cut it for me for very similar reasons...
I was pleasantly surprised at how good the kushi-age at Sushi Yoshi in Newark. It seems rather strange that the deep-fried items at a sushi restaurant is so good, but they have the perfect combination of crunch, body, and light crispiness to their breading. The juices from each bite blends beautifully with the faint sweetness of the oil. The combination of these skewers and Kirin Ichiban melted my work stress away.
Die-hard kushi-katsu lovers, beware, though. This is chicken kushikatsu, not pork or beef - the two main schools of kushikatsu in Japan.
When I asked Yoshi-san about the kushi-katsu, he told me that he really, really likes deep-fried stuff, so he tries to do it the way he likes it. He followed the kushi-katsu with Ebi-furai (deep-fried jumbo shrimp), which was also better than many ebi-furai in my home-town of Nagoya, which is famous for ebi-furai. With just the right amount of breading and timed to cook to crispness while maintaining the moist shrimp inside, I was very happy with this item, too (even though it wasn't skewered...).
I wonder if more of us tell him his kushi-age is good, he'll expand his kushi-age menu. We really don't have a kushi-age shop in the area, and that would definitely be a welcome addition...