Hotoke~New Brunswick, NJ?
My husband and I have eaten there twice. The food is innovative and tastes excellent. The main problem with the place is the noise level. Like many trendy NYC restaurants, there is a high ceiling and the sound bounces. The last time we went we were seated near the divider between the dining room and the bar and a loud group made talking impossible. We asked to be moved and were given a quieter seat at the other end of the restaurant. Even there it was difficult to talk--but we would definitely go back for the food--but probably pick a week night rather than the weekend
We went there last night and while the food was good enough, it really wasn't anything special. For apps we had the chicken stix (aka chicken satay) and a California King Crab roll, which were both good. We both had the lemon chicken and asked for it "extra spicy" but it was not spicy at all. It also seemed to have almost no sauce on it and didn't have much of a lemon flavor.
It wasn't bad, but it was disappointing and I probably won't go back.
Delicious. Dined there on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I can heartily recommend:
- Shrimp dumplings with Ginger sauce
- Lobster spring rolls
- Calamari crunch
- Miso baked shirt ribs
- Salmon baked in paper
- Seared sashimi
This is one of those places where you must get an assortment of appetizers and main dishes, and share. Don't stick to your own meal or you'll really lose out!
The place is a little noisy on account of the hardwood floors, right angles and no acoustic dampeners, but it's got a great atmosphere and it's not church, after all. The food in general was excellent save the chicken satay which was a bit dry. The service was generally excellent with the exception of one young waitress having a bad first day, but the manager swiftly came back and fixed things. Decent but not great wine list.
Great place. Not cheap, but very good value.
We dined at Hotoke last night. As others correctly note, it is best described as a Budakan wannabe in both menu and decor.
The food is decently prepared - the ceviche was acceptable, the miso black cod with eggplant well prepared, and the sushi passable.
The service however was disorganized and poor. When the hostess seated us she did not provide menus, and then when the server realized that we did not have menus she only gave us two for a table of four. This pattern continued - for example as the server tried to take plates midstream, while leaving empty cocktail glasses on the table for the whole meal. On the plus side, with their disorganization we were not rushed so that they could turn the table.
My biggest complaint was the noise level. The decor was nicely done but there is little to no sound deadening. With a full house and bass intensive music playing is was nearly impossible to hear my dining partners speak.
Overall, given the deep well of great choices in New Brunswick I am not likely to return for dinner though it is a good bar scene.
350 George St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901