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Authentic Japanese Restaurants in Central NJ?

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mop312 Feb 15, 2008 06:29 PM

I live in Edison, NJ, but I don't seem to be able to find an authentic Japanese Restaurant, meaning, owned by Japanese people.

Only place that I have known to be Japanese owned authentic restaurants were "Hamakko" (Closed, but used to be on Rt. 27 in Rahway?Metropark?), "Jo-sho" (Cedar Grove Lane - good but over priced), and "Ajian" (which seems to be closed).

If you know what I am talking about: know a place that is owned by a Japanese people with authentic Japanese menu, please tell me!!!!

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  1. wench31 RE: mop312 Feb 16, 2008 05:43 PM

    Sushi by Kazu in Howell, NJ 2724 Rte 9 . Phone # 732-370-2528. Have never been there, though. But, heard good stuff about it. Should call them before you go though. The owner likes to go away for a month back to Japan in the summer.

    I, too, am tired of going to Japanese Restaurants that aren't owned by Japanese people.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wench31
      Barbarella RE: wench31 Feb 20, 2008 06:13 AM

      Kazu is VERY good. Good authentic Japanese food. The owner does go back to Japan and more than one time a year. The resto was closed something like mid December till mid Jan.

    2. m
      mmgpsych RE: mop312 Feb 16, 2008 07:43 PM

      It's a bit of a hike (about 20 minutes up route 287) but worth it. Try Shumi in Somerville. *The* best sushi/sashimi in America. It's owned by two Japanese, and run by them. I have friends who've spent time in Tokyo, and they tell me that Shumi compares favorably with the best they've had there.

      22 Replies
      1. re: mmgpsych
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        howchound RE: mmgpsych Feb 19, 2008 06:39 AM

        I kept hearing this about shumi and fianlly tried it - ened up throwing out the $40 couples platter because it was terrible and not at all fresh. I wont be going back - and Im desperate for a good place in the Hunterdon area. Would love to find a yakiniku place around somehwehre too - but Im not going to hold my breath!

        1. re: howchound
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          mmgpsych RE: howchound Feb 19, 2008 07:12 PM

          It's unfortunate that you didn't take *everyone's* advice and let Ike, the sushi chef and owner, serve you what he wished. In previous posts, I, and others, explicitly warned not to order off the menu, a warning that apparently fell on deaf ears. Alas . . .

          1. re: mmgpsych
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            mmgpsych RE: mmgpsych Feb 20, 2008 04:15 AM

            I thought I'd add that you're not the only one to make that mistake. We, too, had heard about Shumi, and after ordering one of the platters off the menu, we, too, wondered what the fuss was about. But as we were finishing up, the waitress came to our table, bowed politely, and said, "Maybe you wish taste something special from Ike? More money but much more better." We eagerly assented.
            Several minutes later, she arrived with a platter of grilled Blue Fin Tuna, cheek, Sea Urchin with Quail Egg, Spanish Mackerel, and a warm hand roll of Monk Fish Liver and spicy Thai sauce. OOooomagod! This stuff had no relation at all to what we'd just eaten either in quality or in price. Expect a lunch for two prepared by Ike to cost between a hundred and a hundred forty dollars out the door. A far cry from a $40 dollar couples platter off the menu.
            I'm sorry you missed out. Go again on a Saturday between noon and one, and you'll find us, and a group of regulars gathered around the sushi bar 'oooing and ahing', some with eyes closed in Zen meditative rapture, others wearing happy all-American grins. But do come back :-)))

          2. re: howchound
            ambrose RE: howchound Feb 20, 2008 02:08 PM

            Howchound, I'm always reluctant to suggest a place I've never been to but friends have told me that Domo 7 in Whitehouse Station has good sushi. Domo 7 is located on the eastbound lane of Route 22, just east of the intersection with Route 523. It's in the same strip mall as McDonald's.

            There are a couple of other sushi places about a mile farther back towards Clinton. I'm afraid I can't remember their names but they're pretty easy to spot from the highway.

            1. re: ambrose
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              mmgpsych RE: ambrose Feb 21, 2008 12:02 PM

              Tell ya what, Ambrose. My wife and I plan to have lunch at Shumi (at the sushi bar, omakase) this Saturday. Why don't you meet us there at 12 noon, and then you can 'tell the world' what the real deal about Shumi is. The Sake is on me. :-)))) (Any hounds who are sushi-philes are, of course, welcome to join us, but BYO sake.)

              1. re: mmgpsych
                ambrose RE: mmgpsych Feb 22, 2008 07:21 AM

                A tempting thought indeed, but tomorrow I will be at an antique show in Long Valley. I'm wondering where you find decent sake in this state of ours. I've never found anything that even comes close to the sake I had in Japan. Perhaps I need to post this question on another board though the responses may not be Jersey-specific.

                1. re: ambrose
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                  mmgpsych RE: ambrose Feb 22, 2008 10:22 AM

                  Decent? Did I say decent? LOL! I've found some passable Sake at Gary's in Bernardsville, but it's rather pricey for what it is. I have a bottle of Junmai Daiginjo teed up and ready for tomorrow (to be sipped from traditional cedar boxes, but of of course). Still, it is to really great Japanese Sake as most New Jersey bagels are to the NYC variety. :::sigh::: But we make do :-)))

                  1. re: mmgpsych
                    ambrose RE: mmgpsych Feb 22, 2008 11:34 AM

                    Hey, mmgpsych, nowhere is it written that you must have sake at a sushi restaurant. I ate at many a sushi place in Japan where we never made the switch from beer to sake (we always started with beer). If we did switch, I always opted for sake but many of my Japanese colleagues went for whisky (or whiskey).

                    Have fun tomorrow and ask Ike where you can buy 'decent' sake!

                    :-D

                    Added in Edit: Remember to fill those boxes right to the brim!

                    1. re: ambrose
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                      mmgpsych RE: ambrose Feb 23, 2008 11:11 AM

                      Best Sake selection, says Ike, is to be found at Mitsuwa in the Edgewater Fort Lee area. It's also the best all around Asian market on the East Coast.
                      http://goldsea.com/Parenting/Malls/mm...

                      1. re: mmgpsych
                        ambrose RE: mmgpsych Mar 5, 2008 01:16 PM

                        Thanks, mmgpsych, for following up on my sake question. I don't often get to the Fort Lee area but I may try to plan an excursion to the market and some other places nearby.

                        1. re: ambrose
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                          mmgpsych RE: ambrose Mar 5, 2008 01:39 PM

                          We made the trek last Saturday and found it well worth the ride. As far as eating there goes, the ramen from *Santouka* was very, very, very good. Highly recommended. Stocked up on Sake, too. Hundreds of selections ranging in price from $4.95 for a double size bottle of god-knows-what to a $190 dollar bottle that best have been distilled by God himself. We got lots of good mid-priced stuff ($20-30 bucks a bottle). On Saturday and Sunday afternoons around lunchtime, the place is a damn beehive; we had to park and walk from another mall's lot some eight-of-a-mile further North. There were, literally, well over 1000 Orientals of different stripe milling about the place when we got there. All seemed as pleased by the many, many, many food venues as we were by Santouka. Here's the store link. Well worth the trip! http://www.mitsuwa.com/tenpo/newj/ein...

            2. re: howchound
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              avidcook RE: howchound Feb 22, 2008 11:44 AM

              Unheard of absolutely unheard of from Ike's kitchen. Boarders on blasphemy!!!

              1. re: avidcook
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                mmgpsych RE: avidcook Feb 22, 2008 12:19 PM

                I was less than cordial in one of my responses to howchound--the moderators rightly yanked it--so let me be more polite this time. Great sushi and sashimi must be served at a very specific temperature to taste at all as it should. Ike is *very* fussy about that; he often jokes that it's best to eat his sashimi at the sushi bar lest the temperature change too much in the one-minute-time it takes to get it to a table. Howchound's bad experience, I think, was first, a function of ordering a sushi/sashimi platter from the main menu (it's geared for beginners; there's nothing at all especially interesting on that platter) and second, driving said sushi and sashimi home in a heated car for some 25-30 minutes before tasting it. I doubt that the fish was actually bad, as in rotten, but I'd hardly expect *any* high end food coming from *any* high end kitchen to strut its stuff after a half hour of cooling (or in this case warming) its heels. Frankly, if you have the least sophisticated palate, I don't recommend getting take-out sushi from anywhere if you have to let it sit and get warm for a length of time, any more than I'd recommend eating a once-sizzling steak after dipping it in ice water. If I weren't such a cheapskate, I'd offer to treat howchound to another round at Shumi since it was, in part, my recommendation that got him there. But my wife doesn't call me 'Ol Zipperpockets' for nothing . :-)))

                1. re: mmgpsych
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                  avidcook RE: mmgpsych Feb 22, 2008 01:51 PM

                  Thankyou for defending Ike and all of the true sushi lovers of the area!

                  1. re: mmgpsych
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                    howchound RE: mmgpsych Feb 23, 2008 05:42 AM

                    mmgpsych responding to your 'disappeared' post, check shumirestaurant.com - as you can see there IS a website

                    to your point, yes that is as you say a "beginners" platter. as this is the first time Ive eaten at this place, this is a good way to get a sense for what they can do. certainly if a place doesnt have good, say, yellowtail Im not going to spend $150 to be poisened by the blowfish for petes sake. additionally simple sushi does not mean it isnt good or that the person is not "sophisticated".

                    agreed a 20 minute ride home does not enhance the flavors of sushi, however it does not it turn it into garbage (which mine was). I can assure you the temparture of the sushi was just fine - it didnt ride home uncovered resting on the engine block. Ive driven sushi home from Oishi in Yardley many times (where Id continue to go if it wasnt 40 minutes) and its been delicious.

                    Look the point is this, depsite what you may regard as a lack of sophistication or understanding of sushi, I can tell you this was bad sushi. I know. I can sit and regale you with tales of all the places Ive been and how I know, but instead we only need look back at your prior posts. You said yourself the items offered off the menu are not good. That is really my point. To me a good restaurant serves good food - down to the most pedestrian items. The fact this place serves remarkably bad items off its posted menu and then makes you pay triple to get good stuff turns me off. End of story - wont be back (and as Ive said Im sure I wont be missed). Now onto the real question - where else in the are can you get good sushi???

                    1. re: howchound
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                      mmgpsych RE: howchound Feb 23, 2008 07:04 AM

                      I never said that items 'off the menu are not good ', or anything remotely close to that. What I said is that they're ordinary. Too, your experience flies in the face of the hundreds of sushi aficionados who swear that Shumi serves the best sushi/sashimi they've had anywhere, and who, upon reading your post, would be shaking their heads in disbelief as I, avidcook and ambrose did. Still, to answer your question, someone recently posted that the best Sushi in New Jersey is served at Benihana in Edison. Perhaps you'll find their fare more satisfying. Let's hope so. Good luck.

                      1. re: mmgpsych
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                        howchound RE: mmgpsych Feb 24, 2008 08:29 AM

                        ordinary by definition alone = not good. How does it fly in the face of hundreds of afficonadoes. you clearly fancy yourself quite an afficionado and said the first time you went there you had a very "ordinary" time. doesnt sound like the best sushi on the planet to me! as far as benihana goes, what they have cannot be any worse than what shumi serves off its regular menu!!

                        1. re: howchound
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                          zenkai RE: howchound Feb 24, 2008 12:27 PM

                          I watch this discussion with interest and surprise. Best sushi in America is from Shumi. Always fresh. Best sushi in Europe from Miyama in London. Also, always fresh, serve classic style. No nonsense. Best sushi in the world still Tamaya Kamogawa-ten in Kyoto my home. http://tinyurl.com/27cgw2

                          1. re: zenkai
                            ambrose RE: zenkai Feb 24, 2008 12:37 PM

                            Zenkai, the OP asked for information on authentic Japanese restaurants in central New Jersey. We got sidetracked on sushi restaurants so I'm wondering if you have any good recommendations for places that serve other types of Japanese cuisine.

                            Domo arigato!

                            1. re: ambrose
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                              zenkai RE: ambrose Feb 24, 2008 02:26 PM

                              Sorry to say, food here an embarrassment. Most real chef in Japan make seppuku before they make Philadelphia roll sushi with cream cheese!

                              1. re: zenkai
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                                currymouth RE: zenkai Feb 24, 2008 05:12 PM

                                as per my pulled posting."There are none"

                                1. re: zenkai
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                                  tom porc RE: zenkai Feb 25, 2008 12:39 AM

                                  Let's hope noone in Japan asks for a California roll. We dont want the best chefs committing suicide.

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                fougoo RE: mop312 Feb 19, 2008 08:34 AM

                Ajihei on Chambers Street in Princeton. It's the only sushi place in Princeton owned by Japanese people. The California roll, made with real crab, is great, as is the lobster Cali roll.

                2 Replies
                1. re: fougoo
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                  avidcook RE: fougoo Feb 22, 2008 11:46 AM

                  Ajihei does a fantastic job and recently I've been going to Soonja's on Alexander where Sam the sushi chef delivers prestine fish.

                  1. re: avidcook
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                    frogophobic RE: avidcook Feb 25, 2008 03:42 PM

                    I agree 100% that Ajihei is the way to go... the fish is always fresh and the other dishes I've tried are authentic and always tasty.

                2. m
                  mop312 RE: mop312 May 19, 2008 06:20 PM

                  Wow!! I am the one who asked this question but I did not think I get this many response back!! I am pleasantly surprised!! I am going to take everyone's suggestions about each restaurant and I will report back, how does that sound? I actually found another authentic Japanese restaurant: "Daimatus Sushi" in ... Mountainside. Actually the owner of "Hamakko" was working there! They are all Japanese including the chef and the waiting people. I was very impressed and have gone back there 2x!!

                  I am actually Japanese, and I think I can tell what is good and bad. Well, I must confess that I do like all the Americanized Sushi Rolls. I cannot eat all the raw seafood, so American stuff is just perfect for me. However, I cannot forgive arranging Tonkatsu, Sukiyaki, Donburi and other stuff. That is just a sin.... I have not really tried too much of Sushimi in this Country.

                  I love going to Mitsuwa also, but I cannot stand the crowd either, like mmqpsych was saying. If you can avoid it, you should go on weekdays or early AM on weekends. Their food is good,... but I have had better Ramen noodles.

                  Thank you for all your feedback!!

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