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Sushi in the Keyport, Matawan, Redbank Area?

I live in Aberdeen & I desperately want to know: Is there any DECENT sushi in the area? It seems that every place I have tried has been good when they opened but then goes down hill. Oishi at Highway 36 & Poole in Union Beach was good at first but it was actually gross the last time I went a couple of months ago. Nearly the same with Kobe in Holmdel (but more like mediocre than disgusting.) Maybe I need to go to Red Bank? I would drive even further, like to Asbury, if anybody strongly recommends the place.

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  1. Have you tried Sushi by KAZU on RT9 in Howell ?
    Regarded by many & myself as excellent. Its across from the Ivy League restaurant in a small strip mall. I think you be happily surprised & will enjoy the experience very much.
    Kazu & his wife do sushi right for sure!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tapas52

      No, I haven't! Thanks for the rec -- I will definitely try Kazu!

    2. My favorite in the area is Sono in Middletown, on Rt. 35. I don't remember the name of the mall, but it's acroos the highway from Boston Market. I've also been going to Fuji in Hazlet - also on rt. 35 alot lately. I have recently heard alot of good things about Oishi (recently meaning at least 3 times in the past week!) an was planning on trying it tomorrow for lunch...

      2 Replies
      1. re: DrewBB

        Drew, I know the OP had a bad experieince at Oishi but we've been frequenting there for several months now and have had nothing but good experiences.

        1. re: dani0622

          Actually, I was embarrassed to say that I had three consecutive bad experiences with Oishi b/c I felt like an idiot for persevering. When they first opened, they offered some really wonderful white tuna sashimi, but the fresh factor went south. Thanks DrewBB for the Sono rec.

      2. Try Kanji in Shrewsbury. It's been raved about on this board and in the papers. It's in the shopping center just off 35 behind Americana Diner. (Another great choice in its genre.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: cantkick

          Thanks cantkick, I have come across that name before so look forward to trying Kanji.

        2. I'll post this again but without the comment that was offensive to the Moderators!

          I am on a mission to try all of the sushi Monmouth County has to offer -- I've been to a lot of places! You can check my personal blog for reviews. I am in total agreement with you re: sushi joints around Aberdeen/Matawan/Keyport. They are average or mediocre at best. We have yet to try Blue Wasabi on Matawan Rd. So I was hoping that might be an unknown gem right in my back yard. I can dream, right? :)

          In any case, I have to say out of the dozens and dozens of Japanese restaurants I've been to, the absolute stand-out is the new Kanji Steakhouse & Sushi on Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls. http://www.kanjisteakhouse.com/index2...
          It is simply stellar!

          Another favorite is Ichiban on Route 35 in Ocean. We have gone several times and were never disappointed. Takara, also in Ocean, isn't bad either.

          As for decent sushi up this way, reports are that Kickys in Aberdeen is good. I can't speak to it recently as I have not been there lately, at least not since they have changed their menu to Pan Asian. I have also heard that Aki Sushi on Route 36 in Port Monmouth is "excellent". Some people seem to speak highly of Yumi in Sea Bright, too. They are all on my "to go" list at some point -- perhaps after my next Kanji experience - since Kanji certainly warrants a return visit in the near future!

          5 Replies
          1. re: DJMarilyn

            I agree 100% with DJMarilyn's recommendations. My top 3 in order are Kanji, Takara and Ichiban with Sawa (Eatontown) a close fourth.

            1. re: DJMarilyn

              DJMarilyn - Sorry to disappoint, If Blue Wasabi is the place right off of GSP exit 120 in that Strip Mall by pizza hut it is more mediocrity. Pretty cool name, but that's about it.

              1. re: angelo04

                Yep, that's the one angelo. I figured I was dreaming. I will still try it so I can put if on my (growing) list of sushi restaurants I've gone to and report on my experience.

              2. re: DJMarilyn

                Thanks DJMarilyn for the thoughtful response & number of suggestions. The weather's warming up & so is my craving for sushi -- not to mention the will to drive around looking for the good stuff. Thanks for the URL for Kanji. If you are a sashimi fan, I'd be curious to hear any further thoughts since certain establishments can do passable when adding seasoned rice to the fish, but when offering the fish "in the buff" the flaws become depressingly apparent!

                Just to add via the 'edit' function. What I noticed most recently was this increasing tendency of the fish (in places that used to do better) to be pretty tasteless & to be also watery -- perhaps because the fish hadn't been frozen or thawed properly.

                1. re: wilmap

                  Our favorite place for sashimi is, by far, Ichiban. We have found it to be quite fresh and the presentation quite visually appealing. We haven't been there since Sept. of last year, so I'm not sure if it has changed, but we would love to go back soon just for their sashimi!

              3. Yeah, Kanji and also Fuji in Tinton Falls, Sono in Middletown, etc.
                But also Aligado in Holmdel on 35S and you could try Taka in Asbury if you want to take a ride.

                While on subject, has anyone tried sushi place in RB on Monmouth Street next to TEAK? Advertising brown rice sushi ... just across from the Broadway Diner. Would love to hear some reviews, but may go in cold and report back.

                2 Replies
                1. re: aklein

                  "has anyone tried sushi place in RB on Monmouth Street next to TEAK?"

                  That's Sogo Sushi. It's take-out/delivery only. I like it for a good local option. But not worth travelling to. Their brown rice is really good.
                  See discussion: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/414472

                  1. re: val ann c

                    val ann c:
                    thanks for the info.. if I'm wandering around town, I'll stop in, but sounds like not worth a trip from belmar with all the other choices along the way....

                2. I have to agree with aklein...I have been recently impressed with Aligado, and they usually have some interesting sushi specials on the weekends.

                  1. We tried Aki Sushi last night, here's our initial impression: great selection, real good quality! We ordered the sashimi and sushi love boat as well as two special rolls. 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. I 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, 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.

                    Aki is in the Super Foodtown strip mall on Rt. 36 in Port Monmouth. Out of a 5 star ranking system, we give them a 4. We'll definitely want to try them again.

                    As it stands, only Kanji and Ichiban are 5 out 5 for food. Kanji also gets high points for decor/atmosphere.

                    1. If you are willing to travel a bit this may be of interest as there is great sushi to be had at Sushi by Kazu located on Rt 9 South in Howell. This is sushi for the purist. You will not find many fancy rolls here but the fish is exceptional. As a side note you must try the wasabi dumplings for an appetizer, they are fantastic. Kazu along with Nobe in Toms River, another purist establishment are considered by many to be the best in the shore area.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JerzeyShore

                        Yes, thanks to some other Chowhounders, I have put Kazu on my "to go to" list. :)

                        1. re: JerzeyShore

                          Thanks to everyone -- especially the specific reviews. I definitely count myself as a purist. Rolls can be delicious but there is nothing like excellent sashimi!

                        2. I was in Fuji for lunch the other day, I like the service of the place; from the servers to the owner, they are all very welcoming and helpful! Compare to the relatively close by Japanese restaurants, such as Kanji, I had the yellow tail, the sashimi is as fresh if not fresher but they are sliced thinner(basically, you get a bit less!) and for sashimi, I prefer a certain thickness. It was the first time I ordered Thai dish in this place and I had the Phad Thai. The portion looked small when it arrived but it was an illusion, the noodles was packed tightly on the small square plate. The crushed peanuts were nice and I like the lemon on the side(good to have a few drop squeezed to the dish), I had chicken added to the dish despite the Phad Thai I had in Thailand came with shrimps and chicken. The dish was tasty and the bean sprouts were crisp but it would be better if they had the tofu!(They usually have that in Phad Thai and I think I saw that in their menu in the description but I could be wrong!)

                          One cannot go too wrong with this place, the ambience is good and service is excellent, while I am a bit demanding on my food. I noticed that they have a weekly dinner menu and one of the dishes was sweet and sour fish, with vegetables and fruits. That reminded me of something I had before in Asia and I believe it was a Chinese dish, perhaps I will try that some day after work!

                          1. I have not tried Sushi by Kazu yet but with so many recommendations it is definately on my list of places to try!

                            1. Raritan Bay, Navisink River. Bring your pole and some worms. Nothing fresher. Yummy?