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best sushi in Monmouth county?

We went to Taka in Asbury Park last night. Hadn't been there for a while; it used to be our favorite but we were disappointed...the rolls were just not as wonderful as they used to be.
I hear good things about Yumi in Sea Bright...any fans? We like the sushi at Sawa in Pier Village but the service can be odd there.

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  1. I like the Sawa in Eatontown better.

    But the best in the area, as many on this board have proclaimed, is Kanji. No contest.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cantkick

      Sawa has always been our favorite, my Japanese wife will admit that Sushi from her country will melt in your mouth, I guess maybe its the water.
      We love Sawa, and Kenny the owner is a client of mine.
      We are in a Sushi mood this evening, and we will try Kanji.

    2. have to go with:
      1. Kanji
      1a. Asahi in Manasquan
      2. Sawa in WLB
      3. Yumi
      4. Osaka in Bradley Beach

      7 Replies
      1. re: aklein

        Where is Kanji??
        We've been meaning to try the Sawa in Eatontown, and Yumi.

        1. re: jerseyeats

          For interesting rolls, I prefer Kanji to Yumi and Sawa by a longshot. Kanji also has a better selection of and tastier hot food for those who choose not to eat sushi. The udon noodles are especially good. Kanji is across from the plaza with Marshal's in it, in the plaza on the other side of Shrewsbury Ave and the corner of Rt 35 very close to Ft. Monmouth.

          For purists who just want the best, freshest fish you have to go to Howell. On Rt 9, near Rt 195 in a strip mall is Kazu. They also have good non-sushi items, but less of the frou-frou/inovative fusion rolls than Kanji.

          Both places are BYO and both are near liquor stores.

          1. re: seal

            Not been to Kanji but agree with seal that Kazu is great

            1. re: tom246

              Tom what I like about Kazu is that he has a large Asian clientel......
              I love this place when you want excellent Sushi done right! Buy a nice bottle of Sake next door like Juyondai or Hakkaisan, etc. and "Kanpai"

          2. re: jerseyeats

            Kanji is in ACME Shopping Center at corner of Rt. 35 and Shrewsbury Ave.

            http://www.kanjisteakhouse.com/direct...

            1. re: aklein

              Actually, Kanji is in the Tinton Falls Plaza where the A&P is, across Shrewsbury Avenue from the Acme plaza.

              1. re: fershore

                yes, A&P, not acme... sorry for the confusion

        2. Our current favorite is Kanji in Tinton Falls. Yumi is very good but expensive. The size of the sushi/sashimi is roughly half of the pieces at Kanji. Every time I've dined at Yumi, my clothes smell like grease when I get home. They must not ventilate well. I don't notice it while I'm dining.

          Sawa in Eatontown is good. Sawa in Long Branch not quite as good and you're right, the service is spotty. Sono in Middletown is very good but it's been a while.

          Kanji is run by the former chef of Sawa, and many of the staff followed him to Kanji.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fershore

            Thanks to all for the tips. We'll be going to Kanji for sure. I went on their website and the menu looks great.

            1. re: fershore

              1. Kanji - without a doubt is number one by miles.
              2. Fuji Steakhouse
              3. Teak - Black Forbidden Roll and / or Danny's Steakhouse in a pinch

              We have been very disappointed with Sawa (both locations) our last couple of visits - Tuna was very poor in quality.

            2. Hands down "Sushi by KAZU" in Howell.....RT 9S across from the Ivy League.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Tapas52

                They are terrific when open, I agree.

              2. Sushi is great because you can tell the quality of the fish instantly. During slower periods such as winter in the mid Atlantic area restaurants usually slow down quite a bit and look for ways to cut costs. I do not want to name any restaurants specifically but stickman731's post is right on.

                1. I totally agree with all the places named, but have to add Sumo on Rt 35 in Wall. It's under the radar but has great sushi .. and servers are very attentive.

                  1. Bought some take out from Kanji the other day, since I got some work to finish in the office but still yearned for Japanese. I had the spicy tuna roll, California roll and an order of hamachi. These are not anything special but the ingredients were fresh, the hamachi was sliced nicely, not too thin like a piece of paper(which can be case for some places!) The place was quite busy during lunch but the employees were very friendly and efficient, I waited for about 7 minutes and I got everything! Compared to Fuji(on 35N, in the plaza across ACME), I think Kanji is a bit more generous with their portion of the sashimi!

                    1. Sawa at Pier Village does serve some of the Best Green Tea but the sushi was expensive and served warmer than most places, did not enjoy and would not return.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: shabbystorm

                        I agree with Shabby. I didn't enjoy my one experience at Sawa at PV. For me, the best sushi in Mon. Co. is Kanji.

                          1. re: newfie29

                            Talking about Kanji, anyone try that “5 course special”? It is offered from Mon – Wed, the whole day and consists of soup, salad, appetizer, sushi, hibachi and ice cream. It is $25 for the course. I was going to ask the servers about that they seemed to be too busy during lunch time!

                            Anyway, I had the maki lunch, $9 for 2 rolls, not bad….they are very fresh and the texture was perfect! It is one of the best around the area and so many people had talk about them! After the meal, I indulged myself in a banana tempura…it was really tasty! The crispy tempura batter covered the ripe but not mushy banana, and it was served with ice cream of your choice! Of course there was whipped cream and chocolate source but what made it really nice was the touch of honey. This dessert reminded me of a Chinese dessert I had before, banana was wrapped inside a fluffy dough, deep fried and then there was power sugar on top of that….not sure what it is called but tasty! Getting back to this banana tempura, try it if you still have room after lunch or dinner!

                      2. I'm going to have to oppose all of the Kanji followers here; granted, a sushi "purist" myself and usually sticking to NYC for sushi, I tend to overanalyze local sushi joints. And sure, as per the "fusion"-style sushi, it is probably one of the better choices in the area. However, everything is still oversauced, overdone, and not all that tasty. Even sticking to the sashimi and more traditional sushi items, the freshness of the fish was questionable and the rice leaving a lot to be desired.

                        Elsewhere in the country (usually in major cities unfortunately) you find that innovative takes on sushi cuisine do not necessarily detract from this dish if they are used to accent the fish itself, rather than overshadow it (or in Kanji's case, completely drown it out) It is unfortunate that there are few local frontrunners that have accomplished the balance required to pull off fusion style sushi, but that still doesn't excuse the types of dishes churned out by Kanji and the like.

                        Not to mention, the atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: gwh912

                          gwh912

                          Your point is well taken. Many of us are comparing the sushi or sashimi that we have around the area. Of course, there is no comparison to NYC or if I may, to draw my experience from Japan. The sashimi I had in Tokyo and Kyoto were so fresh and tasty, they basically melted in my mouth. Not to mention about the presentation and ambience. Many Japanese restaurants in the area here in Central Jersey have Chinese music in the background…I believe that many things are relative, including our own exposure. It would be nice if fellow chowhounders can be in NYC but if they are just “chowing” around Monmouth County, I have to say that Kanji is not a bad choice.

                          1. re: HelenB

                            I agree with HelenB. Obviously you can not compare Kanji to a top level NYC sushi restaurant such as Yasuda. For what we have here in NJ, Kanji serves its purpose well. FYI, the closest "purist" sushi restaurant I could find in NJ is Sagami in Collingswood. Good Luck.

                        2. YUMI and Kanji are both in the top 3 for me...

                          1. Yumi
                          2. Kanji
                          3. ......... (have not found a 3rd yet)

                          -----
                          Yumi
                          1120 Ocean Ave, Sea Bright, NJ 07760

                          1. maybe its b/c of the less than japanese feel, but i am very surprised no one has mentioned the bistro at red bank. creative rolls, fresh sashimi, and portions are more than generous

                            1. Let me just say that Mahtzu in Matawan is NOT the best sushi in Monmouth County. Barely etable fish and rolls, close to horrible not caring service...and pricy. Stay away!!

                              1. I had some spectacular hamachi at sono one night...so much so that it ruined hamachi for me at other sushi joints. Bummer.

                                1. Had dinner at Yumi last night. Chef Sheunn is preparing some of the most innovative dishes anywhere. Is it authentic Japanese food? No, but it is SO TASTY...it's a treat for the eyes and your mouth every time you go. And for a special treat, let him prepare an Omakase dinner for you. Expensive, but your mouth will LOVE IT!!

                                  -----
                                  Yumi
                                  1120 Ocean Ave, Sea Bright, NJ 07760

                                  1. Tonight we went to Sallee Tee's, I was not expecting to get sushi, but it rivaled Kanji. The sashimi was unbelievably fresh and the rainbow roll was great. I need to get back to see if they can maintain it.

                                    1. Izu Sushi in Long Branch on Montgomery Street behind 7-11. Monmouth counties best kept sushi secret.

                                      -----
                                      Izu Sushi
                                      31 Montgomery Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: bodyart

                                        Thanks, that's pretty close to the homestead and I will check it out. Fwiw, we dined at Klein's last nite instead of Belford Bistro (couldn't get a reservation).

                                        The sashimi at Kleins's - both the yellowtail and tuna were extremely fresh. Enjoyed it very much. The rest of our dinners weren't bad - ate outside, I'm glad they now have flatware & silverware for the outdoor diners (it's been some time since we dined there) - with the entrees decent. Wahoo special, broiled scallops, sauteed soft shelled crab & a combo seafood platter were the entrees ordered. Not gourmand, but a decent dinner had by all.

                                        -----
                                        Belford Bistro
                                        870 Main Street, Belford, NJ 07718

                                        1. re: bodyart

                                          I second BODYART's opinion. Izu Sushi in Long Branch is the best kept sushi secret in Central Jersey, from Rahway to Belmar.

                                          -----
                                          Izu Sushi
                                          31 Montgomery Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740

                                        2. I'm going to go out on a limb here (on a thread full of sushi loving CH's) and say Nemo's in Keyport has amazing, top notch sushi.
                                          I've had so many delicious experiences at the bar with sushi chef and in the dining room with the extensive specialty rolls while ordering other entrees. Never hard on the wallet either and really a diamond in the rough (so if you don't go, it's just more for me!)

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Youngest son's birthday dinner will be at Nemo's this week. I've read the excellent reviews for oh so long that we'll take finally the ride up the GSP.

                                            For what it's worth, and I'll say it again - if you're looking for inventive and oh so creatively tasty rolls, you could do far worse than Danny's (in Red Bank which has the best sushi in town) - on the presumption that his sushi guy is still at the helm. It's outstanding and most folks wouldn't even think of going to Danny's Steakhouse (and whose menu model has changed with the times to a Bistro/Grill type, I think), but the sushi bar is definitely worth looking into.

                                            1. re: JustJake

                                              I've enjoyed sushi @ Danny's Steakhouse many times over the years. And, JJ, I look forward to reading your birthday party review of Nemo's soon.

                                          2. Went back to Yumi this past Saturday night and it was outstanding once again. Never a bad meal. As long as they keep up the same quality they will always get my vote as best.

                                            1. Was in West End to pick up a light take out from Ming Ying, when my son & I ambled on over to Izu. There were non stop diners in their last nite. We ordered 3 sashimi (tuna, yellowtail & salmon) and ate it out at one of the tables outside the restaurant while we waited for our seafood dumpling soup and appys from MY.

                                              Pretty darn good stuff happening in this place.

                                              We're going to have to do a sit down one of these evenings.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: JustJake

                                                Number #2 son came home from RU, and I had to stop back (to Izu)for a sit down. Their specialty rolls are fabulous. Had the BBQ mussels & shumai for appy's. I'd rethink ordering the mussels again, - it was on their specials 'board' and were delicious. However, only 6 NZ on the plate in a nice sauce with roe. Tasty but not a vg value @ $8. All in all, this is a real nice Sushi spot.

                                                1. Decent review for Izu in Long Branch recently in the NY Times:

                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/nyr...

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                    I have enjoyed IZU for a couple years and also love the AK-47 (With request for extra jalapenos). Often stop there after going to the gym; order the Treasure Island appetizer and an AK...

                                                    http://izu-sushi.com/Home.php

                                                    1. re: equal_Mark

                                                      Is it me or is it that Sushi prices are sky rocketing out of control...I have seen special rolls for upwards of $18-$20 each at places that really are only trying to cater to the "HIP" crowd, etc,...........two people and a couplespecial rolls & some apps & a few drinks is approaching $200.00 with tip...!
                                                      How do you feel about the pricing lately?

                                                      1. re: Tapas52

                                                        Between Isu, Kanji and nemo, sushi rolls seem to range from $8 to $16. Some as low as $6.95 to a high near $20. The average seems to be about $12. Can't say I've seen any marked increase recently...

                                                        1. re: equal_Mark

                                                          Took the family there last nite for a birthday dinner. Waited a bit for my son to arrive from RU - and as always this is a standout sushi restaurant. It may very well be the best down here - friends recommend Yumi in Sea Bright - maybe I'll try it one day.

                                                          Miso soup for all of us (I had to forget the garbage that I had down in FL earlier in the week at one of those Buffet places - Mom's choice with a collective groan (from the rest of us who were with her). 4 appy orders. My wife had the Beef Negmaki dinner as she does not indulge. The boys and I had the AK 47 & Golden Bridge Rolls along with the Sashimi Deluxe (18 piece) and for those who know, their sashimi is as fresh & as good as it gets. Shared a fried banana dessert with the food matching the great time we had 'being together' for the first time in what may have been a month or so. Before Tax & Tip (<$100) Isu ROX!!!

                                                          1. re: equal_Mark

                                                            Nemo's sushi prices haven't changed (yet) and Lee is still running the area but there is new management and servers in the rest of the kitchen and the quality has changed of late. Even the prep of dishes I've ordered since Nemo's opened has changed.

                                                            Recently I had a lunch appt which had me heading to Bogart's in TF (Hope Rd). The sushi was awful and the prices completely ridiculous. Never again.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              Bogaerts is one of the "Serve every cuisine not very well" establishments. When I see Sushi and Quesadillas on the same menu I pretty much know what to expect.

                                                              http://www.exit109.com/~mstevens/monm...

                                                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                Me too and unfortunately I didn't order much during the biz appt.

                                                          2. re: Tapas52

                                                            Tapas, should I have totaled up the AK47, and the Golden Bridge rolls along with the Sashimi Deluxe (18 pieces), it would have been $50.

                                                      2. I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that Sawa serves anything that resembles Japanese cuisine... the fish is warm, sliced way too large and without finesse - the only place I've eaten and gagged on my food. $12 for for one scallop sliced into 6 pieces... I should have guessed we were in for a shanking when the sushi chef gave us fried cod strips as his special appetizer... disgusting.

                                                        The best sushi in Monmouth County is made by Chef Daniel of The Bistro, Red Bank. Creative, fresh, expertly crafted and textured rolls - traditional sashimi, not the largest selection but quality. We go and just let him make whatever he wants for us and for 6+ years we have not been disappointed. Go and tell me how you liked it!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: jrzcat

                                                          I agree The Bistro does sushi well but I've gone thru their very limited menu too many times.

                                                          Have you tried Nemo's in Keyport? Excellent rolls, traditional and plenty of surprises.

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            Yes, I have tried Nemos in Keyport - very good sushi, on the tame side, like you say - traditional - not as generous for the money. I think I prefer the atmosphere at The Bistro as well.

                                                            LOVE Nemos duck egg roll!

                                                        2. I'm a big Kanji fan, but I think as of late, their Sushi has been hit or miss. Sawa sushi is just ok, nothing to die for.

                                                          Anyone been to Sogo in Red Bank? I have been relatively happy with their sushi....even though it isn't traditional, I do like the brown rice.

                                                          11 Replies
                                                          1. re: legallink

                                                            LegaLink,

                                                            Try Kyoto in Atlantic Highlands (on route 36 in the CVS shopping center.) Its BYOB and they have some really good stuff. I have been to almost all of the places around here and this is my favorite.

                                                            They get some great big eye tuna that is priced fairly. Try the sushi nachos (i know it sounds weird but trust me.) And the basil tempura is great (tuna on top of large deep fried basil leaves.) The Tuna Kobachi is an awesome tuna app too.

                                                            Here is an older menu but a lot of it is still the same
                                                            http://www.kyotosushinj.com/Dinner%20...

                                                            They have great spicy tuna rolls....my favorite around here.

                                                            I went last night with my wife and her sister. We only ordered "regular" rolls, not the special rolls. Usually we get a few special rolls and that jacks the bill up a lot. I think we got 8 or 9 rolls, a soup and edamame for 56 bucks...pretty sweet! (yes we pigged out LOL

                                                            )

                                                            If you are adventurous get the sashimi and sushi boat. They bring a bunch of food out with the chefs selections at a great price.

                                                            1. re: corvette johnny

                                                              I'm heading there this weekend.....hopefully it will be a decent replacement. Thanks for the Rec! Joonjoon, I've never been to/heard of ichiban...favorite rolls there?

                                                              1. re: legallink

                                                                I usually prefer simple rolls...my favorite is probably yellowtail scallion. If you're into crazy rolls the dynamite is pretty good there. I guess it really depends on what you're into.

                                                            2. re: legallink

                                                              Give Ichiban a try. Consistently good sushi there.

                                                              1. re: legallink

                                                                went to Kanji for lunch today and found the sushi/sashimi lunch platter disappointing. Tuna was not great, yellowtail had a "watery" taste. Maybe they are focusing too much on those "hip" rolls with 10 ingredients.

                                                                1. re: legallink

                                                                  Is Kanji in Matawan on 34? I think I might be confusing the location.

                                                                  1. re: angelo04

                                                                    You're thinking of Kicky's. Kanji is in Tinton Falls.

                                                                    http://kanjisteakhouse.com/

                                                                    1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                      Any chance you've been to Kicky's? I pass there from time to time and never stopped in. I've been to Kanji for hibachi several times and sorry to say I wasn't wowed. The "performance" was fun but the menu was meh.

                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                        Kickys is very good, I've had lunch there several times, both dine in and take out. They have an excellent $5.99 lunch special menu. Don't let the "bland" exterior fool you either, the interior is very nice.

                                                                      2. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                        I googled and I think I was thinking of Ganga on rt 34. Anyone been here?

                                                                        http://www.gangaasianbistro.com

                                                                  2. Xina in Toms River is where you should be eating Sushi

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                        I read and thought same =M.

                                                                        With Izu, Kanji, Yumi and even Kazu (in Howell), how could one justify traveling to Toms River for sushi?

                                                                          1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                            Mark, a quick check of their website has them working towards reopening. Looks like it'll be May.

                                                                            http://yumirestaurant.com/