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Feb 19, 2009 01:55 PM

Kenji Fusion Asian Bistro (Hamilton, NJ)

Hi.. newbie here. My name is Rob.. I just moved back to Central NJ from Pittsburgh, PA where I got to know many of you 'chowhounders' from my restaurant stints at Girasole, Eleven, and an externship with The Capital Grille as a Hotel & Restaurant Management student at PCI.

I just applied at On-The-Bone at the Doubletree Hotel in Princeton this afternoon so we will see where that leads. I looked around the area here (Rats, Outback, Jester's Cafe, Tattoni's, Santino's, Spigola, Toscano..) and I had either worked there growing up, or I have heard the place is on it's last legs.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I stopped in at Kenji Fusion Asian Bistro on Route 33 in Hamilton Square and had a FANTASTIC meal! The mango ice, crazy tuna roll, lettuce wraps, and some type of pancake with scallions were all FANTASITC!

I don't know how the sushi scene is here in Central Jersey nowadays, but I figured I'd give yous a heads up and let you know this place is great!

Looking forward to taking care of you all somewhere in the area in the near future. Bon appetit!

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    Kenji Fusion Asian
    1280 Highway 33, Trenton, NJ 08690

    1. We've been here once as well and it was very enjoyable! Great food, but what do you expect from the duo coming from Elements Asia? They are doing a great job... -mJ

      3 Replies
      1. re: njfoodies

        In an area where it is hard to find good Asian Cuisine, Kenji Fusian Asian Bistro has been a breath of fresh air! Somehow however, I have never blogged on Kenji from previous visits, so here I am, fresh from dinner, sitting on the couch enjoying some nice pinot noir, as I type with the movie Sideways on in the background.

        Tonight I called Kenji to get a reservation, and was lucky to get us in within the hour. That said, I brushed my teeth, and off we went on the short 15 minute drive to Kenji.

        Upon arriving, the restaurant was packed to the gills as always, and we were greeted by the owner, and he asked if we wanted to sit at the sushi bar. This was a good call on his part, and appreciated. The sushi bar is the heartbeat of this restaurant, and there is lots of action going on there. Unfortunately, there are only about 10 tables at the sushi bar, so it was nice to get a seat there. They also have a nice flat screen TV hanging on the wall, so it's nice for all of you sports buffs as they always have ESPN or other sports networks on.

        One of our favorite things about Kenji is the fact that they are a BYOB establishment. That being said, we brought an Iris pinot noir, which is becoming a staple in our house. Sure, a nice sauvignon blanc or other white would have paired better maybe, but pinot went very well with all of the dishes that we had tonight.

        To start off, we ordered the Haru Maki, which is a crispy Japanese spring roll. These came out piping hot, with a side of sweet and sour, and a side of hot mustard. After letting them cool, the first bite was absolutely delicious, and exposed the steam as the center of these was on fire! Great vegetables to include mushroom, carrots, cabbage, and a rice noodle. These are always a favorite of ours, and a great way to start.

        From there we went to the land of sushi. Zelda and I both opted for a shrimp tempura roll each, which is one of our favorites. Crispy tempura shrimp wrapped in nori and rice, with sesame seeds and a sweet, almost teriyaki like sauce. These are always delicious, and a treat. Zelda also opted for a spicy salmon roll, and I opted for a spicy tuna roll. These were both incredible, and you Could tell just how fresh the fish was. Kenji has sushi down to a science, and it is always amazing to watch how fast the rolls fly out of the bar. Kudos to the three gentleman working the sushi bar tonight!

        By this time, I was more than content, and could have gone home happy, but that was not the case tonight, and there is nothing wrong with going home with a little bag of leftovers. That said, we opted to split the General Tso's chicken. As always, this is fried up nice and golden brown, with a heaping helping of chicken, broccoli, and the delicious homemade sauce that they make. One again, this dish came out smoking hot, and was an absolute pleasure. The outside was crispy, hot, and fried as perfect as it gets, yet the inside was putting off steam, and was nice and juicy. This is such a great dish, and they have the preparation down for this dish.

        We also opted for a side of chicken friend rice, and this too was delicious. Everything comes out of the kitchen so hot, and you can tell that it is their priority to serve the entrees as they come up in the window. There is nothing hard or special about fried rice, but it was great, with loads of thinly sliced chicken strips, carrots, peas, onion, and egg. This rice was not over seasoned in the least, and was a perfect example of how fried rice should be. Another kudo to the Kenji crew.

        What can we say about this place other than awesome? This is exactly what our area has been needing, and a breath of fresh air. We used to complain that there were no good Asian places withing a half hour, with the exception of Elements Asia, where the owner of Kenji used to work. Now, he has his own place, and it's even better.

        The ambiance at Kenji is just what an Asian Fusion restaurant should look like. The dining room is dark, with nice stainless steel on the ceiling to give it a bit of an industrial look. One wall is lit in blue light, while another wall is lit up in red with bamboo stalks. A flatscreen greets you in the lobby, while another hangs in the back over the sushi bar. Finally, they have great music playing in there, with anything from U2, to techno, to jazzy fusion...absolutely perfect for the setting.

        In closing, what is there to say? Great food, great service, and great prices. And even better news, look for them to be opening Fusion II in the new shopping center on Route 130 near in Hamilton 1/2 mile south of the Hamilton Marketplace! We wish them the best, and look forward to dining with them again in the near future! Cheers!

        Route 33
        Hamilton, NJ
        Phone: (609)785-0008

        1. re: njfoodies

          nj, Kenji sounds and looks really good. It is on our list to try soon.

          1. re: tom246

            Let us know Tom and we'll meet ya there with a nice Kistler chard! Haven't had any problems with nice pinot over there either with the food! -mJ

      2. Kenji is definitely our go-to restaurant in the Hamilton area. We've never walked in without being greeted with an enthusiastic smile, and the BYOB factor is a huge plus when you're not looking to break the bank on a casual night out.

        We go primarily for their sushi, which is hard to beat in the immediate area. With a huge selection on their seemingly ever expanding sushi menu, we never get bored, and our favorites are always changing (which is super refreshing.) Their specialty rolls are creative and so delicious, but that doesn’t take anything away from the basics. It's easy to get deliciously carried away when ordering :]

        As in love I am with the sushi, the entrees at Kenji have been hit or miss with me. Some I've loved (Crispy Seafood) and some missed the mark with me (a seafood Udon bowl that I cannot recall the name of, not surprisingly). This still won't keep me from trying others and finding some yummy gems.

        Overall I'd definitely recommend Kenji if you are in the Hamilton area. We've had tons of great meals there, and I look forward to our next. Oh, and they have a diverse appetizer menu as well, so don’t miss that opportunity to find something fantastic! Enjoy!

        1. Had lunch here at Kenji Fusion today.
          This is now one of my favorite restaurants.

          The restaurant is dark and cozy with wonderful service.
          The Salmon Sushi was good, on par with many other restaurants in the state.

          The Marci Sweetie Roll - Perfectly marinated Grilled Squid wrapped in soybean paper with grilled scallop topped with avocado with the perfect amount of special sauce on the side - it was AMAZING! For me, No exaggeration.

          There are so many interesting dishes on the menu cannot wait to return.

          Keep in mind the roll I had was 15.99, not cheap. It was the second most expensive sushi lunch I ever had next to Sushi Lounge in Totowa NJ, unlike Sushi Lounge this place WAS worth the expense. They also have reasonable lunch specials.
          Place was crowded at lunch!
          Thank you for taking the time to post, because of the review on chowhound I tried this place.

          Good news, they are soon opening Fusion 2 in that new Hamilton Shoppes on Rt 130, it will have a similar menu plus hibachi.

          Great Food Day!

          1. Was so excited about this place, took visitors, and went back again today.
            Although my guests enjoyed lunch, I ate the same thing, and had a completely different experience than just 2 days ago.
            I had the same roll, Marcie Sweetie, and it tasted completely different.
            They had 4 sushi chefs today, 2 the other day.
            Assume a different chef made the roll.
            The roll had a completely different texture, the sauce different, a spicy oil was drizzled on the sauce, which was not there the other day.
            It was good, no need to send it back or complain, but not mind blowing like the other day.
            Wanted to post, and share a valuable lesson learned.