Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kenji Fusion Asian Bistro - Hamilton, NJ

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! 1280 Route 33 Hamilton, NJ Phone: (609)785-0008 Web: http://www.kenjifusion.com/

1 comment:

cliff said...

Awful.
Visited Fusion 2 last night after hearing for years how great Kenji Fusion on Rt 33 is. There were about 10 customers besides us and that included a full hibachi table...so the dining room had only 2 other tables with patrons. Despite having 2 sushi chefs, a hibachi chef, numerous staff in the back kitchen, at least 5 waitresses, and many people bussing... it took over 45 minutes to receive our appetizers, WHICH WERE RAW BY THE WAY so I cannot begin to understand why this took so long to deliver. Sashimi was decent, tuna tartare was good but portions on both were small. Elegant presentation though.

Dinner did not hit the table for ANOTHER 50 minutes after appetizers were cleared. My wife ordered the Kobe beef which was tasty but it is perhaps 10 paper thin slices of beef (that you cook yourself at the table) with zero garnish or sides. I tried the Wagyu steak which, in all fairness, I have never had before. It was inedible. 6 oz. of pure fat. Outside was charred (burnt really) and the inside was completely rare.
This dish was supposed to be served over "sweet onion and garlic jus" but instead came over a mushroom salad. I DESPISE MUSHROOMS.

I did not complain or send back my food since I did not want to invest another hour waiting for a different dish.

All in all it took 2 and half hours before we left Kenji 2, despite the wait/kitchen staff outnumbering the customers 3 to 1. There was no offer to make this up to us in any way. Dinner cost $95 without any drinks and i had to make myself a sandwich when i got home. I would not advise anyone to eat here.