Saturday, August 3, 2013

In Asian Fort Lee, let the Hiura family serve you

Once the lunch rush was over on Thursday, Chef Noboru Hiura began skinning and carving a fresh whole fluke into melt-in-the mouth sushi and sashimi for his customers in Fort Lee.


People flock to Fort Lee for the biggest variety of Asian restaurants in North Jersey -- Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Thai and, at one time, Vietnamese.

But no place is as special as the 24-seat gem on Main Street that is run by the Hiura family and likely is the oldest Japanese restaurant in the borough.

My Hiura Box at lunch included steamed white rice, a dipping sauce for tempura, unlimited green tea and a bowl of miso soup with tofu and greens, below.

I met two friends for lunch at Hiura on Thursday to acquaint them with a restaurant I have patronized for many years.

I chose the Hiura Box ($16) with both raw and cooked fish; shrimp and vegetable tempura; and salad, rice and soup.

Sushi Chef Noboru Hiura included three fat slices of wonderful bluefin-tuna sashimi that literally dissolved in my mouth.

I also enjoyed expertly fried shrimp and vegetable tempura, and delicious broiled mackerel from his son, Chef Shoji Hiura, who runs the small kitchen.

Shoji's mom, Chioko, now comes into work only on   Mondays and Fridays at lunch.

Pan-fried pork with onions in a ginger sauce is served in a large bowl over white rice ($10), accompanied by radish pickles.

Bluefin-tuna sushi, front, and cooked eel are $4 a piece when ordered a la carte.

Hiura has operated on Main Street for about 22 years, and has evolved into a high-end restaurant for customers searching for the best sushi and sashimi.

But the restaurant is more approachable at lunch, when it offers a large selection of raw and cooked dishes at reasonable prices.

One of my friends ordered Ginger Pork, pan-fried meat and onions in a ginger sauce served in a large bowl over steamed rice ($10).

A board listed a 5-item lunch special for $12

The other friend wanted only 4 pieces of blue-fin tuna and 4 pieces of cooked-eel sushi ($4 each).

We finished our meal with complimentary slices of sweet melon.

Today, Hiura is the best Japanese restaurant in Fort Lee, but you might want to reserve to make sure you get one of the 24 seats at tables or the sushi bar.

At lunch, a small parking lot off Anderson Avenue is shared with a Korean restaurant on a first-come, first-served basis, but valet parking is provided at dinner.

Hiura's rear entrance is off the parking lot.

Before the eponymous Hiura, the family operated Hodaka, a Japanese restaurant on 16th Street in Fort Lee that also offered Chinese food.

Hiura, 400B Main St., near Anderson Avenue, Fort Lee; 201-346-0110. BYO, closed Wednesdays. Reservations are recommended.

Lunch is served Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (except Wednesdays), and to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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