Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On the trail of the best sushi in North Jersey

Isami-san preparing a Sashimi Lunch platter at Tatsumi of Japan, a BYO on River Road in Edgewater.

By Victor E. Sasson

Japanese-Americans and transplants are fiercely loyal to their favorite restaurants, and many believe Tatsumi of Japan serves the best sushi in North Jersey.

At the restaurant's sushi bar on Monday, I enjoyed a lunch of sashimi -- pristine slices of raw fish -- and watched as Chef Isami-san presented individual pieces of sushi to a Japanese friend who joined me.

The Sashimi Lunch and Sushi Lunch at the Edgewater BYO are $15 each.  

The Sashimi Lunch -- served with miso soup, a small salad and a bowl of rice -- includes cooked octopus and five kinds of raw fish, above and below.

Isami-san took time to partially trim the skin of a lemon slice and curve it artfully.

Art of sushi

One of the pieces of sushi that impressed me visually was a slice of raw salmon Isami-san seared with a small blowtorch and brushed with a sauce of soy, mirin and dashi, a fish-and-kelp stock.

He then topped the fish with a cluster of roe before placing it on rice and presenting it.

Another was a slice of delicious raw fluke fin that had been deboned.

My Sashimi Lunch included slices of yellow tail (hamachi), tuna (maguro), mackerel (saba), Japanese snapper (tai) and fluke (hirami).

A wall niche near the restaurant's entrance.

My short list

After my sashimi lunch, my list of favorite Japanese restaurants expanded from one to two.

Tatsumi joins Hiura, a family run Japanese restaurant in Fort Lee, on my must-visit list. 

I especially enjoy Hiura's bento box lunches of cooked and raw fish.

Tatsumi of Japan, 1034 River Road, Edgewater; 201-969-0202. Open for lunch Tuesdays to Fridays, and for dinner Tuesdays through Sundays. Closed Mondays. Small parking lot, BYO.

Web site:

Hiura Japanese Restaurant, 400B Main St., Fort Lee; 201-346-0110. Closed Wednesdays. Serves lunch and dinner. Small parking lot, BYO, valet parking at dinner.


From a great lunch at Hiura
to rude shoppers at Whole Foods

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