Last week, we finally found a Sushi place in Red Bank after realizing that Sunday is not the best day to embark on a such a search. I’m not a ritzy type of guy, I’d rather sit at home and microwave leftovers than have to eat at some pretentious establishment known for their distinct cuisine, but that describes many of the restaurants in Red Bank. My girlfriend and I were in the mood for some damn sushi and upon discovering 3 sushi places in the immediate area were closed, it seemed there’d be no sushi in our foreseeable future. I made a couple of phone calls and found out that The Bistro in Red Bank actually had great sushi.
If being served sushi by a waiter dressed as a Ninja is on your list of things to do before you die, then you need to visit Ninja New York. No, Ninja New York is NOT a ninjutsu academy that trains you to be part of the Foot Clan, but it IS a Japanese restaurant in downtown Manhattan. It’s unique atmosphere makes you feel like you’re walking through dark, ninja infested alleyways in Japan. Keep your eyes peeled and always look over your shoulder because you never know when a stealth Ninja will sneak up on you.
Japanese music, dim lighting, and cavernous walls help create the ambiance. Upon entering the restaurant you’re welcomed into a descending elevator with gradually dimming lights. After a ninja surprise, you must choose whether to take the normal path or the shortcut. From there, each group or couple is seated at a table in their own little cove where they are greeted by a Ninja waiter who tends to your every whim. Be careful though, because those whims are pretty damn expensive! The prices are fairly steep but you’ll most likely be going for the experience rather than the food. Do you go to Medieval Times for the food? Hell no! You go to root on your knight, get your hands greasy, and drink some beer.
Even though from a culinary aspect, the food is masterfully prepared, beautifully presented, and very flavorful, I still left unimpressed with the cuisine considering the prices. If you choose to order one of their multi-course, price fixed meals, then you could be spending anywhere from $50 – $200. Compared to some other ritzy places in Manhattan, that’s actually getting off cheap. Ordering one of the price fixed meals will provoke a ninja to come to your table and do some sort of trick. We had one ninja create a spark that lit one of our friend’s dinner on fire. In fear of having my face burned off, I opted for a few selections from the ala carte menu.
Here’s what I ordered:
The Spicy Tuna Roll consisted of “tuna and tobiko mixed in a spicy sauce and cucumber rolled in rice cubes.” The rolls were not traditional spicy tuna rolls, which disappointed me. Certain foods can be “reimagined” or modified, but please don’t f–k with spicy tuna rolls. If they look and taste different, give them a new name! I give the chefs credit for creativity but, unlike Barack Obama, spicy tuna rolls are not ready for change. Don’t mess with a successful formula. Your local sushi place most likely has better tasting, less fancy, and surely less expensive sushi. That’s the way to go if you’re just out to grab sushi.
The Creamy Shrimp is a “Chinese style battered fried shrimp mixed with a creamy mayonnaise sauce combined with condensed milk and dry gin, sprinkled with cashew nuts and coriander leaves.” The sauce that the shrimp was drenched in was delicious, but the texture of the shrimp was kind of creepy. It seemed as if the shrimp was only halfway cooked, so it had a very soft, mushy texture. This entree would’ve been perfect if the shrimp was more firm.
Choco Wasabi Salmon was “grilled salmon served with wasabi honey sauce decorated with basils.” Just like my shrimp, I enjoy my salmon to have some firmness. In firmness levels, the salmon was like a bean bag chair when it should’ve been a Tempur-Pedic mattress. This salmon could’ve taken some lessons from a Tuna Steak. MAN UP YOU STUPID LIMP SALMON! The sauce that it was bathing in had a very deep flavor but was overpowered by struggling sweet and salty flavors. There wasn’t much trace of the wasabi flavor either.
Ninja New York is an excellent novelty restaurant, and perfect for a night out with a group of friends. It offers a superior atmosphere and great service. Pay a visit for the experience rather than it’s Japanese fare. I would’ve enjoyed my selections more if they weren’t as fancy schmancy. I could also do without the cameo from the magician before dessert. I despise that almost as much as having a girl come over to my table to make balloon animals.
25 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013