Sushi Quest: Braggarts and Bathroom Posters


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.

After parking, we entered through the back entrance. I peeked down the hall and noticed that there weren’t any people sitting in the dining area. An employee walked by and I asked him “Are you guys open?” He followed up with “Not until 3:00 PM.” It was only a little after 2:00 PM at that point and I didn’t feel like waiting that long to eat. After growing more frustrated, we walked around to the front entrance and discovered that the restaurant was definitely open. There were people sitting in the seating area outside and in the front of the restaurant inside. I asked the waiter why the guy in the back of the restaurant told me they weren’t open yet and he said “Oh, he works at a different restaurant so he probably thought you meant his restaurant.” That didn’t register with me on a couple of levels. First, he was wearing the exact same black uniform the other Bistro employees were, so he couldn’t have been some nomadic waiter squatting at different restaurants in Red Bank until the one he works at opened. Secondly, if I asked him the question while standing INSIDE The Bistro, wouldn’t that obviously have meant that I was inquiring about the hours of the restaurant we were in at that moment? What an idiot.

On any typical day I would’ve grew angry and wondered how they could employ someone who lacked the ability to make sense of such a simple question. I took a deep breath, enjoyed the sunshine, salad, and sushi. Then as soon as I was beginning to calm down, a fire alarm started to ring across the street. A fair amount of smoke began to come out of a construction area in one of the storefronts.
While this emergency was going down, and the fire engine barreled down the street, a very snotty couple sitting beside us would not shut up. It seemed that this middle aged brunette with average looks, and a 60 something gray haired schlub, possibly her date, were off in their own world. The schlub kept talking about the 110-inch screen in his home theater room that he just had installed. I’m amazed at how many rich people walk around looking like they’re homeless but will brag about their possessions until you want to smack them in the mouth. Did I mention his exercise room? How could I miss that? He listed each feature of his fitness room including treadmills and free weights, but it was abundantly clear that he never touched any of that equipment EVER! In case you were curious, the seemingly unimpressed middle aged brunette will be making a move to Buenos Aires before summer and she’s also teaching in South Africa for part of the year. Hey schlubby, you should know that a big TV screen isn’t what impresses a woman, it’s how much of your fortune you’re willing to shell out to her!
‘The rich. You know why they’re so odd? Because they can afford to be.” – Alexander Knox, Batman (1989)
The day became even more interesting when I made a trip to the bathroom. As I walked up to the urinal, I noticed the poster on the wall in front of me said “What Movie…Whose Line? 101 Classic Movie Quotes.” I never would’ve made the correlation between the act of guessing movie lines and pissing in a urinal, but it’s a damn good idea. Let’s take it to the next level and lobby to have small LCD screens with movies and trivia games installed right above every urinal and toilet. This would prevent rogue piss droplets being sprayed all over by guys who can’t aim. This poster is effective for guys who can’t seem to look straight ahead when doing their business. There’s no reason why a guy should be looking over at another guy, but if you just can’t help yourself then it should be the mission of the proprietor to keep you entertained. A word of advice to all owners of establishments with bathrooms: Buy entertaining posters, it keeps guys focused!
One of the first quotes I managed to glance at was awesome: “Goblin King! Goblin King! Wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!” – Sarah, Labyrinth (1986)

Novelty Nosh: Ninja New York Japanese Restaurant


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