The Sushi Lounge, located in the busy downtown area a block away from the police station, has quickly become a hot spot for meeting people and great sushi.
In business since December, lifelong friends Joe McCafferty and Joe Rinaldi came up with the idea of mixing quality Japanese cuisine with a contemporary bar atmosphere.
"The town is ideal for hanging out," McCafferty said. "We came to Hoboken because the sushi place was something it really needed, and things have gone well ever since."
Upon walking in the tall glass doors of the restaurant, customers are greeted by a hostess who puts their names on a list for the next available table. Patrons then wait at the bar where they can order a variety of drinks, appetizers and entrees. On the weekends, they can expect a 10- to 20-minute wait to be seated, time which could easily fly by at the bar talking with friends or meeting people.
The shiny bar top and the large mirrors intertwined with stainless steel designs on the walls give off a modern look. Large windows overseeing the street scenes create a comfortable ambiance to an already upbeat place.
There's a musical director
Weekend musical director Chris Morrison provides an appropriate soundtrack to compliment the dining experience with a blend of music ranging from house to club music.
"I love it here. This is an excellent crowd," Morrison said.
The bar area is crowded yet relaxed. The tables around the bar are set aside for couples, while the area upstairs is best for large dinner parties.
"The weekends have become a crowded hangout place, with lots of people, mostly local residents or area commuters," McCafferty said. "If you like sushi, we are your first choice."
The menu, masterminded by versatile chef Hendra Heung, offers a variety of sushi rolls, appetizers, entrees, teriyaki and vegetarian dishes as well as traditional noodles and desserts. McCafferty recommends everything on the menu.
Specialties include: Hoboken roll ($11.95), deep-fried tuna, salmon, yellowtail and eel; toro roll ($7.50), fatty tuna and scallion; tekka don ($18.95), sliced tuna on a bed of rice; beef negimaki ($11.95), scallions rolled up in a thinly sliced beef served with Japanese barbecue sauce; and chicken with walnuts ($12.95), deep-fried tender breasts of chicken with walnuts and served with tonkatsu sauce.
The service is excellent and the staff is knowledgeable about the food.
I began my meal with a cup of miso soup ($2.25). It was a smooth blend of seaweed, tofu, onion and scallion. That was followed by usozukuri ($7.95) as an appetizer. It was thinly sliced fillet of fluke served with ponzo sauce. I also tasted the sashimi rock, which was steamed fish. I highly recommend that.
Other appetizers include takosu ($6.95), octopus and cucumber served with ponzo sauce; sunomono ($7.25), assorted sashimi and cucumber with ponzo sauce; and ebisu ($6.95), shrimp and cucumber with ponzo sauce. For the main course I enjoyed the chicken katsu ($10.95), deep fried tender breasts of chicken wrapped around cheese and served with tonkatsu sauce. It was delicious and very eloquently served on a traditional flat metal tray. A true chicken lover would love the juicy taste of stuffed chicken with vegetables.
After the entr