Komegashi too is a fine Japanese fusion restaurant with an extensive sushi and sake menu, two large dining rooms and a sushi bar. In the heart of Newport's financial district, the spacious bar area is inviting, and an upbeat nightlife crowd gathers during happy hour and on the weekends. Order the sake if you dare to be hip, and try a martini while you're at it.
"We aim at offering patrons a complete dining experience," said Johnny Leung, Komegashi's owner. "The lunch crowd frequents us, and we are seeing an increase in nightlife."
Leung opened "too" three years ago, and he still operates the original Komegashi on Montgomery Street. He has been a visionary of downtown Jersey City's progress.
When he opened Komegashi in the early '90s, there were only a handful of other restaurants, and vandalism was prevalent, he said. After several years of heavy development on the city's gold coast, business improved, and Leung decided to branch out.
So far, the decision has been wise. Serving fine sushi from prestigious fish markets from New Jersey and New York City, the Komegashis are well known by area residents and working professionals.
"We have become a part of the community. People come back because they have enjoyed our food and our service," Leung said.
The award-winning chefs specialize in a variety of rolls like the Black Dragon ($16.95), which is cucumber topped with eel; tempura ($8.50), avocado with two pieces of shrimp wrapped with tobiko; Funky Monkey ($8.95), spicy tuna, shrimp, and crabmeat topped with tobiko; smoked super tiger ($13.50), crab, tobiko and avocado topped with smoked salmon and eel; and King-Komegashi ($15.95), king crab, tuna, and salmon topped with avocado.
In addition to the sushi menu, executive chef Tom Kurokawa offers patrons American fusion entrees and a vegetarian selection. The wait staff is attentive and very knowledgeable of the cuisine and the restaurant also validates parking.
I began my meal at "too" with a tall half-pint of cold akita sake. While drinking the smooth traditional beverage, I enjoyed the smokey volcano ($8) appetizer. Smoked salmon, eel and avocado were served with sweet and spicy sauce topped with tobiko and scallion. Other appetizers include usuzukuri ($14.25), which is thin sliced fresh fluke with ponzu sauce; tako negi ($7.75), sliced octopus with scallion and ponzu sauce; edamame ($4.50), steamed soy beans; and yakitori ($5.95), skewed chicken broiled in teriyaki sauce.
I then had miso soup ($2) and homemade gyoza ($6.95). The soup was not salty, and it was prepared in a soy bean paste broth with scallion, seaweed and bean curd. The fried pork gyozas (dumplings) were served with mustard and green peas. They are a popular bar appetizer, said Leung.
Just as my appetite increased, the server brought out the Godzilla roll ($10.95). It wasn't named after the larger-than-life creature for nothing. The huge dish came with yellowtail, salmon, fried rice with spicy sauce, and scallion, and was topped with tobiko. I dipped the pieces in nuta (soy sauce), and sipped the akita between takes. The exquisite sushi bar platter is a favorite among Komegashi regulars.
I also tried the lamb chops ($24.50). Broiled in Komegashi's special aromatic sauce, the entrée was a delicious alternative to sushi. Well presented in a fancy tray, the meat was tender and it slid right off the bone effortlessly.
For dessert I tried the bananas foster ($5.50) with coffee. Served with caramel sauce, the vanilla ice cream was adorned with bananas and sautéed in spicy rum.
Komegashi too is located at 99 Pavonia Ave. in Jersey City. They deliver throughout the downtown area, and their hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (lunch), and 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (dinner); and Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. For information call (201) 533-8888 or visit www.komegashi.com.