The restaurant is much bigger than it looks from outside. Tokugawa has 20 tables and a wide combination of entrees, appetizers, and special rolls, in which Lee takes the most pride.
Lee raised the bar high - importing ingredients from Japan and offering more than 30 kinds of sushi rolls - and he delivered.
My fiancé and I recently ate at Tokugawa on a Thursday at 7 p.m. and watched the establishment slowly fill up with commuters and small families.
The décor and music were tasteful - hardwood floors, and sultry, soft tunes. Lee talked about the high standards of Hoboken's uptown residents, and noted that he handles many requests for special kinds of rolls.
We started out with appetizers, some of which were on the menu, and some of which were on the "specials" list. Most appetizers are in the $6 to $10 range.
We tried the Kobe beef wrap - seared beefsteak, avocado, and sliced apple. Although I am generally more a fish-eater than a meat-eater, I loved the delicious taste, and my cohort and I polished off the entire appetizer.
We then moved on to the very popular "honey salmon," which is marinated salmon wrapped around spicy crunchy tuna, served with wasabi mayonnaise. I could see why it was so popular - the sweet taste made it quite a treat.
The presentation of each appetizer was also impeccable, with sauces drizzled cleanly around the plate.
Another perfect appetizer was the Flamingo, which contained fresh guacamole (made fresh in the restaurant!), chunks of salmon, a creamy coconut dressing, and fish roe, all on a thin chip. See the photo with this article. We enjoyed an appetizer with raw scallops, something I'd never had before but definitely recommend, and tuna carpaccio, seared slices of tuna with apple salsa.
Of course, you're there for the sushi rolls - and those who know good sushi will be pleased with Tokugawa. Chef's special rolls range from $10 to $16, while regular rolls range from $3 to $6.50.
They import $50-a-pound fatty tuna for their Samurai roll, a special roll with yellowtail, avocado, and a pure gold leaf sheet that also come from Japan. It tasted as good as it looked. The Samurai is their most expensive roll at $16, but it's worth it.
The Passion Roll was for people who, like me, enjoy sweet treats. It contained crunchy tuna, eel, mango salsa, and caviar. It's a good roll to entice your date with.
Other special rolls range from the lobster roll (lobster, asparagus and mayonnaise with assorted fish eggs on top) to the Imperial (eel, avocado, shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and marble seaweed).
Everything we had was delicious and made with fresh ingredients by trained chefs.
In addition to special rolls and regular rolls, there are also several sushi bar entrees, served with soup or salad. One example is the "paradise plate," which includes three pieces each of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail, along with a dragon roll. Sushi bar entrees range from $14 to $25.
Teriyaki, tempura, and noodles
Like any other Japanese restaurant, Tokugawa offers a range of tempura (fried) and teriyaki (special sauce) entrees. They are served with soup or salad, and rice. Those entrees range from $11 to $16.
We requested the shrimp teriyaki. My shrimp-loving companion wolfed down most of it, even after having sated himself on the aforementioned rolls and entrees. The dish was sizzling and delicious, with the shrimp and vegetables basting in their sweet, hot teriyaki sauce.
The restaurant also offers "dinner boxes" for $20 including a kind of teriyaki, sushi rolls, shrimp and vegetable tempura, rice, and a soup or salad.
In addition, there are five Japanese noodle dishes ranging from $9 to $12. They often include noodles, tempura, fish, and vegetables.
Desert and drinks
The restaurant offers a few special desserts from $4.50 to $6, including pastries, tempura ice cream (red bean or green tea ice cream), and banana tempura with strawberry and ice cream.
They do not serve alcohol, but you are invited to bring your own. Several liquor stores are within a two-block radius.
The restaurant replaced the old "Front Page" Chinese take-out establishment, which was also owned by Lee. His new restaurant offers a number of lunch specials and boxes every day until 4 p.m.
Since they are relatively new, they are also currently offering a grand opening special, 15 percent off everything until the end of September.
The telephone numbers are (201) 795-1827 and (201) 420-7197. They deliver.
Tokugawa at 1120 Washington St. is open seven days, 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m.