Sushi Friday

mrj

Mr J Asian Bistro

This post represents an exception to the rule against eating sashimi at fusion restaurants necessitated by a trip to the Shoreline. The secondary factor is the decline of strictly Japanese restaurants of good quality in favor of show places with winking lights and dishes with lots of crunch that veer in the direction of the dreaded PuPu platter.

What I like: The little chichi plaza offers plenty of free parking and a traffic light to let drivers on to Route 1, which grows more insane as the Shoreline marches toward full summer. Fusion Mr J’s falls on the conservative side in terms of décor with a touch of jade-looking something, Imari replicas, etc. No blaring TV or hardcore rap on Pandora or whatever created a feeling of serenity. The loudest noise aside from the exclamations of a young someone who had left for thirty minutes to find an ATM (there was one across the street) came from the air conditioner kicking on and off. The best feature: value for size and price and general freshness with nine pieces of fish for $11. That landed Mr J’s on the fabulous side. Plus the ginger without dye made my taste buds wish for rice, which is not included. I resisted. The wasabi broke up easily, a sign of freshness.

In between: The service is … serviceable with a bit of difficulty in  communication but no intrusiveness. The miso soup had a good mild savory flavor with modest amounts of tofu and wakame. The massive number of scallion slices overwhelmed everything with the half-inch thick cut and too much of the sharp green stems. The fish, on balance, represented good value. The three pieces of buttery salmon and two of striped bass equaled the best I’ve had. One of the two fluke pieces had rested in the cooler too long while the tuna lacked any flavor or character.

What I didn’t like: At forty-two miles roundtrip Mr J’s represents a commitment I’d be reluctant to make regularly. The sushi bar stools make diners feel like Lily Tomlin’s  Edith Ann. The dining counter reminds me of the places in Denmark that were high enough to help shot drinkers get the booze into their mouths and not all over the bar. Here the arrangement  hinders the consumption of food. The unresponsive  sushi chefs work behind a curtain of refrigerated shelves and set their creations on top so the diners can’t watch art in the making.

Grade: B because of the freshness of the fish

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