I don’t usually write reviews based on takeout, but because Nakayama is an actual restaurant and my experiences there in two orders were good, I figured this could stand on its own. My coworker and I wanted a change from Sultan Palace after a couple of greasy, unappetizing meals in the last two months. This place came to mind, located in Hazlet. Neither of us had tried it. So we ordered a couple of sushi rolls and some Yaki Udon. When it arrived, we were both surprised at the quality.
The noodles were not greasy, nor were they overly salty. The vegetables were sliced razor-thin, and broke apart in my mouth. There was a light sauce on them, which splattered as I slurped them off my chopsticks. My friend loved her sushi, while I thought the sweet potato roll was as good as I’ve had anywhere. It was Tempura fried, so it added some crunch to the delicate rice and seaweed wrapping. The first thing I noticed about Nakayama is that the prices are considerably lower for sushi. Many places get at least $5.99 for basic rolls, and some are more than that. Here, they start at $3.99. The sizes are a little smaller, but it is worth it if you are making a dinner out of sushi and are ordering multiple rolls. You’ll end up having more cash in your pocket.
More recently, I went to order again. I wanted something different, so I got the curry chicken dinner. It was $10.25, so a little more expensive than what the Chinese takeout places charge. But it came with a salad and soup (which I was not aware of) as well as a bowl of white rice. However, this curry was a lot different than the Chinese ones. This was an actual curry: thick, luscious, and creamy. Perhaps they used coconut milk? It was better than some curries I’ve had in Thai restaurants. An adequate amount of chicken was to be found, along with ample onions, potatoes, and carrots. I was pleasantly surprised and more than satisfied. A side of plain Udon noodles (extra garlic) really hit the spot as I saved them for later on in the night. My only complaint on them was (ironically) the price. For $4.25, the portion was small (and the menu said they were $3.50). Not a big deal.
Out of two orders and multiple items in each, the only one we did not like was the Tempura Vegetable appetizer. I suppose that is my own fault for ordering something fried through takeout. It took about 50 minutes to arrive, and by that time, the steam from being inside the container negated any crispness that should have been there. Portion size was fine. Another minor complaint was the side of sauce. It seemed like plain soy, not the thicker, sweeter dipping sauce I am accustomed to.
I was just remarking to a friend the other day that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good takeout Asian food. As I’ve detailed in other posts, there are so many Chinese/Japanese/Thai/fusion places around here that you will get dizzy keeping track. All have their pros and cons, but none are outstanding. Nakayama did not give me the greatest food either, but I loved that curry. It’s the first time I’ve said, “Wow!” to a takeout order in quite some time. I feel like 4 stars is too high, and 3.5 is not enough, but I am going to have to go with 3.5 out of 5 stars. That’s solid to me. I would try them for dinner one night in-house. This is a great alternative to the takeout you’re probably used to if you live in the area.
Side note: There is a $15 minimum when ordering delivery (with no added delivery charge).
Nakayama Sushi is located at 745 Poole Avenue in Hazlet, New Jersey