Restaurant Review #242: Oriental Empire (Red Bank, NJ)

With a name like “Oriental Empire”, you may be inclined to think this place was nothing more than a takeout joint. That’s what I thought as I walked past this establishment for years, never bothering to look inside. I was wrong! Justin and I both had some time off yesterday, and decided to head to…

Restaurant Review #190: Kyoto (Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

This was a spur-of-the-moment visit. Justin and I were looking to grab a relatively light lunch before heading to the beach. We were thinking of trying a diner when I was reminded of Kyoto, one of the newer restaurants to open up in Atlantic Highlands. For me, as someone in town several times a week,…

Restaurant Review #162: UJ’s Asian Bistro (Hazlet, NJ)

I saw the sign going up for a new Asian fusion restaurant coming to my hometown of Hazlet. I thought, “Do we really need another one?” There are several takeout joints in this area, and the one sit-down place which arrived last year was, in my eyes, a bombastic failure. Maybe we should just leave…

Restaurant Review #145: Nakayama Sushi (Hazlet, NJ)

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…

Restaurant Review #134: Zhang’s Grille (Holmdel, NJ)

Every once in a while I have a dining experience that leaves me at a loss for words. On this rare occasion, I try my best to just put my head down and churn out a review to the best of my abilities. A recent visit to the newly opened Zhang’s Grille in Holmdel (formerly…

Restaurant Review #132: Nemo (Keyport, NJ)

The tour of Keyort continues… I ate here just two days after my dad passed away, so I was not in the frame of mind to review this immediately or take any pictures of the food like I usually do. I had received a gift card from a student of mine, and that night seemed…

Restaurant Review #113: Ichiban 18 (East Brunswick, NJ)

We stopped at Ichiban for some late night drinks and snacks with friends a couple of weeks ago. It was the first time I had been in the place since it was Shogun years earlier. It looked exactly the same. The sushi bar and tables in the front, a circular bar, and hibachi grills in…

Restaurant Review #111: Tokyo Diner (Lancaster, PA)

There have only been a few dining experiences in my life that I would classify as “mind-boggling”. The other night at the Tokyo Diner would be one of them, though not in an entirely negative way. You may think we were asking for it, going to a sushi place in the middle of Amish country….

Restaurant Review #88: Toki (Red Bank, NJ)

Japanese and sushi places are getting to be a dime a dozen, but I would be inclined to expect more when said restaurant is located in Red Bank. Housed in what used to be the old Broadway Grill, Toki managed to exceed my expectations. Right off the bat, I was struck with the attentive service. I…