Sushi Lounge

Sushi Lounge isn’t the first sushi place I’ve tried in my new hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey, but it is certainly the best so far. The restaurant has three locations in the state with the other two situated in Morristown and Totowa.

The Hudson St location in Hoboken boasts some of the best reviews in town and so far, I can see why.

The food
This spot is by no means an inexpensive one, but the appetizers and rolls are properly proportioned. I dined here with my parents and we ordered three appetizers to start, followed by three special rolls.

We began with the kaiso salad: your typical seaweed salad with sesame seeds, but Sushi Lounge serves theirs with sliced cucumber as well. The vegetables were fresh and there was more than enough to go around.

Then, we had the salmon ceviche: red onion, cucumber, cilantro, radish, and thick pieces of salmon sashimi. Usually, I’m not into ceviche because it typically contains more cilantro than I like, but Sushi Lounge’s ceviche is light on the cilantro with a strong focus on the salmon and cucumbers.

Following the kaiso salad and ceviche, we tasted the Peking duck crepes: barbecue duck breast wrapped in beer crepes with julienne scallions and Chinese barbecue sauce. I don’t have Peking duck often, but it is likely my favorite preparation for duck and Sushi Lounge absolutely crushed it in this dish. The meat was crisp, but juicy, and the barbecue sauce was near perfect.

After the appetizers, we shared three rolls: Jalapeno Salmon Roll (salmon mixed with jalapeno, scallions, and masago wrapped in soypaper and topped with yellowtail and jalapeno dressing), Pacific Roll (spicy tuna and cucumber topped with shrimp tempura, wasabi tobiko, and balsamic emulsion), and Godzilla Roll (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and mango, topped with white fish and spicy mayo).

The rolls were great: creative, well put together, and filling. We had a hard time narrowing down our choices because so many of the rolls at Sushi Lounge are prepared differently than rolls we’ve found elsewhere. This level of creativity can be hard to come by now with so many sushi places offering their personal take on special rolls and the fact that Sushi Lounge does this effortlessly certainly sets it apart.

The drinks

Sushi Lounge’s drinks menu is almost as impressive as their food menu. The restaurant boasts a full bar and an extensive list of cocktails. I had one of their more summery selections: Pimm’s, sake, and citrus juices. I’d not thought to combine Pimm’s and sake before, so I was quite curious to see what the flavor pairing would be like. This cocktail was sweet, but not too sweet and the sake doesn’t get drowned out in the process. I’d certainly drink it again.

My mother is currently on a quest to learn more about the types of beers she enjoys and so she tried the Japanese hefeweizen on offer: Ginga Kogen. I was fortunate enough to taste it as well and thought it was delicious. As a matter of fact, it has an impressive 84-86 percent rating on Beer Advocate. I advised my mom to order her hefeweizen with a lemon, something I learned during my trip to the Harpoon Brewery, and it went well with the Ginga Kogen. I’d go back to Sushi Lounge just for this beer (she would too).

The service/ambience
The service here is nothing special: friendly, attentive, and courteous. The ambience sets this place even further apart from the pack. Plenty of outdoor seating provides a nice, comfortable, and breezy experience just a few blocks from the Hudson River, but indoors the restaurant has much more of a hip lounge feel. Some nights, a DJ is featured for patrons looking to sip their martinis in a more upbeat setting.

All in all, Sushi Lounge exceeded my expectations. Yes, the rolls are a bit pricy (mostly $14-$15), but the drinks are not bad (most martinis are $10-$11) and overall the experience is a big part of this restaurant’s forte. For those looking for something a little different, those few extra bucks may be worth spending.