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This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the October 16, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Out to Lunch: A Find on Nassau Street
For nearly 15 years there has been a bagel restaurant
at 179 Nassau Street, next to Thomas Sweet. Now, after a major renovation,
the long cafeteria-style counter at which customers stood while pondering
the choices (poppy seed or sesame bagel? scallion or walnut cream
cheese?) is gone. So is cooler stocked with Orangina, and the close-up
look at bagels in the making. Nassau Bagel lives, but now occupies
a small space directly on Nassau Street.
The star now is sushi. Charlie Choi, who has been preparing sushi
for 25 years, mostly in Greenwich Village and in northern New Jersey,
bought the space 18 months ago and opened Nassau Sushi in early September.
From the start, he wanted to serve Asian food, and began renovating
the restaurant in the spring.
Formerly a lively mix of brightly-colored panels with a wall of windows
and skylights above, the space is now a soothing white. Long prints
of tranquil scenes in shades of blue and green — a fisherman and
a breaking wave — decorate the back wall. Bamboo sculpture runs
along the side walls, and a little grove of faux evergreens hung with
white lanterns add color.
Toward the front of the restaurant, once a long check-out area, there
is a wooden, six-seat counter. Throughout the restaurant screens made
of blonde wood with white inserts separate the well-spaced tables,
breaking up the room nicely and affording privacy. A new carpet, in
earth tones, softens the space. The overall effect is calm, and quiet,
a fine setting for a restful lunchtime conversation.
Cuisine is a mix of Korean and Japanese. Choi says two early favorites
are Bibim Bop ($9.99) and Hwe Dup Bop ($13.99). The former is mixed
vegetables and meat over rice with hot sauce, while the latter is
fresh sashimi-style slices of yellowtail, tuna, snapper, and salmon
served with mixed greens over rice.
There are a number of stir-fry choices, including calamari stir-fry
($12.99), spicy seafood stir-fry ($12.99), and tofu and vegetable
stir-fry ($10.99). Korean barbeque entres include Kalbi Gui, marinated
sirloin ($15.99) and Pork Bulgogi, sliced pork loin with hot sauce
($12.99). Among teriyaki offerings are shimp, seafood, salmon, and
beef, all $13.95. Appetizers, priced at $4.99 to $7.99, include shrimp,
vegetable, and soft shell crab tempura, scallion pancake, and shrimp
Then, of course, there is sushi, with prices ranging from $15.99 for
seven pieces of assorted sushi and tuna roll to $59.99 for a Nassau
Love Boat, containing 24 pieces of assorted sushi.
Our sushi tester had this to say: "Good sushi and a nice selection,
with no scrimping on the size of the pieces. Often I am disappointed
with the whitefish, and this was the best whitefish I’ve had in a
long time. The tuna had no fiber in it, and the yellowtail was also
excellent — a nice dining experience."
Lunch box specials are served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Most are
priced between $7.99 and $9.99. In addition to tempura, teriyaki,
and sushi, specials include Soon Doo Bu, soft tofu and seafood casserole
with special sauce; Ton Katsu, Japanese style deep fried cutlet with
tokatsu sauce; and Futomaki, an omelette, crab stick, and vegetables
rolled in seasoned rice and seaweed.
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
every day except Sunday, when it opens at 2:30 p.m. Lunch from 11:30
a.m. until 2 p.m. Credit cards. BYOB. 609-497-3275.
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