February 20, 2012

Mitsuwa - A Buzzing Japanese Food Court/Supermarket

One of the many gems inside Mitsuwa - the Shrimp Tempura Combo (~ $8.50)
With this 50 degree May February weather rolling through this weekend a couple buddies and I decided that Saturday was a perfect day to go spray some golf balls around at the driving range in Edgwater, NJ.  The driving range looks directly over the Hudson River and across to NYC, but the real treat is the Japanese Super Market next door that doubles as a food court.  A couple of my coworkers tipped me off to Mitsuwa - "the jam packed parking lot next to the driving range."  People from all over the tri-state area venture to Mitsuwa for its authentic Japanese offerings and we found out why.  Check out all of the things we tried after the jump.

The space is basically divided in half - one side is a regular grocery store with Asian ingredients adorning each shelf and the other side is a variety of freshly made food offerings from separately operating stores with Japanese names referring to the dishes they serve.

I decided to get some beef curry udon.  The noodles had that wonderful chewy bite that I expect from udon and they sat in a brown curry broth that is something between a slightly salty beef stock and Thanksgiving gravy with some Asian spices.  The beef was sliced razor thing and seasoned well, but had a little more fat than I may have liked.

Beef curry udon - warms the soul ($6.50).
On the side I got an order of 3 edamame fritters for a buck.  How could I say no?  These guys were expertly fried with a nice panko crunch and soft edamame, and what I'm guessing was potato, filling.  They proved to be a great vehicle for each of the sauces from that first picture above - I'll get to those in a second - and I'd get them every time.

Edamame fritters ($1.00)
Logan went with one of his favorite dishes, chicken katsu.  His platter came with a nice size piece of chicken that was very also fried wonderfully.  The platter came with a bed of cabbage, some cold mashed potatoes and carrots, a cup of miso soup with pork, a small side of pickled veggies, and the consummate bowl of rice.  The chicken was crunchy and juicy and the rest of the ingredients were all super fresh and complimented the each other like a harmonious choir.  There were also a few dipping sauces/dressings that really went great with all of the food.  There was a tangy almost licorice-like hoisin bbq sauce, spicy yellow mustard, and the crowd favorite, a lemon sesame sauce that we put on everything (see the first picture in the post for the sauces). 

Chicken katsu platter (~ $8.00)
Matt went with the indulgent shrimp tempura combo platter.  It included all of the accoutrements of Logan's plate (plus a small bowl of sliced mandarin oranges), but the star was the variety of tempura items that lay in the middle of the dish.  We couldn't exactly tell you what had been deep fried, but there was definitely shrimp, a couple pieces of asparagus and cheese (that may have been wrapped in a thin layer of chicken), and something else to be identified on our next visit.  Despite our inability to pinpoint exactly what Matt was eating, it didn't stop him from handing an empty tray to one of the bussers at the meal's end (the whole platter can be seen at the top of this post).

Tempura asparagus, cheese, and what just may be chicken
I finished my meal off with a serving of Black Sesame ice cream...only in a Japanese supermarket, right?  It was kinda nutty and almost had a bit of a chocolaty taste as well.  Don't pass this up if you ever make it to Mitsuwa or see it on any menu.  It's well worth the adventure. 

Black Sesame ice cream - wonderful ($1.99)
Mitsuwa, like any modern supermarket, has stuff for everyone and everything you need.  We saw the Japanese or Asian version of anything you would find in your local Shop Rite, and some stuff you wouldn't...like the heated toilet seat that will even clean and dry your undercarriage.  Matt even found a nice car ornament to rep his home land.  

If you ever get the opportunity, join the masses and check out Mitsuwa, there's something for everyone. 

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