Thursday, July 14, 2011
JJ’s - Revisiting an Old Gem
After a very long hiatus, I returned back to JJ’s for a nice farewell dinner for friends, Harlan and Rachel, together with Meg and Tom. We’ve all been dying to go back and actually Meg and Tom hadn’t yet been so they were extra excited to try this Asian fusion eatery. Even though not everything we had was new, it was wonderful to re-order some of the old favorites we knew and loved.
Seaweed Salad – I’ve had this appetizer many a times in other Asian restaurants, but not yet at JJ’s. It was a perfect starter that was light, refreshing and provided nice toothsomeness with each bite. Sesame seeds were sprinkled throughout, which added yet another crunchy element.
Tuna Belly Special – A special appetizer of the day, we were intrigued to try it and loved it. Due to its rare preparation, you really tasted the quality of the fish that was dressed with a lovely, miso –based sauce and topped with Asian spices. This was definitely more for adventurous foodies, but Tom was a good sport by digging in and appreciating it for the delicacy it was.
Yellowtail Special – Another interesting starter dish, this one was also on the semi-raw side and dressed with a similar sauce as the tuna belly. The most interesting element of the dish were the accoutrements including thin, crunchy apple slices, and sprouts. Everyone at the table remarked at how spectacular and different it was, further proving that specials are definitely worth trying here.
Pork Gyoza – I’ve had this here before but was excited to get it again because quite frankly, who doesn’t love a yummy pork dumpling?! The consensus about this dish was that it was aaawesome. A little crunchy and well done on the outside, the inside was soft and moist, packed with deliciously flavorful pork. We dipped each piece in soy sauce and savored each bite.
Edamame Potstickers – This is the dish that JJ’s is known for and we couldn’t not get it. Soft, gooey dumplings dressed with creamy edamame sauce, their inside also boasted this lovely filling. I happened to enjoy them, but some of my dining companions thought they weren’t up to snuff. The only criticism I’d have is that the dumpling dough could’ve been a little firmer.
Sushi Assortment – This was the piece-de-resistance of our meal, as we got an assortment of four different types of sushi and a couple of sashimi pieces too. Out of the rich variety, my favorites were the sweet potato tempura roll and the spicy yellowtail roll. I loved the former because of its sweet decadence, and the fried aspect also ramped up the indulgence factor. In terms of the yellowtail, once again the fish was of great quality and so fresh. I also loved the extra texture from the fish eggs on the outside of the roll – just fantastic!
Green Tea Crepe – As if we didn’t have enough food, we decided to go all way and get dessert. Well actually I just had a bite of Meg and Tom’s green tea crepe, but still, I couldn’t believe I even had room for that. This was one of the more interesting dishes, as I’ve never seen a crepe look like a cake. Made up of many, many layers of extra thin, green tea crepes, it was stacked and then cut into a triangular cake-like piece. I took a bite and really enjoyed its gentle, delicate flavor, further enhancing that with good quality vanilla ice cream that came on the side.
Service and Cost:
Our server was wonderful and very very quick. He made some nice recommendations when we needed them and did a good job of keeping us satisfied. I liked that he poured our sake each time and explained a little bit about the variety we were drinking. He was fast with the check too, yet didn’t make us feel rushed at all, despite the restaurant being pretty crowded on a Friday night.
Costs continue to be very moderate here, and for the elaborate meal I just described, we paid an (drumroll…) astonishing $25 including tax and tip.
JJ’s - 37-05 31st Avenue, Astoria NY 11103
N/Q Train to Broadway