As sushi has gained in popularity, a new breed of sushi bar has sprung up, typically owned by enterprising Korean and Chinese immigrants. The best of these places—informally known as sushiyas, Japanese for sushi house—take the cuisine seriously and execute it well.
One such is the Chinese-owned Mitsuba, which opened in Chatham this winter and has earned a local following. Sushi chef Michael Yu grew up in mainland China and apprenticed in Hong Kong. Arriving in the United States in 1994, he worked in sushiyas in Manhattan and Westchester. Yu owns Mitsuba with three other partners, all from Hong Kong or mainland China.
Yu and his sushi copilot, Allen Wang, can be relied on for glisteningly fresh rolls and assortments that engage the eye and please the palate. The Volcano roll lives up to its name: spicy tuna and yellowtail lurk inside, while flying-fish roe daubed with chili sauce augments the fireworks. The menu cries out for photographs to help diners choose from among the more than two dozen special rolls. Fortunately, it’s hard to go astray.
Sushi assortments are fun, too. The Love Boat is a miniature wooden ship laden with ultra-fresh sushi and sashimi. Perched on the stern is an imperious, eight-piece Spider roll made of soft-shell crab tempura and crunchy, toasty puffed rice.
The kitchen shows its Chinese pedigree with tasty dim sum-style starters, including potstickers and shumai dumplings. But Mitsuba’s cooked Japanese food is not quite as dependable as its Chinese appetizers or the sushi bar. Miso soup was bland, as was ishikari nabe, a seafood stew. Yet sukiyaki soup, brimming with lean slices of beef, chunks of tofu, chopped scallions, shiitakes, and clear noodles, was a joy. The richly beefy broth was vividly flavored with soy sauce and sweet mirin rice wine.—K.T.H.
237 Main Street, Chatham (973-635-3888), mitsuba.com. Lunch: Monday through Friday, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm; Saturday, noon to 2:30 pm. Dinner: Monday through Thursday, 4:30 to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday, 4:30 to 10:30 pm; Sunday, 4 to 10 pm. All major credit cards are accepted. Wheelchair access is easy to most of the dining room and to restrooms.Click here to leave a comment
- Cuisine Type:Asian - Japanese
- Price Range:Moderate
- Service:Young and hard-working
- Wine list:BYO