I could live on sushi, no joke. There's something about it that is so different from any other cuisine; perhaps it's the freshness or the fact that something so simple could taste so good, but I love it. So when I was invited to Aji 53 in Cobble Hill for dinner, of course I said yes!
Co-owner Kevin welcomed my friend and I on a cold January evening and proceeded to trick us into thinking it was summer with some sake sangria. I was a little hesitant at first because I'd never thought to mix rice wine with fruit, but the combination actually works quite well!
Next we had our first off-the-menu, the Ocean River ($11) which included spicy lobster and avocado wrapped in salmon and served with ponzu sauce and truffle oil (something I'd never expect to find in a Japanese restaurant, but was perfectly satisfied with the result). This was probably the most typical sushi house appetizer we had, but still very different. I really liked it!
|Blue Crab Fajita|
We also sampled the Aji Sandwich ($11), by far the most unique sushi menu item we had. It was eggplant tempura (reminiscent of eggplant parmesan) layered with spicy lobster, spicy tuna and salmon sashimi all glazed with miso sauce. YUMMO!!
In his initial invitation, Kevin talked up the slow braised, sake marinated Beef Short Ribs ($11), and I was excited to try them. The verdict was a thumbs up from both my friend and I, but they are a bit heavy so I would not recommend eating them after a whole bunch of other appetizers like we tried to do. I felt bad even leaving one bite of these because they were delicious, but the dish was very rich and I had to put my fork down especially since I knew we weren't done yet.
|Beef Short Ribs|
We couldn't leave a sushi bar without trying at least one specialty roll, ok make it two. We had the Boerum Hill Roll (price n/a; spicy crunch scallop and cucumber topped with salmon and avocado and served with yuzu aioli) and the Aji King Roll ($15; king crab, avocado and shrimp roll tempura fried and then sliced, topped with spicy tuna or spicy yellowtail and served with the chef's special sauce).
Aji 53 is a solid sushi option among the many restaurants on Smith Street. It's got something for everyone, whether you're a traditional sushi type of diner or someone who's willing to take risks and mix cuisines. The prices were affordable, the service was superb and the restaurant was spacious and eye catching. I would watch out for the bathroom lock, however, as it didn't seem to quite work for me and I ended up holding the door while I was in there. One small glitch, however, I would highly recommend Aji 53!