Ocean county, NJ is not known for it's restaurants. There are a few that people travel to just to sample the menu and this small Chinese Bistro and Oyster bar has that type of power.
Starters. MAKE A RESERVATION. They fill up quick. I have only walked in successfully for lunch. Weekends, especially in the summer should be two weeks in advanced at least. Also, it is BYOB. There is a sushi bar, but no cocktail bar. There is no corkage fee or drink fee.
The ingredients are fresh and the menu is simple with some classics and some inspired twists on classics. The pricing is on par with higher end restaurants in the area but the quality is top notch and I left happy to be paying the price for the meal I had just devoured.
The sushi is excellent. We have had sashimi and it was clean and bright with a fresh taste and also sampled some of the newer rolls such as the Painted Lady (Lobster, Mango, Asparagus) and the Coconut Shrimp Roll. They are delicious to say the least with clean flavors that allow you to taste each ingredient. They also have sushi appetizers which are plated simply with bright colors. We had the yellow-tail with jalapeno in Yuzu. Very bright almost citris soy with the soft yellowtail that balanced out the razor thin slices of jalapeno. The Treasure Island appetizer is beautiful. With green avocado, pink salmon, and red tuna you almost don't want to eat it. That would be bad! It is delicious and full flavored.
The oysters are fresh and cleaned. The gloss and textures are nice. I had the Kumamoto oysters, which are smaller sweet oysters from Washington. The sauce they give you is spicy but not really needed due to the quality of the oysters.
I highly recommend the Steamed Duck Buns for an appetizer. The light pillows of dough have the hearty rich duck center that makes you want to order a dozen. Must try!
My favorite main course is the Whole Fish Wok Fried. I had it with sea bass. It was incredibly delicious and cooked to perfection. You do need to be careful of the bones. It is a little messy for a nicer restaurant, but the presentation of having a whole fish placed in front of you (head and tail included) while diners around you salivate is worth the added work. It comes with vegetables and rice, which again was delicious but secondary to everything.
Have also had the Walnut Shrimp. The creamy white sauce is light, and paired with the Strawberries gives the Shrimp a fuller taste. The shrimp are huge and beautifully cooked. The walnuts add a great crunch and pair easily with the softness of the strawberries.
I thought service was top notch. The waiters and waitresses were extremely knowledgeable. Most knew ingredients and flavors spot on. Impressive for a younger group of workers.
Overall, spend the money. Try this place. I don't think you will be disappointed. Yes, it is small, and can be loud. And, I actually have been seated by the bathroom. The food is the star! Forget everything else and come out and enjoy!
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