980 Shrewsbury Avenue
Tinton Falls, NJ 07724
We had a plan to go to the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets, but knew we'd be out at a time that would interfere with making dinner, so I turned to the internet to find an interesting restaurant in the area. A little bit of looking on urbanspoon brought me to Kanji, which looked interesting and sounded delicious.
We had never taken our boys to sushi before, because we figured they wouldn't eat it and what else would there be on the menu for them to eat? I finally got smart and called--I was told we could order hibachi at a sushi table! (It makes total sense, but my husband always maintained you couldn't do it.)
As soon as we walked in the door, the hostess remembered my call and was really nice to my boys. I don't know if she overheard our conversation about asking our server for training chopsticks for my 4 year old, but brought them right over to us. (As a random aside, it wasn't until he'd finished eating that he asked for crayons, which of course he gets at pretty much every other restaurant we go to. They didn't seem to have any, but I love that it took him that long to ask for them!)
The ambiance here is incredible. From the moment you walk in, you forget you're in a strip mall and feel so relaxed, and in my case, just a little less uncool. To me, it felt very NYC, but I don't dine in NYC as much as many others who could easily argue with me.
We both chose The Chef's Choice Sushi Platter, which came with soup and salad. The ginger dressing on the salad is the best I've ever had at a hibachi place; I honestly thought this was a salad I just didn't like, but it was delicious and amazing at Kanji. I wasn't nuts about the soup we were given, but still ate about half of it. This was just the right amount of food for my husband, but a few pieces of sushi too much for me.
So, this was my first time eating sushi at a real sushi restaurant (at least, as far as I can recall). We've gone out for sushi, but I've been pregnant. I thought the sushi here was amazing--super fresh, great texture, and delicious. My husband felt it was pretty comparable to the other sushi places we've tried.
Now, let's talk about kid-friendly. At first glance, I'd say no. In reality, though, it was very kid friendly. Along with my two kids, there was another baby there, probably 10 months old, and another kid over in the hibachi area. As I said, the hostess made my kids feel totally welcome and also had trainer chopsticks for my son, and the regular chopsticks made great banging toys for my one year old. My four year old ordered shrimp hibachi, which he shared with his brother. It was a ton of food! Both boys liked it, and my husband and I thought it was the best hibachi rice we've ever had. My husband commented that usually at hibachi, you get EITHER rice or noodles, but my son got both, and I thought the vegetables looked better than what we've gotten at other hibachi restaurants (I saw broccoli and carrots that looked incredibly fresh).
So, while the bill may have been higher than we'd have paid at a more traditional restaurant, we got delicious food, a ton of leftovers, and a much more interesting experience. I'd also wager that, with the exception of the hibachi meal, our sushi dinners were far more healthful than anything we'd get at a more traditional restaurant.