Nestled along the banks of the Hudson River in Edgewater, NJ is a tiny enclave, housing a bit of Japan called Mitsuwa Market. It’s basically a supermarket, a small department store (almost like a variety store), a ceramics store, bookstore, and most importantly a food court, specializing in all things Japanese. It is this last item that I am writing about because it is amazing (I’m sure there are a lot of people who will agree with me as evidenced by the crowd every weekend). I have to admit that I am rather addicted to this place and make it a point to have lunch there every time we are in New Jersey. which is often. The running joke is when we cross into NJ close to lunch time, I always ask “Where do you want to go for lunch?” knowing that this is a rhetorical question since I’m already making a beeline for Mitsuwa and my passengers have no choice really.
Click on this link for the store directory and floor plan to see the various food stalls and offerings: http://www.mitsuwa.com/locations/edgewater/floorplan/
Our favorites are: Wateisyoku Kaneda, Santuoka Ramen, Tendon Hannosuke, and Daikichi Sushi (located in the supermarket).
Wateisyoku Kaneda – offers a variety of traditional Japanese foods, from Udon and Soba noodle dishes, to Donburi (Rice bowl dishes) to set meals. We love their grilled Saba (Mackerel) dinner set. The Mackerel fillet is grilled over an open flame, lightly salted and served with steamed spinach, lemon, shredded Daikon Radish, a bowl of steamed rice, miso soup and a variety of small side dishes. The fish is firm, slightly salty, with a lemony tang from the fresh lemon, and an umami component from the radish drenched with soy sauce, further complemented with the creaminess of the steamed rice – delicious!
Tendon Hannosuke – serves a variety of tempura dishes either as Donburi (Rice bowl dishes) or Dinner sets. We typically order either the Original Ten Don Bowl or the Tempura dinner. In either case, you will get batter coated shirmp, white fish, vegetables, a fried shiso leaf, and a soft boiled egg. The difference is that the bowl combines them all in one container over a bed of steamed rice with the tempura sauce poured all over it. Unlike the tempura served in the typical food court which is soggy, thick, oily and covered in gooey “tempura” sauce, Hannosuke’s tempura is crisp with a light batter and a light tempura sauce. The Daikon Radish infused tempura sauce and soft boiled egg when combined with the steamed rice adds another layer of flavor to an already flavorful dish. My mouth is watering as I type this. My complaint about this place is that it takes a while to get your order (20 – 30 mins) and the shrimp is not as big as I would like them to be (I guess that’s why they are called shrimps).
Santuoka Ramen – If you live in New Jersey and are hankering for good, quality, hand crafted Ramen, without having to go into NYC, this is the only place I know of that fits the bill. Their Ramen soup base is thick, silky, and intensely flavorful, while the ramen noodles are cooked to a nice chewy consistency. For better Ramen you will just have to grit your teeth and drive into NYC.
For dessert, we like to go to Hamada Ya Bakery for some An Pan and An Donuts and Oishinbo Snack Bar for some Green Tea Soft Ice Cream. An Pans are red bean paste filled fried dough balls while An Doughnuts are twisted pieces of fried dough coated with granulated sugar. The difference between these doughnuts and say a Dunkin’ Donut is that the former has a chewier consistency.
It is always fun to go to Mitsuwa Market because they frequently have events where they showcase foods from certain parts of Japan like Osaka, Hokkaido, etc. They also have a Tuna festival where they bring in a whole Blue Fin Tuna, carve it on the spot to make sushi and sashimi. You can’t get any fresher than that!
The only fly in the ointment is that the place gets packed on the weekends so parking can be a challenge. It goes without saying that the food court is jammed as well, so you may have to wait quite a while to get a seat, especially when there is an event so plan accordingly.