By SUSAN ERICSON
Where can you find dependably fresh and tasty sushi in Red Bank? The Bistro on Broad Street has been a go-to restaurant for years and the place where we first introduced our kids to raw fish and chop sticks.
PieHole‘s latest visit, though, was no ordinary business lunch; it was, rather, a celebration of sorts. The daughter I was lunching with is moving on: new apartment and job transfer making our ladies-who-lunch dates a thing of the past. Our decision to have sushi at the Bistro was a calculation in nostalgia.
Open-air dining, sidewalk table service, a sushi bar and a large separated dining room provide plenty of seating, but the comfortable vineyard-style decor in this restaurant keeps it from feeling cavernous.
We ordered a Spider Roll ($15) and a Rainbow roll ($13). The Spider Roll is filled from one end to the other with tempura-battered, deep-fried soft-shell crab. With crisp fresh cucumber twigs, and slightly warm crab, the nori wrapped, vinagered rice filled bites are like a mini explosion in the mouth. Tsumi – or sweet, thickened soy sauce striping this sushi roll – makes dipping it into the side dish of soy sauce unnecessary.
The Rainbow Roll is a favorite. If you like the soft, buttery texture of fresh tuna, salmon or sea bass, then this is the roll for you. Again, cucumber adds crunch and nori holds it all together, but this roll is also wrapped up in slices of sweet, creamy avocado. The sprinkling of masago, or tiny fish roe eggs, ignites that tiny burst of pleasure on top.
When the Bistro opened, many raised eyebrows wondered whether a restaurant could produce decent sushi alongside pizza, salads and more traditional entrees under the same roof. This is one of the few restaurants that have successfully navigated years of change in Red Bank. Even though other things come and go in our lives, the Bistro stands the test of time and still turns out excellent sushi.