A couple of nights ago we had a truly terrific exotic experience at Hotoke, in New Brunswick, NJ. Hotoke is an upscale and seductively exciting Asian influenced restaurant. The restaurant reminded us of Tao in Las Vegas with its captivating atmosphere. When you walk in, you see two big doors and do not really know what lies behind the closed doors. As soon as you open them, you are truly awstruck at the sight. The sight is dramatic, chic and very cosmopolitan. This is the type of restaurant you would see in New York City or Las Vegas. It’s nice to know we have such a chic and stylish restaurant nearby.The service is exceptional right from the start. The host greeted us with a smile and enthusiasm and led us to our table. After sitting down, we all spent a while just taking in the atmosphere. The restaurant is very impressive and eye catching. There are two levels which lends to its attractiveness. The lighting fixtures and decor are very attractive. In addition, the mood of the restaurant is very intimate. There is a huge dramatic Buddha statue in the center of the restaurant, which lends to the dramatic atmosphere of Hotoke.
Our server for the evening was Martina, who really helped make the evening a satisfying one. Her demeanor is professional and polished and fits an upscale restuarant as Hotoke. At the same time, she has a down to earth friendliness which combines with her other qualities. She is excellent.
There are so many items on the menu to choose from. It really takes a while to look through all of them and decide. To accompany our dinner, we chose a wonderful Fume Blanc wine from California. The taste was light and fresh and paired well with all of our food selections. We ordered a few appetizers, the first being Miso Soup, with extra tofu. It was delicious and flavorful. We also ordered warm steamed Edamame lightly dusted with salt, which tends to be always an enjoyable item to eat and savor. The next was the Hotoke Skewer Sampler. There were three types of skewers; chicken with a peanut sauce, shrimp with a tamarind barbeque sauce and beef skewers with another exotic seasoning. The taste of all three was wonderful and tantalizing to the taste buds. The last appetizer was our favorite, Seared Sashimi which was Fluke. This was Ren’s first undulgence into the world of Sashimi. It was truly amazing, with a tangy soy sauce and tiny greens sprinkled on top. The flavors totally danced on our tongues and the texture was outstanding. Ren totally enjoyed his first experience with Sashimi.
We ordered three entrees for our main course. Ria (Mom) ordered the Baby Back Spare Ribs. They were covered in a tamarind barbeque sauce and served with a Mashed Potato Stick and an Asian Slaw. All three items were fantastic. The sauce on the ribs was tangy and pleasant, the potato stick was awesome and the Asian Slaw was totally addictive – so fresh and unique. Our second entree was Grilled Ginger Chicken, topped with a Thai chili sauce and served with jasmine rice. It was tender, flavorful and totally terrific. Our last and favorite entree was the piece de resistance- Steamed Chilean Sea Bass, served atop a black bean sauce and parsnip puree. The fish was perfectly prepared and flakey. It was totally phenomenal. Ria ordered the Fresh Fruit for dessert, which was fresh seasonal fruit, served with a mini apple spring roll craftfully placed on top with whipped cream. We all were pleasanly satisfied with this finale to dinner.
Martina brought the General Manager, David, to meet us, early on in the evening. She filled him in on TwoSquirts.com and he was so happy to meet us He stayed and chatted with us for a good while a few times throughout the evening. It was really great to talk with him and Martina.
The three of us really had an exceptional evening. The ambiance, the food, the company and the conversation were all wonderful. It was the kind of evening that we always enjoy the most. One can sum it up perfectly in the catch phrase of TwoSquirts.com – Good food, Good people, Good times!