New Jersey Adventure – Sagami

For C’s birthday, we took him on a little adventure across the bridge to Sagami. Often hailed by many as the best sushi in the Philadelphia area, Sagami is a little hidden gem in the dregs of New Jersey. I even went here on my last birthday. In an unfortunate location on a highway, this place is a bitch to get to. You get there from PA on the wrong side of the road. And if you are familiar driving in NJ, it’s a total pain in the ass to turn around in the entire state. We drove a lot of extra miles trying to get here. Not to mention the bad directions I got off the damn interweb.

This place gets busy. Like seriously. We didn’t have reservations like a bunch of jackasses (I tried, but they aren’t open for lunch on the weekend so noone picked up the phone), so when we showed up and saw all those people waiting, my heart sank to the pit of my stomach. I had driven all this way, gone around I don’t know how many darn jughandles, and I had the worst fears of having to wait an hour. We had just called them a few minutes before we showed up to get correct directions, and had put our names down. Shockingly, we waited not even 10 minutes and then got a table! Whoo hoo!

The main section of the restaurant has famously low ceilings. I kid you not. I’m short, and I still get concerned. We were in the other room off to the side, past the sushi bar, and it has normal ceilings. I think this is where they stick the people with the kids. It seemed everyone in this area had them. The waitresses wear kimonos here. That shit is authentic, yo. We got some edamame and gyoza as appetizers. Edamame is edamame, it’s hard to screw that up. The gyoza were ok, but the insides were just mushy to me. There were no hunks of anything I could distinguish.

I also made sure to get the agedashi dofu. I LOVE SAGAMI’S AGEDASHI DOFU. I could eat this every day. I’ve had this at other places and it just doesn’t compare. First off, it’s huge. They don’t skimp on the tofu here. The sauce is the best. They put little tiny mushroom heads in it. I don’t like mushrooms, and I still eat them! So damn good.

I just wanted the agedashi dofu, so I didn’t care one bit what else we actually got to eat. So I let the boys pick. So J, K, and C started off with 10 various rolls, ranging from tuna and avocado, yellowtail and avocado, unagi, california, plain ol tuna, soft shell crab, shrimp tempura, yellow tail and scallion, salmon skin, and the big roll. All of it fresh and yummy. I especially liked the big roll. It was like kimbap, only huger. I thought I was full, but the boys wanted more.

This is where the “lost in translation” experience started. We let J order all the rolls, and J and our heavily accented waitress were having a bit of trouble on the old verbal communication front. [Note to self: next time, let the asian order. No offense, J] He said 1 tuna avocado roll, but she took that as 2 avocado rolls. Witness the two avocado rolls on the plate below. And note the cucumber roll. We did not order this, but somehow we got it. When we got this, we cleared up the misunderstanding, and she was very nice and let us return the two avocado rolls. We didn’t get to return the cucumber roll though. I still have no idea how she thinks we ordered that.

Since the boys ordered more food, I felt compelled to eat more. So I got the kitsune udon. It was only $5, so I had to go for it. And I ate it all folks. All by my piggish self. And it was mmm, mmm, good.

The service here is ok. Nothing to rave about. It’s pretty good considering how busy the place is. They might take awhile before they take your initial order, but after that, they’re fairly attentive. They brought us multiple pots of green tea and our water glasses were always full. It’s also a BYOB, so you can bring pretty much whatever you want and they will set you up with whatever you need. It’s probably a better bet to a) make reservations, and b) come during the week. I really like the food here. It’s about the food, and not the ambiance. You can speak japanese to the servers and they will understand you. It’s not expensive, not cheap either, and fresh and authentic.

Sagami
37 W Crescent Blvd (on the southbound side of 130)
Collingswood, NJ
856-854-9773
Sagami on Urbanspoon

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