Kaji Sushi & Lounge - Garden City, NY

Kaji Sushi & Lounge opened just a few months ago on Franklin Avenue in Garden City, practically next door to Sushi Ya, a popular, family-friendly sushi and hibachi joint that has been there for years, and right across the street from Kinha Sushi, a more serene and upscale sushi restaurant that has decent food but horrendous service. So when we saw that Kaji would be opening soon, we were a little perplexed. Why would anyone want to open a third sushi restaurant within a few feet of the other two? That takes serious guts. Now that we have visited Kaji twice, once at dinner and then yesterday for lunch, we see that Kaji will do just fine and the other two spots, especially Kinha, should really be worried.    

Modern decor and colored uplighting play up the "lounge" feel at Kaji

Kaji is one of the latest modern sushi restaurants in Long Island that takes the old-school, quiet, serious, unassuming sushi bar vibe and turns it completely on its head. Kaji is splashy and flashy and goes all out with dramatic decor, colored lights and popular Top 40 music to appeal to the young professional sushi-loving crowd. Sushi purists would shudder at all of it, but Kaji is visually stunning and the sushi is actually really good. There are textured walls and artistic elements everywhere, which is accentuated by colored uplighting throughout the restaurant. They even utilize colored lights underneath the sushi platters - something that is totally cheesy but has become very trendy among modern Asian fusion restaurants in Long Island.  

Sushi for Two - 20 pieces and 2 specialty rolls for $45,
a great value.

What also sets Kaji apart from other sushi restaurants I've been to on Long Island is the excellent, attentive service. They are really on top of the service at Kaji; so much so that yesterday I felt like they were hovering a little too much. Thank you, but I don't need a hot tea refill after I've only taken two sips! However, the waitstaff and managers are very friendly and there to get you anything you need, so you can't really complain. 

Here are some of the menu items we've ordered at Kaji:

Sushi for Two: Giants Roll and King Roll in the middle
Sushi for Two: 20 pieces of sushi 
(on top of rice) and your choice of any two specialty rolls ($14 and under). This is a fabulous value for two people. If you calculate what you would spend ordering everything a la carte, you save a lot of money ordering this meal. An assortment of salmon, tuna, white tuna, striped bass, yellowtail and albacore is beautifully displayed with the two specialty rolls of your choice.

Giants Roll: Grilled lobster tail and avocado with seared filet mignon and fresh wasabi on top. This is one of the best sushi rolls I've ever had. The lobster was real lobster (hard to find at sushi bars), the filet mignon was high quality and the fresh wasabi was excellent. I highly recommend this roll.

King Roll: Fried king crab, avocado, shrimp and kani, topped with a volcano-shaped mound of spicy tuna and spicy yellowtail and finished with sweet thai chili sauce. Also an excellent roll. The sweetness of the crab and thai chili sauce is a great contrast to the spicy, creamy yellowtail and tuna. And the roll is really beautiful to look at.

Giants Roll closeup
"Crunch Sea" appetizer: Spicy tuna sandwiched between spicy nori rice crackers, served with a side of honey mayo and eel sauce. A close second to Xaga Sushi's Spicy Tuna Cracker, which is very similar, that I will definitely order again. The rice cracker is spicy and really crunchy, and the soft, creamy spicy tuna inside is nice. My only complaint is that I would like the tuna to be a bit spicier and, for $10, I wish there was a little more on the plate. 

Crunch Sea appetizer

Spicy Tuna Gyoza: Fried gyoza stuffed with spicy tuna served on top of guacamole and topped with sweet Thai chili sauce. While this sounded and looked really good, I have come to realize that I just don't like fully cooked tuna. The spicy tuna, after having been deep-fried, took on a ground-turkey like consistency that I did not enjoy. It was still flavorful, but I couldn't get past that texture.  

Kaji Sushi Lunch: Two pieces of salmon 
Spicy Tuna Gyoza

sushi, two pieces of tuna sushi and two pieces of yellowtail sushi with a spicy salmon roll. Also comes with miso soup and ginger salad. At $14, this is an excellent value at lunch time. Very fresh sushi, and the spicy salmon roll has a tiny bit of crunchy tempura bits inside which was a nice little bit of textural surprise. Of course, I added avocado to my spicy salmon roll, for an upcharge of only 50 cents.

Kaji Sushi Lunch

Great miso soup and ginger salad

A great lychee martini, too!

I will definitely return to Kaji Sushi for dinner or lunch, and will order it in at the office for lunch as well since they also deliver. I highly recommend Kaji for a different sushi experience in Garden City. 


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