Review: Nagano Japanese Restaurant

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By Matthew Jordan

Located on the second floor of a building, up a narrow flight of steps, is a restaurant.  There will be a possibility you do not even know about the restaurant’s existence unless you read a small little sign outside with an arrow pointing where you are supposed to walk. At first glance, you may even second-guess yourself, wondering if it really is a restaurant. Nagano Japanese Restaurant, located in Morristown, New Jersey, will provide you with an experience you will never forget.

Nagano Japanese Restaurant is the complete opposite of the more Americanized sushi bars and restaurants in our area that provide a so-so quality of sushi. The restaurant feels much more authentic to the diner, not only due to the decor, but also due to the food that is served to you. Depending on the day, they have a $25 all-you-can-eat special. With $25, you can order unlimited anything. From nigiri, to sushi, to entrees, to sashimi, you can order as much as you would like just as long as you can finish it. If you do happen to over-order and cannot finish your food, there will be a $5 cover charge per person.Through the experience I have had, the majority of the food I ate was absolutely fantastic. However, a few items stood out to me. The spicy tuna tartare, Carpaccio, Kiss of Fate, and the Steak Teriyaki were especially great.

The spicy tuna tartare was beyond my expectations. When I ordered this dish, I was expecting it to be a little bit too spicy from what the server explained. However, it was just perfect. The spicy tuna was well balanced with the right amount of spicy mayo to have that cool effect to tone down the spice from the hot sauce in the tuna.

The Carpaccio was a dish I never tried before but it was absolutely fantastic. The dish consisted of raw sliced pieces of salmon with wasabi mayo, garlic chips, and ponzu sauce. I could tell the salmon was really fresh due to the beautiful bright orange color, and it felt like butter once it entered my mouth because it just melted. The wasabi mayo was a great touch because again, you have that spicy element but once the Ponzu sauce hits, it brings in the sour, cool element from the soy sauce and vinegar mixture.

The Kiss of Fate was a spicy tuna wrapped in white tuna topped with jalapeño & spicy mayo. The flavors with this were incredibly insane. The spicy, lean tuna is incredible by itself, but the white piece of fatty tuna wrapped around it brings in an oily element. The tuna topped with a piece of Jalapeno brings back the spicy, insane element, and the spicy mayo brings the cool element back to the spicy one. Overall, this dish consists of plenty of different flavors in your mouth.

The steak teriyaki is a great entree to have since you have nearly all the food groups in one meal. You have your protein, carbs, and sugar, creating a perfectly well-balanced meal along with great infused flavors. A succulent piece of flank steak paired with a very sweet teriyaki sauce on a bed of steamed broccoli, carrots, and sauteed onions, along with a side of jasmine rice is a perfect meal you cannot go wrong with.

Overall, Nagano Japanese Restaurant is a restaurant that exceeded my expectations by far. When I first walked in the restaurant, I’ll admit I was skeptical. It was a Japanese restaurant up a flight of stairs in New Jersey, of course it seemed a little sketchy. However, the food and decor speak for themselves. On the Mat Jordan Tsunami Umami Scale, they deserve 5 💯💯💯💯💯.

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