East Gate Chinese & Japanese Cuisine

141 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona NJ 07044

Today I decided that I was going to just drive, without a GPS and find someplace new to eat.  I made several stops, but one place was closed, the other place had no parking spaces, and yet another the door was locked even though the sign said they were open on Tuesdays.  At least I learned a new route which was shorter to another stop, and so I continued to drive.  So now I am making my way back up the main avenue back to my hometown and I decided to go into a small strip mall off the main avenue which only had 5 stores, 2 of them restaurants. I was in the mood for something light so when I saw “all you can eat sushi” I hesitated thinking how good could this place be?  I went in anyway and was pleasantly surprised.

There were only 2 other people in the place, a father with 2 young daughters and a business man on his cellphone who could hear all his business conversation.  I thought a good Bento would be a great choice.  Bento is kind of like a “box” of fresh food, much like a TV dinner, separate containers, all the essential food items (soup, salad, sides and main entree), all in one plate, or in this case, box.  I saw the Red Snapper Teriyaki and I thought this was definitely something I needed to try.  They first bring you some miso soup with tofu and seaweed.  Always a great start, especially on a rainy day.

Soon the rest of this great lunch was on its way.  I love red snapper so it was going to be a delight no matter how bad they messed it up, but they didn’t and when the box came I was impressed.

The salad was loaded with ginger-carrot dressing, which I love.  It was a pretty large salad compared to most you would see in a bento box, and had cucumbers, radish and iceberg lettuce.  The rice was garnished with black and white sesame seeds, and I was happy to find two spring rolls, not only one.  They were not especially large, but again, I am glad it was more than just one.  The red snapper was delicious.  I found the teriyaki sauce a little thin (I like it thicker and perhaps a bit more intense), but delicious and also had carrot, snow peas, carrots, green pepper and green zucchini, if not something very similar to zucchini.

The meal ended, as I thought it would, with orange slices, but they cut and decorated the orange in its skin in such a nice way, that the presentation alone made me want to take a photo.

Sure, its only half an orange, but the presentation really mattered.  The fruit was fresh and delicious and sometimes the presentation really makes a difference.  They did not have to sprinkle black and white sesame seeds on my rice an fish, but they did.  They did not have to cut an orange in such a way that I felt a need to take a photo, but they did.  I like this place.  Too many strip mall restaurants get a bad rap because they are in a strip mall.  But its all beginning to make sense now.  They pay the the rent to be in an exposed area, but they must keep up the quality in order to stay there and keep customers coming in and returning.  Any place or location these days has its challenges, but some of the better, more economical places I have eaten at in the last year have all been in strip malls.  I am especially suspicious of places that claim to serve both Chinese and Japanese food.  I know its not such a stretch, but I wonder how they will do one or the other well.

The meal was $10 with complimentary hot green tea.  With tax the total was $10.70 and I left $13 for tip, about 20% or more.  All very much worth it.

141 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona NJ 07044


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