NJ Dining: Wild Nigiri (Wild Ginger)

Wild Nigiri Hassun Sushi Bar
6 East Palisade Avenue, Englewood NJ
(201) 567-2660

Web Site: http://www.wildnigiri.com

Englewood is a restaurant town — and one in which many open and close frequently, due to the challenging economy. But some have managed to continue to thrive, despite the odds that are against them. One of these is Wild Nigiri — which operated under the name Wild Ginger for 15 years, and is owned by proprietor Charles Hamade.

There are many good sushi restaurants in Northeast Bergen county, but most have not had the staying power of this restaurant. The secret? Charles comes from a family of restaurateurs — his brother runs the successful Bennies’ Lebanese restaurant, also in Englewood, and Charles has had a history of running successful Asian restaurants in New York City.

Some 15 years ago, he managed to secure the talents of  master sushi chef Yoshiharu Suzuki, who has worked in the finest sushi restaurants in Manhattan and in Japan. At Wild Nigiri, he uses his talents to create delicate and subtle raw and cooked creations that are favored by the restaurant’s discerning clientele.  This is not a restaurant for diners that are seeking bold, in your face flavors — Hamade and Suzuki want the basic ingredients at Wild Nigiri to speak for themselves.

I was invited by Mr. Hamade to dine at his restaurant last week in order to try a few signature dishes which uses special dressings that he and Suzuki-san have formulated over the years. Hamade is going to be selling all-natural, bottled versions of these dressings at the restaurant, with the intention of doing wider consumer distribution through a large retailer shortly.

Chef Yoshiharu Suzuki putting the finishing touches on a sushi platter. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Few sushi restaurants in Bergen County can approach the quality level of Wild Nigiri. In the last few years the restaurant has gone to a very limited, focused menu with emphasis on very fresh ingredients and keeping the quality level high.

The restaurant is small and intimate, with a warm and very modern decor, featuring artwork hand picked by Charles Hamade including bronze wall sconces and walls of Mexican pebble. Hamade is a sculptor in his spare time and has a very keen eye for aesthetics.

Spicy Tuna Salad, which uses a chile and mayonnaise-based dressing.

Salmon Tataki, in a Ponzu dressing.

Lobster Salad in Mango Dressing

A plate of Tuna, Lobster and White Tuna Nigiri Sushi.

The Diver Scallop and Lobster entree, which is sauteed with Japanese mushrooms.

The restaurant’s signature Mango and Ginger Parfait dessert, which is dusted with hot Japanese chili pepper right before serving.

The Raison D’etre for us being there that evening — to unveil the first product the restaurant will be selling, the Baba Charles Celebration salad dressing, which is a mixture of different citrus juices (Orange, Lime, Tangerine) with sesame and other seasonings. It’s definitely very different from the typical salad dressing you get at a Japanese restaurant.

Hamade intends to retail the 12oz bottle for $6, which I think is pretty reasonable if you compare it to other gourmet salad dressing products on the market. While I typically do not buy my own salad dressings, I have to admit that this is a very high-quality product and I can see where there might be a market for it in specialty stores and the gourmet section of higher-end supermarkets. It has no preservatives in it whatsoever — it’s exactly the same fresh product he makes for his restaurant. The high PH rating allows it to keep fresh in in the refrigerator for a very long time.

2 Responses to NJ Dining: Wild Nigiri (Wild Ginger)

  1. Terrific photos and an excellent review as always Jason. That Mango & Ginger Parfait looks sublime.

  2. john fleming says:

    Our favorite restaurant without a doubt…headed there tonight for dinner. Great article and great pics…making me hungry.

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