Restaurant Review- Aji: Contemporary Japanese


Asian cuisine restaurant fails to impress


Recently opened on Main St. in downtown Hopkins, Aji restaurant serves up Japanese cuisine in a modern, sophisticated venue. Only a ten minute drive from Park high school, Aji serves some decent options—if you’re willing to pay the price.
Upon entering the restaurant, one can blatantly see the reason for its name. Contemporary accent lighting blends seamlessly with old-style Japanese lanterns to create a both modern and retro feel. The sushi bar also contributes to the modern vibe with multiple, all-you-can-eat sushi options and brighter lighting.
The food, however, doesn’t quite live up to the decor or the cost. The cream cheese wontons, a staple of any Asian restaurant, were the highlight of the meal. The bite-sized, fried puffs had a great balance of crispiness and chewiness, with a great zesty dipping sauce.
The main dishes, however, were not as savory. Disregarding the limited menu selection, the entrees left something to be desired. Both the panko pork and teriyaki chicken looked better than they tasted.

The presentation of the pork dish was palatable to say the least—the square cut enveloped in crispy breading and drizzled with tonkatsu sauce was also situated next to mixed vegetables. Yet the small portion size and the lack of definitive flavor left an unsatisfying impression.

Although it appeared promising and flavorful, the teriyaki beef was a let down. The teriyaki sauce was heavily diluted, and provided no real flavor. Although the beef was cut into small, edible strips that were well-done, the small portion was underwhelming. Additionally, the hibachi vegetables included were undercooked and harder than one would suspect. The most disappointing part of this dish was the fact the side of white rice was its best tasting aspect.
Overall, while Aji Restaurant may appeal to some students because of its Japanese atmosphere and convenient location, the high prices and impressionable food will leave many turning elsewhere to dip into foreign cuisine.