You get together with friends for dinner, and then the eternal question arises: where should we eat? If you happen to be anywhere near Woodland Park, the easy answer would be Imperial 46 Restaurant. They specialize in sushi, hibachi, and traditional Chinese cuisines, so there will be enough choice for any discriminating diner.
Woodland Park is formerly known as West Paterson. There is extensive business activity along its main thoroughfare U.S. Route 46. Imperial 46 is located at 1570 U.S. 46, Woodland Park, NJ 07424. Its closest neighbors are Fairway and Barnes and Noble. It is not readily visible by anyone driving west, as it is placed far back into the mall. But it is well worth investigating. Parking is no problem, and it is plentiful.
The storefront is modern and pleasing. As you enter the building, there is an extensive and comfortable area to the right for take-away orders. The restaurant is straight ahead. As you enter the restaurant, there is an extensive hibachi area to the left. To the right is a cozy area reserved primarily for sushi, with the sushi chefs in plain sight at the end of the room.
On a recent visit, our friendly server was Tito. When asked for suggestions, he was eager to explain a few dishes. We both decided on sushi and ordered the Matsu Roll for our first selection. Listed under “Special Rolls,” it lived up to its name. It was beautiful to the eye, and interesting to our sense of taste. The smooth roe played sensuously with the fried component of the roll. It was spicy tuna, shrimp tempura and avocado wrapped inside and out with tobiko (flying fish roe).
It was both interesting and delicious. We asked for advice for our next selection and decided on something from the “Makimono” menu. Makimono-style sushi was explained to us as meaning made with assorted vegetables and seafood wrapped with sushi rice in seaweed. We both ordered the San Francisco roll, which was made with chopped scallop, crab stick, and cucumber with spicy mayonnaise wrapped inside and out with sesame seeds. Although less vertical than the last presentation (the shrimp tail was sticking up like a skyscraper on the last roll), this roll looked inviting and delicious. The San Francisco roll had great visual appeal in that the pearlescent scallop rested amidst the tiny tubes of cucumber and vegetables creating an edible, miniature landscape.
Iced teas were promptly refreshed, chopsticks were, of course, provided, as were real cloth napkins. The soft, ambient lighting was especially welcome in the late afternoon after a trying day. Our server returned and asked what we would like next. We said that we were pleased with our choices. When we asked for the check, it was brought to us without delay, and processed skillfully.
Imperial 46 Restaurant is a pleasant oasis of rest and revitalization in the midst of Woodland Park. They are open for lunch and dinner. Phone 973-256-8468, or visit them at www.imperial46.com