If you’re looking for Asian cuisine amid the energetic hubbub of Jersey City’s shopping and business district, this is the place to go. On Washington Boulevard’s restaurant row, it’s an eatery you pass all the time—on the way to Newport Mall; the ferry, the PATH, and the light rail; or just on the way to work in one of the nearby high-rise office buildings. It has a robust lunch business, so next time, don’t just walk by, walk in.
That’s what we did—for dinner on a Wednesday evening. I was surprised at how spacious it is. It looks like a great place for a party. But warm colors make it seem serene and intimate.
The room gradually filled with customers, and there were plenty of waiters, helping out with menu questions and making sure we had everything we needed—including chopsticks.
I started with the Japanese beer Sopporo, and Terriann, who shot these pictures, ordered a beautiful pina colada, the quintessential summer cocktail.
Speaking of drinks, if you’re here for lunch, and you don’t want to go back to work under the influence, try one of their nonalcoholic choices. You can get a “virgin” just about anything, including pina colada, mango colada, strawberry or banana daiquiri, margarita, or peach margarita.
The Bubble Milk Teas look like fountain drinks. They include the Confucius, Green Honeydew, or Taro.
The menu, though large, is easy to navigate. I headed for the fish dishes. There were lots of tempting selections, but the Crispy Chilean Seabass, which I finally chose, was perfect. It’s a very lightly fried fillet with “chef’s five ingredients sauce.” Not sure what those ingredients are, but it was a flavorful, slightly sweet concoction that went well the very fresh carrots and broccoli that accompanied the fish.
Terri went for the Thai-Style Jumbo Shrimp, which are lightly fried, shells included. It’s advertised as spicy, but the sweet Thai chili sauce was fairly mild. There was enough for her to take some home to her family.
Dieters can enjoy a host of steamed specialties—prawns, chicken, shrimp, or scallops with vegetables. But frankly, just about anything you order is going to be good for the waistline because the food is fresh, and expertly cooked without a lot of heavy sauces that mask the flavor of whatever you’ve selected.
We were too full for dessert, but our hosts treated us to one anyway, bringing a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with colorful sauces and surrounded by crispy banana bites. Full or not, we could not resist it.
Bottom line? Don’t pass this one by.—Kate Rounds
Confucius Asian Bistro
558 Washington Blvd.