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Tamaya / Hudson Terrace / Fort Lee


Jason Perlow
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Tamaya Restaurant

2347 Hudson Ter, Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Phone: (201) 585-7009

Tonight, with the freezing cold weather, Rachel and I had some serious cravings for Japanese nabemono, so we went over to Tamaya, a Japanese restaurant with a specialization in Sukiyaki, Shabu Shabu and Tempura.

Tamaya serves Sukiyaki in the traditional hot pot, cooked at table fashion, so essentially, you become the cook. They give you a portable burner with the ingredients and you go to town.

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We each started off with a small Tempura appetizer. I had the Shrimp tempura, Rachel had sea eel tempura. We thought these were really good, and fried perfectly.

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This is the portable burner with iron sukiyaki pot that is filled with soup broth, which is brought to a boil.

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The vegetables: Scallions, Shiritaki noodles, Onion, Tofu, Oyster Mushroom, Shitake Mushroom.

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The meat, which I think is sliced ribeye. They're not at all skimpy on the meat.

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Raw egg, which is brought to you in a cute little basket. You crack the eggs into small bowls, and beat them with your chopsticks, and use it as a dipping sauce for the meat.

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Here's the sukiyaki cooking up. We added the stuff in this order: Onions, Mushrooms, Scallions, Tofu, Shiritaki, and then the sliced meat.

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Dipping some cooked meat into the egg.

Tamaya attracts a primarily Japanese clientele and its more expensive than some of the other Japanese places in the area. There's no sushi bar, as they focus primarily on cooked food, but the specials list (written in Japanese) typically has a sashimi or sushi on it, which always looks very good every time I've been there -- tonight they had a Mackerel sashimi and I saw some coming out of the kitchen. So its a good idea to ask the very nice staff what fish is good for Sushi or sashimi that evening.

By default the regular menu is in Japanese, but they have an English-translated version of it, which appears to have the same items on it.

If you're looking for an authentic Japanese experience I highly reccomend this place.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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The food looks very good. The raw egg dip doesn't appeal to me--taste and health concerns.

Is this restaurant typically crowded? How did they treat you as a Westerner compared to Japanese patrons?

We have some relatives in Fort Lee and I'd like to try this place.

The restaurant is not typically crowded. Also, they don't serve the egg to Westerners, you have to ask for it. They were very nice and accomodating. At least one of the two waitstaff, a Korean-American girl, speaks perfect english and the other one, the older Japanese lady, speaks it well enough and is very nice.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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For those that don't want to cook it yourself at the table, they will prepare it individually in the kitchen, that's the way Jason had it last time we were there. I just wanted to emphasize that the specials list is written only in Japanese. It is written by hand in beautiful caligraphy by the chef, and it displayed in a book by the front door. You have to ask to have it translated for you. The prices aren't out of line with the rest of the menu either. I checked the bill and my (special) sea eel (anago) tempura was the same price as Jason's (on the menu) shrimp tempura, both were $8.50. Sukiyaki for 2 is $25 per person. I think the shabu shabu is the same price.

They are very welcoming to non-Japanese patrons. But maybe a little over solicitous with the advice on how to prepare and eat the sukiyaki. She broke the eggs for us, but I prefer to only use egg yolk if I'm using it as a dipping sauce, I don't care for the texture of the white or beaten together. I also like to slip a whole egg in to poach it, but since they were paying so much attention to us, I didn't feel comfortable doing that. Generally, I'd dip my beef in the egg, then slip it back in the simmering broth for a moment. Just to cook it and slightly adhere it to the meat, and some would end up in the broth and thicken it slightly.

Actually, many of the Japanese patrons seem to stick to the prix-fixe dinner, on the front page of the menu. If I remember correctly, soup/salad/appetizer, main, dessert, for $25 pp. But it was a limited selection of mains, none of which I was in the mood for that night.

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I've always wanted to try a decent nabemono but have only been able to find a basic nabe at Kenka in NYC. This looks like it's definitely going to merit a visit from my girlfriend and I; it'll prove a nice extra to our monthly visit for Mitsuwa ramen.

Question about the egg, though: how safe is it to dip in it? Should the beef be at a certain temperature in order to partially cook the egg, or is it best eaten with the egg still raw?

I have always wondered about this; I think I read somewhere that the possible diseases in eggs come from feeding practices of American chickens. Maybe there's something different about this in Japanese chicken raising?

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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  • 1 year later...

Shutting down!

Bummer. I'd heard rumors that Tamaya was going away for a while (the building was in a real estate ad at one point too), but tonight it was confirmed by the waitress. They are closing at the end of March.

I live in Tenafly, and Tamaya had the best of Japanese home cooking in the area.

If you like the place, try it once more before they go.

We went tonight and had some of our favorites. The kids go for eel over rice (una don), wife for kakiage don, and I had katsu don - simple, but I've been craving it. My wife doesn't like me to, but I had to have my regular natto tempura. It will give you bad breath, but it tastes great. They prepare a nest of onions and natto (stinky fermented soy beans) and deep fry it like a kakiage tempura. Also, we had tofu dressing salad, tofu goma (sesame sauce plus great mushrooms), and a funky little "moichi pizza".

To finish up, the kids had green tea ice cream while my wife and I had zenzai (sweet red bean soup with a blob of toasted moichi and savory seaweed on the side for contrast).

Other favorites: Wasabi steak, sukiyaki, octopus balls (balls of octopus meat, not an octopus' balls :blink: ), squid balls, ...

Anybody know where else you can get this kind of food around here? I have heard that the restaurant next to Mitsuwa is OK, but I'm reluctant to try it after having a really bad meal there about 7 years ago. Mitsuwa's food court has this kind of stuff and it is good, just not great.

Edited by cwhatley (log)
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