ADDRESS: 60 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701
For quite some time now, my parents changed up their go-to spot for getting sushi to Sogo Sushi in Red Bank. It’s one of the only sushi places I’ve been to that serves brown rice sushi. In fact, the rolls are particularly good that I don’t even notice the difference from the switch from traditional white rice .
Earlier this month, I was back up in New Jersey visiting my parents and we decided to stop in for dinner the same night I flew in. The restaurant itself is located right next to one of the public parking lots, so finding a space was never an issue. Inside, the dining area was only large enough to accommodate just around 30 people. But despite a rather small restaurant space (where the rectangle footprint was split between the sushi bar / kitchen and the dining area), I thought they utilized the layout they had pretty well.
There certainly isn’t a lack of sushi rolls to pick from, with the menu listing 36 different options. Aside from just the text pages of the menu, there was a separate portion that also featured some photos of the sushi rolls. Pictures sometimes do the rolls more justice than words alone, so it was helpful to make some decisions based off what looked good.
The one appetizer that my parents always get at Sogo is the Treasure Island: avocado slices arranged in a circular “boat,” filled with chopped tuna and topped with tobiko, spicy mayo, scallions, and finished with a citrus ponzu. It’s definitely a very artistic dish; I’m most impressed with the plating technique of the thinly sliced avocados to form the “boat.”
But three pairs of chopsticks come out and suddenly the boat is compromised and the tuna is rapidly disappearing. Between the tuna and avocado, there’s a really nice smooth texture that goes along with the heat from the spicy mayo. In a particular sense, it almost feels like a mini-poké bowl, except without all the extra added toppings.
Since the restaurant was relatively quiet when we stopped in, the rolls we ordered came out quickly. I ordered the Phoenix and White Mist Rolls for my main items, and we also got the Red Bank Roll to split between the three of us. If you haven’t tried brown rice before, it has a bit of a firmer texture in comparison to white rice. But with these rolls, all of the flavors from the other ingredients complement the textural difference, so it’s not something that jumps out at you when taking a bite.
The one I tried first was the Red Bank Roll: soft-shell crab and avocado on the inside, topped with eel, avocado, and tobiko, finished off with eel sauce. The eel, tobiko, and eel sauce definitely gave the roll its savory punch, while the soft-shell crab and avocado balanced each other out from a texture standpoint. As kind of the last-minute addition to our order, I was happy we decided to give that one a try as well.
Next up was the White Mist Roll, a little bit more dialed back than the Red Bank Roll. It had white tuna, avocado, and cucumber on the inside, topped with salmon, tuna, and red snapper, finished off with a jalapeño sauce. It was a roll that definitely featured the fish and its original flavors, enhanced by the spicy aftertaste left by the jalapeño sauce.
Last, but not least, it was time for the Phoenix Roll, which looked like it had the most going on out of the three. Spicy tuna, seared Cajun tuna, and asparagus on the inside, topped with salmon, tuna, tobiko, and finished with crispy rice, scallions, and a honey miso sauce. Each bite was just a combination of sweet and savory flavors, with the asparagus in there to provide that crunch. Of the three, I think this one ended up being my favorite.
I can see why my parents like to frequent Sogo for getting sushi. Their roll selection is diverse, the quality of the food is pretty consistent, and the staff is very friendly as well. (In fact, I think my parents have gone often enough that the staff now recognizes them when they go in.) If you were skeptical about hearing the words “brown rice sushi,” I encourage you to give it a try and see what you think.
Let’s now take a look at the Sogo Sushi Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Phoenix Roll (pictured bottom) **
Spicy tuna, seared Cajun tuna, and asparagus on the inside, topped with salmon, tuna, tobiko, and finished with crispy rice, scallions, and a honey miso sauce.
And finally, here are my rankings for Sogo Sushi:
Food: 4.5 / 5
There’s no shortage of selection when it comes to their sushi rolls. The flavor combinations were well-balanced and all the ingredients tasted very fresh
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
It’s definitely a smaller spot, but I think that’s part of what gives it a bit of charm. They use the layout of the space pretty well, with the dining tables arranged in a fashion where you never feel too crowded.
Service: 4.5 / 5
All of the waitstaff are very friendly, and my parents have built up a friendly rapport with the sushi chef as well. I was also impressed with just how fast all of our food arrived.
Price: 4.75 / 5
This part is probably what surprised me the most. After being accustomed to sushi roll prices hovering around the $14 or $15 price point, I was impressed to see that the majority of the rolls (even those considered the “special” ones) hover closer to $12 or $13. Combine that with the quality of the food and the freshness of ingredients, it was well worth the money.