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Niji

I’ve been working with a great group of students over the last two weeks. They already know what they are doing next year but despite this, they are still working hard on my service! We started a discussion about places to eat in Kingston and M, one of the students, highly recommended Niji for their Gamjatang (pork bone soup). She said it was even better than Arisu (which I hold in high regard, see my review here.)

So J, D, and myself checked it out this last Tuesday.
Niji, Sushi, Kingston, OntarioAs you can see, the owners of Niji have spent a lot of money improving the interior. Lots of booths, lots of space, lots of wood, and overall, really well done. A nice looking place. Unfortunately, the day we went, it was a little empty. I anticipate it will be busier in the coming months due to its excellent location in the heart of the Hub. I can’t exactly recall what used to be where Niji is now located…. and unfortunately the server didn’t know either. Obviously it was forgettable.
Niji, Sushi, Kingston, OntarioThis is the Gamjatang (pork bone soup with potatoes and vegetables, rice) for $10.95 that M recommended. I was off put with the bone marrow that was sprinkled on top. It was really gritty. The soup was pretty oily as you can see in the reflection. The portion was huge!
Niji, Sushi, Kingston, OntarioI didn’t love how fatty the pork was (as you can see) and how bony the soup was. It made for some difficult eating! However, the broth was wonderfully rich and savoury. I like my broth a little spicier but the fullness of flavour was quite nice.
Niji, Sushi, Kingston, OntarioThis was the Sushi and Bulgogi Bento Box (7 pieces of nigiri, 3 pieces of California roll and bulgogi) for $16.95. We got quite a bit of food with this bento box but unfortunately, the quality wasn’t great. The California roll was pretty loosely packed with minimal fake crab in each piece. Only 3 pieces??? Not 6? Or 4? The bulgogi was surprisingly tough and sliced somewhat thickly making it quite chewy. The flavours were decent with some sweetness and tartness. We asked to have it spicy and unfortunately it was pretty tame.
Niji, Sushi, Kingston, OntarioThis sushi really put me off. You can see how skilled the sushi chef is. Look how thinly he sliced the salmon! You can see right through it to the white rice underneath. This sushi wouldn’t be acceptable in an all-you-can-eat place.
Niji, Sushi, Kingston, OntarioThis was the Tuna Lover (spicy tuna with tuna on top) for $12.95. Nicely decorated and nicely rolled (better than the sad California roll above). Lots and lots and LOTS of tempura bits in the roll to the point where I doubted that there was any tuna in the middle. The tuna on the outside was reasonable.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed in Niji. The nigiri had the most thinly sliced fish I have ever seen but really demonstrated some pretty awesome knife skills. Unfortunately, as per Spider Man’s Uncle Ben would say, “With great power comes great responsibility”. The gamjatang was really rich and savoury but not quite as good as Arisu’s in my opinion. It is the 2nd best in Kingston (beating out Take and the old Asha). If I go back to Niji, I will try more of their soups and skip the sushi all together.

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11 thoughts on “Niji

  • March 29, 2011 at 10:17 am
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    Have you tried Akira Sushi yet? It's in a nondescript strip mall off John Counter Blvd, just west of Sir John A. The location is challenging and essentially unreachable if you have to rely on public transport, but it is worth the effort. Akira is not the cheapest place to fill yourself with raw fish, however their quality is unsurpassed in Kingston. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

    • March 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm
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      I really like Akira but I find their service is pretty slow. I personally prefer Sima for fresh fish and amazing service!

  • March 29, 2011 at 10:20 am
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    Are you seriously saying that this awful review warrants a "second-best sushi in Kingston"? Have you been to Sapporo, Sakura or Akira? I have a really hard time believing that a place where you wouldn't even get sushi again deserves being called the second-best in Kingston.

    • March 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm
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      I believe the "second best" comment was referring to the gamjatang, not the sushi. In fact if you read the very last sentence in the review he clearly states: "If I go back to Niji, I will try more of their soups and skip the sushi all together."

    • March 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm
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      Quotation marks usually suggest the use of a quote. Unfortunately, I didn't say "second-best sushi in Kingston" anywhere… Regardless, I wouldn't but Sapporo or Sakura in the same realm as Akira. In my opinion: Sima, Akira, or bust…

  • March 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm
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    I agree with both comments. Akira is great – wish it was in a better location. Plus there's Sima downtown, which I think is pretty great too.

  • March 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm
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    The tuna lover looks interesting! I'm all for trying out new spots, but I haven't been eating sushi lately as much as I did in years past. In any case, when I get my craving I am more inclined to go to old haunts such as Sima, and Sushi Ya. Those are still two of my faves, and they rarely disappoint.

    As for what used to be here, recall this was once a Jumbo Video. I guess all the torrents and netflix accounts in the area kind of killed the video store. Perhaps it's only a matter of time until Blockbuster gets the axe too?

  • March 30, 2011 at 12:25 am
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    Discover Japan (and whatever it's called now) has always been the best sushi in Kingston. Yes it's ugly and it takes a long time, but it's like the Wok-In. Dedicated immigrants making food they know how to make. There's no reason to go to a Korean-owned place to get Japanese food. If you want bulgogi or bibimbap, fine, but leave sushi to the Japanese.

    • March 30, 2011 at 10:16 am
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      Hilariously, the chef at Izumo (as Discover Japan is called now)… is Korean. I know the guy! I disagree with the idea that sushi can only be made by the Japanese. To me, good fish that is well cut and well presented is more important than the ethnic origin of the chef.

  • October 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm
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    I've never heard of ground bone marrow being sprinkled on food but what do i know.
    I do know however that what was sprinkled in Niji's porkbone soup is actually ground perilla seed and not ground bone marrow. (-_-);;

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