JJ’s Asian Fusion
37-05 31 Ave (37-38 St), Astoria
We love the restaurants in Astoria, meal for meal it can stand up to nearly any neighborhood anywhere. Once in a while, however, a restaurant outside of Manhattan can be a bit overrated by Zagat’s and other guides, most frequently in the suburbs. This was certainly the case with JJ’s Asian Fusion which has been receiving high praise for years. The 2008 Zagat’s calls it “a contender for the best Asian food in Queens award” and gives it a 25 food rating! That is extremely high and to put it in perspective is equal to or higher than every BBQ, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Southwestern and Spanish restaurant in the entire survey, the only steakhouse that tops a 25 is Peter Luger’s. So while JJ’s was fine and certainly not bad in any way, it could never live up to its hype. We had the edamame potstickers and a bunch of standard sushi rolls, but nothing really impressed us as delicious or even very unique, other than the potstickers, which were pretty overrated as well. The other thing that sticks in our craw about JJ’s is that it is in no way Asian fusion. It was a standard Japanese menu with the additions of fried rice, dim sum and a few other basic Chinese dishes. Fusion should mean that a variety of flavors from different ethnicities are combined in a single dish. JJ’s could learn a lesson from real fusion restaurants like Spice Market and Sushi Samba, which both are fantastic and get a 22 food rating. So go to JJ’s if you are nearby and want a decent meal, just don’t believe the hype and expect a life altering experience.
36-98 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria
We actually like Watawa, another Astoria Japanese eatery, better than JJ’s. It is not even in Zagat’s, but is a real neighborhood no frills Japanese with an unbeatable lunch deal of three rolls with soup and salad for $10. We have been there many times and have found it solid and reliable with a standout shrimp tempura roll. It is not the best sushi on the planet, but is quiet and only known in the local area, and that’s the way we like it. Similar to pizza and Chinese, I feel that everyone has a local favorite place for sushi. This is ours.