Eastside

Megu offers delicious sushi options

Courtesy of www.megusushi.com

Ilana Arougheti, Eastside Staff

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With several  Zagat and Best of South Jersey awards under its belt, Megu provides diners with not only great sushi and hibachi, but a great dining experience overall. Its trio of locations; one in Cherry Hill, one in Moorestown and one in Ventnor; were founded by executive chef Steven Lin, who has been cooking since he was fifteen years old, and his experience is definitely reflected in Megu’s vast array of available dishes.

When I visited the Cherry Hill location last Saturday, I noticed that the restaurant was full and bustling, even though it was 8 p.m., a little later than most people eat dinner. The hibachi area along one wall and the cozy seating provided by comfortable booths and glass tables inlaid with pebbles provided a fun and familiar ambience. However, since it was such a warm evening, I ate outside on a patio-style table, exposed to the hustle and bustle of the plaza around me. When customers first arrive, Megu provides them with a small dish of pickled cucumbers to cleanse their palates and a basket of warm, scented towels to clean their hands. While I personally found the towels’ scent to be overwhelming, I thought it was a nice touch, and the cucumbers were perfectly spicy and acidic. Megu is a BYOB, and if you bring a bottle of wine they provide you with glasses and an ice bucket.

The establishment’s Saturday dinner menu selections include appetizers, soups and salads, sushi, sashimi, handrolls, standard entrees, hibachi entrees and dessert. Rolls come in portions of six pieces per roll; sashimi comes in portions of three pieces, and sushi comes in portions of two pieces. The price of a roll ranges from $3.00, for the cucumber roll, to $14.95, for the Steven Sashimi roll. A hibachi dinner entrée costs, on average, $21.50.

My favorite thing to order at Megu is by far the seaweed salad ($4.50), so I began my meal with an order, as well as a cup of miso soup ($2.00). The salad was sweet, tart and gentle, with perfectly salty seaweed textured like glass noodles; the soup was a little bit bland but refreshing despite the hot weather.

In order to sample as much of the menu as possible, my family and I decided to split a few handrolls for dinner. The eel cucumber roll ($4.95) was a standout – it was my first time tasting eel, which was fishy and savory and served neatly in a roll with cucumber, white rice and seaweed wrapped around the outside. For my vegetarian mother, we ordered a veggie garden roll ($5.50), which consisted of sprouts, avocado, lettuce and Japanese pickled vegetable wrapped in rice and seaweed. What the roll lacked in protein it made up for in intensity – the pickled vegetables were unique and summary and the dish as a whole was surprisingly filling. The tuna in the spicy tuna roll ($4.95) came mixed with a spicy tartare-ish sort of sauce which really made the dish feel classic and unique. Every platter of rolls came with a generous portion of rosy pickled ginger, which I piled on my sushi for a little extra kick, and a small mountain of very intense green wasabi.

We also ordered a yellowtail scallion roll ($4.50), which I feel could have benefited from a little more spice. The fish within the roll was bland and came in oversized chunks – Megu seems to do a better job with specialty roles requiring unique flavors than they do with the basics. We ordered three-piece salmon sashimi ($5) because my brother and I had sampled sushi and handrolls before but never sashimi. However, our order was misconstrued within the bustling kitchen and we were instead given salmon sushi (also $5). The salmon was tender and soft but a little too slimy for my taste, and my stomach definitely protested its arrival. On its website, Megu describes its “vision for bringing the flavors of both East and West together,” and its better handrolls such as the eel cucumber and spicy tuna definitely represent the flavors of the East well. Some of its more Western inspired handrolls as they are described on the menu seem like odd choices of flavor combinations, such as the New York roll ($5.50), which contains apple, tuna, cucumber and Japanese mayo. However, overall their rolls are tasty and unique enough to warrant a return visit and explain the restaurant’s busy state.

 

The service throughout the night was excellent – servers circulated constantly to refill water pitchers and assist BYOBers with pouring wine and food was brought out promptly. Diners were provided with chopsticks and small ornate dishes in which to hold their soy sauce, and the soup and seaweed salad were served on classy, colorful flatware.  The crowd at the restaurant varied from families out to dinner, like mine, to groups of older people having a night out on the town, to young couples on first dates bonding over tempura and bowls of salted edamame. Megu also boasts a selection of Japanese sodas ($2.50) and a dessert menu featuring mochi ice cream ($2.50) and fried tempura banana ($3.00), but between the incredibly filling handrolls and the fresh, flavorful starters, I was too full to attempt a sweet finale. Overall, Megu is a fun choice for a fun meal out; the ambiance is welcoming and the food is generally tasty.

Megu’s Cherry Hill location is open from 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 12:30 pm – 9:30 p.m. on Sundays. Reservations are available, as are party platters and catering.

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About the Writer
Ilana Arougheti, Eastside Editor-In-Chief

Ilana Arougheti has been on the Eastside editorial board for three years, but her distaste for Comic Sans and her loyalty to Times New Roman are just as strong as on day one. She’s a big proponent of crewneck sweatshirts, indie bookstores, dark chocolate, and freedom of the press. Ilana can be found around East at all hours, editing in F087, painting sets for the theater department, or running down the hallway between club meetings. She’s grateful to have journalism in her life because it allows her to open others’ eyes to the new worlds they might otherwise never have found inside their own. Don’t ask her about the time she spent in the Chicago area last summer unless you’re ready for her to talk your ear off.

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