DH and I were so excited when Kenji 2 at the Shoppes of Hamilton on Route 130 North in Yardville/Hamilton opened, as Kenji on Rte 33 is one of our favorites. We dined there the first week that it opened.
We were pleasantly greeted by the manager, who seemed to recognize us and stayed a moment to chat.
Being used to a very extensive menu, I was a bit disappointed that Kenji 2's menu was quite limited. Maybe that was due to it being opening week and it will expand? It's eclectic for sure; Sushi, Brazilian, French - I'm not quite sure if the fusion was working the day of our visit.
As with each of the Kenjis, the servers are very young women, and ours was no exception. She did not really know the menu. Whenever we asked about a dish, her response was that she didn't know and would have to ask the chef. (And we only asked a couple questions, so it wasnt' like we were giving her a test!)
For starters, I had the Lobster Bisque, and DH had the Miso. My soup was hot, nice chunks of lobster meat, thick, but not too thick or pasty. The miso was the usual.
Appetizers: I ordered vegetarian sushi (avocado, cucumber, asparagus) and a sweet potato roll. DH ordered california rolls and some other sushi. We both enjoyed it, although it took about 25 minutes to receive (and the place was not even 1/4 full and there were 4 sushi chefs at the bar). The sweet potato sushi was the best I have ever had. You could even have it as a dessert!
Once again, our wait between courses seemed incredibly long. We don't know where our server went off to, but we could not find her anywhere to get refills on drinks while we were waiting.
Entrees: DH had Osso Bucco which came with asparagus risotto. The sauce was light and flavorful, and he said the meat was very tender. The risotto was undercooked. Hard bits of rice, in a mushy sauce.
I ordered the pork tenderloin over mashed root vegetable. The first thing I noticed was the odd smell to the meat. Like it had been left out in the sun for a couple days. Ok, giving it the benefit of the doubt that maybe it was some spice I was unfamiliar with, I took my first bite. I nearly gagged. I tried a second small bite and discreetly spit it out. I know what pork tenderloin medallions taste like, but whatever the meat I was served was, it definitely was not pork. Even DH could not discern what meat it was. It tasted putrid, so needless to say, I could not eat it. The mashed root vegetables were very bitter and lacked seasoning. After another 20 minutes of trying to find our server, she finally came over. DH was already finished with his meal. I explained about the "pork" and she agreed it smelled "funny". However, instead of returning it to the kitchen, she said she had to get the manager over. He was busy schmoozing at another table, so we had to wait yet another 20 minutes (and I am not exaggerating these times; if anything, giving them the benefit of the doubt). He graciously offered to remove my plate and allow me to order something else, but by this time, it was getting late and I had lost my appetite. Besides, I don't like eating dinner alone after DH finished as I feel that I have to rush through my meal so he doesn't have to wait. The manager said he would remove my entree from the check.
Dessert: I originally ordered something chocolate, but our server came back to say they were out of it. I ended up ordering the bananas foster. They were not done tableside, and I doubt that they were even flambed. It came with a generous portion of vanilla ice cream. Not bad, but not worth the price. DH ordered a citrus cheesecake. His was very good. Creamy and the flavors were well balanced.
When our check arrived, my dinner was not taken off. Once again, we had to hunt down the server, only to be told, once again, she had to get her manager. This time, he promptly came over and handled the check himself, making apologies and requested that we return.
I left feeling very disappointed. I expected the same excellent service as Kenji 1 (since the servers rotate back and forth), and I certainly expected the same quality of food. I'd have to give this experience a C-.
Although we may go back to Kenji 2 sometime in the future, I think we will stick with the original Kenji for now.