Friday, September 21, 2012

AJ's NY Pizzeria

View Larger Map Google Maps is not yet recognizing the business at this address, but here it is!!

If you are looking for a taste of New York a good place to start would be AJ’s NY Pizzeria. It’s closer than flying to New York tonight, and cheaper.
The first clue to its New York roots is the yellow cab out front. Inside, the theme continues and it’s like you are on the streets of the Big Apple because all their signs look like street signs from New York City. One wall has the front of a vintage car mounted on it, TVs are on all the walls, and the open kitchen with a bar in front are only a few of the cool things about AJ’s. I haven’t even begun to talk about the food.
The menu features pizza, pasta, wings and more. It was hard to decide what I wanted but since my husband was with me I was able to try two things at once. He ordered a pizza, basically like a supreme only called The Big Apple, with sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, meat balls, Canadian bacon, ham, mushroom, onions, black olives, green peppers, mozzarella and parmesan. The choice was hard but I ordered the baked ziti pie and added fresh basil, tomatoes, sausage, beef, mushrooms, onions and spinach.
They bring the pizza and set it on a little wire stand, which I have seen before, just nowhere in Topeka. It’s nice to have a nice pizza place to go to now. The pizza was delicious. The crust was thin but it still held up to the various toppings and was still crispy. The pizzas are served with a choice of dipping sauce, and I chose marinara and my husband chose garlic butter – they were both good. There isn’t a lot of sauce on the pizza itself so the marinara was a good choice for me. I enjoyed this because I could control how much sauce I did want. Sometime I have to scrape it off at other pizza places, because there is too much.
The ziti was pretty impressive as well. Even the hubby liked it and he isn’t a big fan of pasta dishes. The pasta was done to the point where it still had texture and wasn’t mushy, like some of the baked pasta dishes I have ordered before. The mozzarella cheese must have been fresh because it was stringy and elastic and reminded me of the cheese on pizzas I have ordered in Chicago. The cheese was the best part, and why I will be going back again in the future. This dish also can be made in your choice of sauces, Alfredo, marinara or pesto and I chose marinara.
I was so stuffed when I was done and I still had left overs.
This place seems like a good place to bring the family for dinner then come back at night with your friends for a few drinks. The food is good and I am excited to try more menu items there. Check it out and let me know what you think by commenting below. Happy tasting!


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Usually when my husband and I go out for sushi in Topeka we go to Kiku, but yesterday we didn't feel like driving all the way across town. Daimaru is in our neighborhood so we decided to try their sushi. I was pleasantly surprised.
Pulling up, I was skeptical because there seemed to be nobody there. Going inside I felt the same way, but I had to keep reminding myself that just because it wasn't busy like Mr. Stirfry because it's not a chain. Plus it was 4 p.m. on a Thursday. We were the only two customers, which I decided was fine by me. It was nice not having to listen to people around us and to have a private meal.
The room is set up with hibachi grills, booths and tables. The bar is for sushi rolling as well as drink pouring, and is also where their specials are featured. The specials are what I was after - that's how I like to try new sushi, for cheap.
We didn't want hibachi, just sushi, so we sat at a table by the bar. I ordered the rainbow roll, (my favorite), which is a California roll with sashimi and avocado on top. My husband ordered the hot roll, which is a spicy tuna roll that was dipped in tempura batter, fried and topped with their hot sauce. Then together we ordered a third roll, the troublemaker roll. I ordered this because I feel like we are both troublemakers and the waitress said it was a good choice.
            We were served the soup, typical of most sushi places, cloudy broth with shiitake mushrooms and green onions. This one had bok choy and soft tofu, which I really enjoyed. I don't usually go for the soft tofu, but in the soup it was perfect. No salad was served, but I looked at the menu and there are meals one can purchase that will come with soup and salad. We just ordered a la carte so I was surprised we even had soup so I was happy with that.
            The sushi came shortly after.
            My favorite roll of all time is the rainbow roll, and most people stick their nose up at it because of the sashimi. Most people think sushi is all raw fish but they are wrong. Many types of sushi come with cooked fish or no fish, only vegetables. The Nori may have a fishy taste to it but that is only because it is made out of seaweed, so most people think they are tasting fish, but it’s really the green wrap. Sashimi, on the other hand, is raw fish. The rainbow roll usually has five to seven types of sashimi on top, and that is my favorite part. Yellowtail, tuna, scallop, salmon, snapper, and even shrimp – although it’s cooked – can all be on top. I am not sure of the exact fish that Daimaru serves on theirs, but it was tasty. Inside the roll is just like a California, avocado, crab and cucumber, rice on the outside, Nori on the inside.
            The hot roll was pretty tasty as well. The sauce they drizzled on the top was to die for, spicy and sweet at the same time and a perfect compliment to the spicy tuna on the inside of the roll. It was warm because it was deep fried, but not hot. The crunchy paired well with the softness of the spicy tuna and the texture was perfectly balanced. Sometimes spicy tuna can be too spicy but this was not, and I ate more than my usual one piece. Sometimes the chef will put cucumber in the middle with the spicy tuna, but this one only had spicy tuna. With it being fried I think this was the best choice
            The third roll, the troublemaker roll was pretty damn good. It was the special on their board and I was glad I tried it. It included spicy tuna, tempura battered shrimp and more of that awesome spicy/sweet sauce. I was in heaven.
            I will definitely b returning to Daimaru to try more of their food. I only wanted sushi yesterday but I am intrigued and ready to try the hibachi, and when I do I will let you all know how it goes.
            Please leave comments to let me know what you think of my reviews, and take my poll too! If you have a suggestion of a restaurant I should try, let me know, I am always up for suggestions. Happy tasting!