Aji Japanese Bistro launched with great fanfare in December, scoring a feature in the Sac Bee by Chris Macias touting the level of service a diner might expect at the restaurant.
Four months after they opened, Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson tells us whether they lived up to the hype.
And yet our experiences so far suggest all that focus on nuance might be best reserved for later. Right now, Aji could use greater emphasis on its cooking – how it can take its eclectic and often inspiring words on paper and make them come together for a more consistent, dynamic and entertaining eating experience.
While the restaurant already exhibits a sense of sophistication when it comes to the ambiance and service, there were simply too many missteps from the kitchen. The seasoning of the food, the use of ingredients, the composition of the dishes – much of it seemed random, if not clunky.
Despite its rather uncommon concept, Aji finds itself in the most competitive restaurant category in the region. Casual upscale dining, in fact, is the direction fine dining is going throughout the country. It’s less formal and often more fun. But to distinguish itself, a restaurant has to make the food really sing and dial in the value.
Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.
I've only eaten there once - the weekend after I read the Bee's profile since I was already at the outlets in Folsom. On my one visit, I found it middling. Maybe that's too strong. I was ready for an experience that would blow me away, but what I got was what you'd typically expect from a new restaurant. There were some good dishes and others that had execution issues. The service was friendly, but not world class.
El Dorado Hills is a long drive for those who live on The Grid. I have no doubt that they'll be successful with those who live out there, but I'm not sure if they'll continue to draw people from other areas in the region unless they start delivering what they promised.
Aji Japanese Bistro is located at 4361 Town Center Blvd in El Dorado Hills, and can be found online at http://www.aji-bistro.com/.
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