Dan Ichimoto

The iconic Mt. Fuji Japanese Steakhouse, the beloved hibachi restaurant with locations in Hasbrouck Heights and Hillburn, NY just off Rte. 17 N., has 2,500 square feet of new reasons to make a reservation.

Y’s Lounge at the Hillburn location was a concept created by owner Yoshimasa Tada that boasts an extensive cocktail menu, elegant decor and panoramic views of Ramapo Valley. But the highlight of Y’s is the food, featuring all-new shareable apps, entrees and desserts that star inventive culinary twists, imported Japanese ingredients and stunning presentation.

How do we know? We ate our way down the menu from top to bottom. Here are our favorites that you need to add to your must-try list.

Crispy Okaki Asparagus

Skewered, deep fried asparagus coated in Japanese rice cracker and spiced yuzu salt

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You won’t have a tough time getting the kids to eat their vegetables here. The serious crunch on these make them snackable and addicting, and the yuzu salt adds a surprisingly bright, citrusy note. If you want to push your luck and get more greens on the kids’ plates (that is, if you haven’t booked a sitter to plan a night out without the kids), order the reinvented Caesar salad, topped with garlicky house croutons and pretty disks of fried lotus root.

Fried Cheese Sticks

Fried sticks of Camembert served with sides of koji rice and matcha and marinara for dipping

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Mozz stick who? This is a major upgrade. The creamy, savory cheese gets wrapped in flaky pastry wrappers before going for a dip in the fryer. Keep it traditional by dipping in the marinara, or roll each stick in the matcha first for something more complex. Did we mention this particular Camembert is imported and contractually unavailable anywhere else by Y’s in the US?

Honey Spiced Burrata

Creamy mozzarella in honey with Japanese Ichimi spices, served with Japanese crostini

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You’ll never see a prettier cheese plate. The combo of the heat-and-sweet honey plus the cool, soft cheese on a toasty garlic crostini absolutely blew us away. Be sure to snap a pic of this beauty, flowers and all, before digging in.

Crispy Shrimp with Spicy Red Chile Cream Sauce

Japanese beer battered shrimp in chile cream

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Are you obsessed with Bang Bang Shrimp, the cult favorite from Bonefish Grill? If so, you’re in for a serious treat. This shrimp has a thicker, golden batter that offers a stellar crunch under a coating of sticky, spicy sauce and vibrant green scallions. Beware this one: You’ll want a second order.

Sashimi Salmon Carpaccio with Sansho Herb from Kyoto, Japan

Sliced salmon with Kyoto aromatic peppercorns, jalapeno and Japanese crystal salt

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If sushi is a no-brainer for you when you go to Mt. Fuji, give this a try. The salmon is beyond fresh and buttery on the palate, not to mention it’s gorgeous and appropriately fatty. With the spice of the jalapeno and warm, fragrant flakes of pepper, each sliver of fish becomes a perfectly well-rounded bite.

Grilled Unagi and Guacamole

Eel with guacamole, baked mentaiko and spicy mayo

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All about eel rolls? This super savory app is for you. The eel gets topped with a layer of creamy guac, then a lump of bold, rich mentaiko (aka pollock roe, that’s fish eggs!). Picky eaters might think it’s an acquired taste, but seafood lovers and adventurous eaters alike should definitely give it a try.

Beef Steak Grilled on Mt. Fuji Yogan Lava Stone

Japanese skirt steak grilled in Remy Martin cognac on a lava stone from Mt. Fuji, Japan

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Get your Boomerang app ready! This steak comes on a sizzling stone from the real Mt. Fuji, which is cool enough on its own. But just wait until your server pours the cognac sauce over the meat right at your table, allowing it to smoke and bubble right before your eyes a la hibachi on the other side of the restaurant.

For a nightcap, we love the Imperial Fig (Figenza fig vodka, Maker’s Mark bourbon, lemon juice, blackberries, ginger ale) if you’re a sour drinker, and the Coconut Cosmo (Stoli vodka, amaretto, creme de cacao, creme of coconut, heavy cream) if you prefer your cocktails sweet. If you still have room for dessert, ask for the matcha chocolate. It’s creamy, sweet and, of course, beautifully plated. Your kid who’s always bugging you for a green tea Frappucino from Starbucks will love it.

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Y’s Lounge and Mt. Fuji Japanese Steakhouse are located at 296 Old Rte. 17 in Hillburn, NY. The Hasbrouck Heights restaurant is located at 193 NJ-17 in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. For more information, head to mtfujirestaurants.com.

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