The dining room at Green Tea is open and bright, all pastel colors with minimal decorations. Booths line the wall and larger tables fill the middle of the room, which features a sushi bar in the back. Our hostess was very friendly and cheerful, quick to offer to open our bottle of wine (Green Tea is BYOB, however there is a liquor store in the shopping center if you show up unprepared.) The menu is quite large, divided into Chinese, Thai and Japanese sections. Of course, all of the standard dishes you’d expect to find for each are available; no real surprises but with Chef’s specials in each. Among the Chinese Chef’s specialties are Soft Shell Crab in Spicy Curry ($15.95) and Sunrise Crispy Prawns ($14.95). All cooked entrees are priced under $17, including seasonal specials such as Lamb with Thai Basil ($12.95) and “Rainbow Seafood” ($15.95).
The Japanese menu features traditional maki, nigiri and of course plenty of the oversized, fancy specialty rolls that are so popular today. Some of the specialty rolls at Green Tea include the “Pink Lady” (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, asparagus, avocado in pink soy bean wrap with chef sauce, $12.95), “Iron Maki” (shrimp tempura and eel inside topped with spicy crunchy tuna and tobiko eel sauce, $13.95) and the “American Dream” (shrimp tempura and lobster roll topped with eel, crabmeat and avocado with eel sauce, $13.95). We decided to start with two Japanese appetizers, Beef Negimake ($6.95) and Age Tofu ($5.50). The Negimake was delicious and really well prepared, served on a bed of charred sweet onion and cooked to perfection. I was less thrilled with the Age Tofu, which was served in giant chunks and too heavily battered for my taste. I like my Age Tofu in smaller pieces with only a light batter, to really allow the tofu taste and texture to come through. Here, the big chunks of tofu just slopped out of the batter and so it was like eating plain tofu plus heavy pieces of fried batter. I’d get the Negimake again in a heartbeat but would definitely pass on the Age Tofu.
I ordered the Chirashi Sushi ($16.95), one of my standards for testing out a sushi restaurant’s style and quality. It came with a standard but acceptable green salad of iceberg lettuce and cucumber in ginger dressing. The Chirashi itself was fairly heavy on cooked, less expensive (what I almost call “filler”) sushi items: shrimp, tamago, crab stick, oshinko. That said, the tuna, salmon, mackerel and yellowtail were of acceptable quality and fresh tasting. We also ordered two of Green Tea fancy rolls. One is clearly considered the house specialty, the Green Tea Maki ($17.95, also the most expensive roll on the menu). It was a beautiful sight to behold, featuring a tempura-style roll with sweet shrimp, white fish, snow crab and asparagus inside, and tuna, scallop, salmon and 4-color fish roe on top in a green tea sauce. Indeed, there was so much going on with this roll it was almost hard to discern all the different flavors; I tended to eat the pieces of raw fish on top separately, then the tempura roll. I almost didn’t have room for our other roll, the Amazing Tuna Maki ($12.95). This would have been a shame as it was in fact probably the best thing we had in the entire meal. This roll featured spicy tuna and white tuna inside, and ahi tuna, tobiko and chef sauce on the outside. I’m a total sucker for a good spicy tuna roll and this one was very good. We had ordered much more food than we really needed, yet still finished the meal with some hot green tea and a bowl of green tea ice cream to share and soothe the stomach. All together our bill was $68 before tip, not unreasonable given all that we had ordered. Overall, my impression of Green Tea is that a little mixed but overall leaning toward positive. A few items we ordered were excellent, a few average, and only one not really to my tastes at all. I think I’ll need to spend more time trying out Green Tea’s offerings to see what they really prepare best. Most of the other diners around us seemed to be ordering from the Chinese and Thai menus, so I’ll have to give those offerings a try to see if they excel more with those cuisines than with Japanese. I’m not sure yet how I would rank Green Tea against our other nearby Asian BYOB, Mandarin Oriental in Mullica Hill, though neither can come close so far to my beloved Eastern Garden in Sussex which sets my standard for mixed Chinese/Japanese restaurants. Green Tea does offer All-You-Can-Eat Sushi, all day on Mondays, for $24.95. Catering services and take-out are also available.
120 Center Square Road
Woolwich Township, New Jersey
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10:30am – 10:00pm; Friday and Saturday 10:30am – 10:30pm; Sunday noon – 10:00pm.
BYOB; take out (no delivery); major credit cards accepted.