Restaurant Review – Akira 2 – Moorestown, NJ

This afternoon, I decided to leave my comfort zone and try some Japanese food. I guess that makes me the adventurous type. Many people I know get leery when I ask if they’d like to go out for Oriental cuisine. This response always mystifies me. I don’t find it that much different from typical American dishes. Many times, they entail either a different combination or preparation of foods people are already familiar with. The Pad Thai I had today served as a great example.

Upon entering Akira 2, guests are treated to an elegant interior. Yellow walls flank dark tables. A large wooden figure of Buddah sits over a small pond. Lights that alternate from red to green to blue illuminate the statue. This makes for a very inviting atmosphere. They also have outdoor seating overlooking downtown Moorestown.

The chef prepares the meals in full view of the patrons. This always puts me at ease. The current issue of Columbia University’s Journal of International Affairs addresses the topic of global food security. The fact that the kitchen is out in the open shows me that the preparers have nothing to hide.

I started off with a green iced tea. I’m a big tea drinker and Akira 2’s version pleasantly surprised me. I ordered the unsweetened variety as I’ve been told that obesity is the second leading cause of death for internet food critics. (In case you wondered, homicide is the first.) It tasted much more tangy than what I’m used to. This was one of those rare cases where I didn’t feel the need to sweeten my drink.

The main course made me glad I didn’t. I ordered the Pad Thai with Chicken and Shrimp. What an original tasting meal. The chef prepared this dish with a sweet sauce. Between that and the peanuts, it gave the noodles a flavor reminiscent of peanut butter and maple syrup. This made for a very interesting combination. I’ve had Pad Thai in the past, but not like this. I mentioned the sugary nature of the sauce, right? After I finished, my plate looked like I’d just finished off a stack of pancakes with all the syrup left over. In fact, it was so sugary a bee nearly flew into my mouth when I left the building. (That’s true, folks. I’m not making it up.)

I can’t fault the chef for the sweetness of the meal. Pad Thai is one of the more “sauce heavy” dishes I’m familiar with. To be fair if there is a food worth drowning in something it would be rice noodles. They don’t have much of a flavor as it is, so any addition is worthwhile. For that reason, I can’t in good conscience write that Akira 2 overdid it. Pad Thai is a unique combination of ingredients and may not be to everybody’s liking. For those not allergic to peanuts or suffering from diverticulitis: putting on the bucket list is worthwhile, however.

I thought the price $14.99, pretty reasonable. I may have misread the menu, though. When I ordered, I thought it came with soup, salad and a vegetable, which it did not. I’d suggest the management make clearer what does and does not come with additional food. I went away full, but I would’ve been curious to try some soup.

I enjoyed my visit to Akira 2. They offer a host of Oriental dishes, including Sushi and Hibachi prepared meals. If peanuts and sugar aren’t to your liking, I’m sure they serve something that is. I’d encourage others to do the deuce and check out Akira 2.

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