Monday, July 8, 2013

Boston's Sushi Restaurants

I haven't tried everywhere, of course, but I'll continue adding to this sushi spectrum:

1. Uni

2. Oishii
3. Duozo
4. Super Fusion
5. Misono
6. Fugakyu
7. JP Seafood Cafe

1. Uni

2. Oishii - 87/100

If you or your lover are super rich, Oishii (South End and Chestnut Hill) may be the place for you. I couldn't have guessed how expensive the place would be from the website since the online menu doesn't list prices. Pretty much everything on the menu was at least $18, mostly a lot more. This is one restaurant that lives up to the four dollar sign warning.



Of course at an expensive place like this, you do get your little amuses bouches. These were some kind of edamame puree thingies, and they were delightful.

Skip the cocktails: Yuzu Spirit with Ginza Suzume Soju, asian lassi, fresh yuzu juice & Liquid Nitrogen for $12

That seems so fun, right? And it was fun to see, the liquid nitrogen whisping out ghosts of air. 

Unfortunately it didn't taste good.
There were other more innocuous ones, but for $12 do you really want a lychee martini that is best described by shrugging and saying, "It's good."? Sticking to water will go a long way to making your check more reasonable anyway.

Get: Tuna, mango, baby ginger on crispy seaweed squares - $20 for four 1x1 inch squares

Now this was delicious. The mango was nice, the baby ginger was excellent but there was so little of it. Mostly I just wanted to eat pieces of that tuna nonstop for the rest of my life. The accompaniments didn't bring as much to the table as I'd hoped. I liked the seaweed cracker, but it was hard to figure out how to pick these things up properly. Fortunately I don't really give much of a fuck about appearances and opted for my fingers after brief attempts with chopsticks.


Consider: Grilled breast of Moullard duck, onions, Honeycrisp Apples sauteed in Sake and Rhododendron Honey, served in a Delicious Red Apple (by which they mean a "Red Delicious") for 

The duck was so good, like tender steak. The apple was silly and not worth even eating, though in a vain attempt to extract my date's money's worth, I certainly tried. There were little pieces of geleed something, perhaps duck face, and whatever they were they were also tasty. I'm sure the flowers were edible, I don't care what my date said.


Consider: Kumamoto Oyster Tempura Maki  - Tempura Fried Oysters, lemon foam, orange zest, ginger balsamic reduction for $18

This oyster roll was really good, but not worth the $18. It wasn't quite as good as the (much more affordable) sushi at Douzo. I wanted to try it for the lemon foam and balsamic reduction (on sushi?!) of course, but I probably should've gotten something with tuna or salmon or eel. The lemon foam wasn't really that good on it. I did love how lightly tempura'd the oyster was, part of the overall great balance of this roll.

As the chef made his rounds to the tables, he came to us and told us a long and strange story about a boating trip. Just as my date and I were wondering where the hell this sexagenarian was going with his tale, he mentioned that a girl on the boat who'd been finicky about pain turned out to have a belly button ring. He asked if my "boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever" pulled on my lip ring. I told him that's the idea, while my date blushed. I suggested that he and his wife get matching tongue rings for their upcoming 30th anniversary.

Strangely, the takeout menu seems to have maki options that the dine in does not that are much more affordable (though certainly less interesting). The maki on the takeout menu range from $5-$30, and they have handrolls for $6-$9.

Takeaway lesson: I would go here and order sashimi. It probably is the best quality in town. The fancy convoluted dishes aren't worth their price tags. Then again, there'll be a bunch of crazy things on the menu that'll sound too amazing. Try one. See whether or not you're disillusioned, and let me know. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to ask my girlfriend to take me here for my next birthday.


Oishii Boston on Urbanspoon

3. Douzo - 92/100


4. Super Fusion (Brookline): 82/100

Downsides: there are only four small tables and a few counters seats, there's something wrong with their tap water, and they only have the full sodium soy sauce. On the other hand, the sushi's about as good as you can get in Boston for the prices.
Tuna with Kimchee ($10): Skip this one.
Sea Rainbow Papaya ($9) scallop, snow crab, mayo with grilled papaya topped with smoked salmon, shrimp, wasabi tobiko & lemon sauce - I wish I'd realized this was one of those too fried and too creamy to precede sushi appetizers.
So I might skip the appetizers (at least try different ones) and head straight for the sushi, which was great:
Tuna Carpaccio Maki ($11) tuna, onion, & spicy mayo topped with a layer of carpaccio tuna with spicy ponzu sauce - Whatever you do, get this one.

Brookline Maki ($13) eel tempura with cucumber maki topped with white tuna lightly torched with spicy mayo, tobiko & unagi sauce - Oh man, that hits all the spots.

Rainbow Maki ($12) crab stick, shrimp, tobiko with spicy mayo topped with a layer of avocado, tuna, salmon & yellowtail - As the quality of the fish isn't at the very highest level here, I'd opt for the rolls with more fun stuff going on rather that ones like this that are very fish focused.


Super Fusion Cuisine on Urbanspoon


5. Misono - 80/100


A few months back I was dating a girl who had never had good sushi. She thought she had, but when she told me she thought the sushi we ate in Providence at a place called Haruki East was good, I knew I had to find her some better sushi. The menu at Misono looked promising, so I made the date.


Avocado Salad - $8.95 - Crabstick and cucumber mix topped with thin slices of avocado and shrimp served over fresh greens and topped with spicy mayo & sweet peppers

I wish there'd been more than two shrimp, and it was a little too creamy (not the best precursor to light sushi), but it was delicious creaminess. I'd take a little less mayo and add some chopped jalapenos to make this perfect.


Firecracker Roll - $12.95 - Kanikama (crabstick) tempura & avocado roll topped with chopped tuna mixed with scallions, tobiko, fresh ginger, toasted sesame, olive oil, jalapeno and chef's spicy sauce

The chef did a good job on his spicy sauce because, in conjunction with those jalapenos, this roll was the perfect level of spicy, so flavorful and enjoyable but without ever overbearing the tastebuds. That long list of flavors all came together very well.


Umami "Delicious" Roll - $12.95 - Kanikama, spicy mayo, cucumber & tempura flake roll topped with torched salmon, tobiko, scallions & chef's sauce


Torching the salmon gave this roll a nice camping taste, topping off the salty, sweet, crunchy, creamy, deliciousness of the rest of the flavors.

After dinner, I asked my date about her sushi experience. "Yeah," she said, "I'd never had good sushi before today. Thank you."

Ahhhhh... foodie satisfcation



Misono Restaurant on Urbanspoon

6. Fugakyu - 70/100



"Thank god you're cute" is what I would tell Fugakyu if I were dating it. I've never enjoyed a non-outdoor seating dining experience more than at Fugakyu (Brookline)... if you don't count the quality of the sushi. There're other seating options, but make a reservation for one of the private booths. You and your date (or up to six people) can have your own private dining booth, completely enclosed, with a sliding bamboo door. The place is totally adorable. Not only is the privacy delightful, but they serve the food with particularly fun presentations.





Pretty light!

Ooh! It changes colors!

3 Kumamoto oysters garnished with watermelon, shiso, scallion & wasabi ponzu sauce - $13


I have officially decided that I prefer there be nothing on my oysters. I couldn't really detect watermelon or any of those things particularly, but just a general distraction from my oysters, which were tasty if small and a little tinny. $13 was way too much. Go get six oysters from anywhere else instead.


Ladybug Roll - $12.50 - Spicy seafood salad, sweet potato tempura, cherry tomato & black tobiko - I liked this roll. The fish and rice were just a little blander than with really good sushi.


Dice K - $20!! - Mushroom, asparagus, avocado, lettuce, whole lobster tail, black tobiko, sesame & wasabi mayo

With all that shit going on, this was actually less falavorful than the Ladybug. I feared lobster would be too delicate to hold up under those strong flavors anyway, but this lobster was particularly bland. It's just clear that the Fugakyuans are getting their fish at some kind of lower quality discount. There's a piece of sushi hiding underneath the lobster's head, by the way.

The menu is about a mile long. If the sushi were better, I'd be holding my breath to try it all.

Fugakyu on Urbanspoon



7. Jp Seafood Cafe - 30/100



It's soft of a joke the this one is even on the list, but some girl had been telling me for weeks that JP Seafood Cafe (in Jamaica Plain) was really good. I was doubtful. It didn't look like much, the name didn't seem like the name of a good restaurant, and I'd never heard anyone else recommend it. The menu looked okayish. We finally made our way there.


The place was larger than I'd thought, and it was pleasant and comfortable inside.



Oshinko Salad: Japanese Pickled Radish, Cucumbers, Onions, and Burdock Root - $4.95

The burdock root was a little too salty, but other than that, it was a nice little medley of pickled stuff.

Shocking Maki - Spicy Tuna, Mayo, Sacallions, and Tempura Flakes - $5.95

I was hoping to be shocked by how much better it tasted than it looked, but I wasn't. I didn't have to swallow the first bite before I knew this was low quality sushi, like what you'd get at a grocery store, except not as good (with the exception of Trader Joe's ridiculously bad but extremely cheap sushi. This was better than that).
Jamaica Plain Roll - Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Cucumber - $5.95

I love the "plain" pun they made here. One of the plainest roll I've ever had, indeed.


Back: Futo Maki - Spinach, Avocado, Cucumber, Japanese Squash, Kani, Burdock Root, Pshink and Masago - $6.50

This one had enough going on that it was enjoyable.

Front: Sunshine Maki - Salmon, Lemon, Cilantro, and cucumber - $5.95

There was hardly any cilantro. Humph.
Apparently the main reason the girl I'd come with had wanted me to try this place was their chocolate cake. I wasn't holding much hope out at this point that anything at this restaurant would impress me at all.

The one thing I would recommend is the chocolate cake for $7.50.

It was rich and dense and moist without being so dense that it's sickening. In other words, it actually was an outstanding chocolate cake. It was served with some plain and pointless ice cream that I cut out of the picture because I would recommend not adulterating your chocolate cake with it.

Thus, my advice is to come here just for the chocolate cake, or else get something fried for dinner (they have Fish 'n' Chips and even a Fisherman's Platter - hah! Incredible!) and then the chocolate cake.


Jp Seafood Café on Urbanspoon





Final thoughts:


If only I could combine the ambiance of Fugakyu, the quality of Oishii's fish, with the skill of Douzo's specialty maki creations, I'd have my hands-down best Boston sushi restaurant.