A Japanese style steakhouse that also happens to serve some pretty good sushi not far from some of the best shopping in the state sets Samba's Japanese food apart. Area locals flock to Samba on Sundays when kids eat fee with the purchase of an adult entree and the magic show keeps them entertained long after the dinner preparation has ended. Those in the know gather at Samba for good food, drinks and a fun night our with friends. Serving both lunch and dinner, you can enjoy Samba favorites for almost half the price prior to starting your shopping excursion at Route 9's extensive collection of stores in Framingham and neighboring Natick on weekday afternoons.
Recommended for Japanese because: A seat at Samba's hibachi grill is the perfect place for a family, couple or group to enjoy a Japanese meal.
Jessica's expert tip: A sushi appetizer and a hibachi selection make for a wonderful Japanese meal. Families love dining here on Sundays when entertainment is provided and kids eat free.
Located in Chestnut Hill, this tiny sushi joint serves up the freshest fare and is accustomed to packing it to go. With only a small sushi bar and a few tables, you can expect a wait at Oishii (or easily enjoy it as take-out). Specialties include creative rolls like the Hamachi Torched Maki (Roe, cucumber & spicy mayo inside & hamachi torched outside w/sweet miso sauce & black tobiko on top), clean cuts of fresh sashimi, and special hand rolls top off the menu here. You'll be happily rewarded for your wait with fish Oishii local fans have grown to love.
Recommended for Japanese because: Oishii is a small sushi bar with limited seating that is unrivaled. Small in size, and big on value, Oishii's known for quality.
Jessica's expert tip: Take out is often easier than waiting for a seat, and the quality of the take out is equal to eating in. They may have the best spicy tuna roll in Boston.
Shiki is not the type of place you'd stroll past and assume they had some of the best Japanese food in all of Boston, but once you eat there, you'll long for a return trip. Traditional Japanese food is served in a simple setting. So authentic is their menu that it is written in both Japanese and English as Bostonians with Japanese roots find Shiki to be a taste of home. Be sure to eat more than just sushi here because that is where you'll be rewarded- lightly fried agedashi tofu, hamachi kama and grilled saba are local favorites. Some even say they make the lightest tempura in all of Boston.
Recommended for Japanese because: Authentic Japanese food prepared without alteration for the American palate at excellent prices makes Shiki special.
Jessica's expert tip: The service is not as good as the food, be paitient and you'll be rewarded by specialties like the meaty hamachi kama, and sanshoku soba noodles in a divine sweet/salty broth.
Q is a hot pot spot that serves excellent sushi as well as other Asian treats. A one stop shop for your Asian cravings they do an excellent Shabu Shabu style meal that is a fun sharing experience for those you are with. Platters of raw meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles arrive at your table ready to be swished in your broth of choice. Selections range from vegetarian based to meat based and from mild to spicy; " premium" broth choices are available for a little extra. Cook and scoop your serving into your bowl for just the right combination of flavors.
Recommended for Japanese because: Q's social setting is ideal for a hot pot style meal; and their Chinese, Thai and Sushi options can satisfy any Asian craving.
Jessica's expert tip: The hot pot is a must, but sushi lovers will flip for the Red Sox Roll-spicy tuna, tempura and cucumber topped with tuna, fried taro and a spicy sauce- ideal for an appetizer.
Misono is a small Asian eatery located in a non-descript strip mall on West Roxbury's VFW Parkway. Don't let the location fool you because inside those doors the food that awaits is amazing! Enjoy one of the Chef's Special Rolls like the Hurricane Roll -tender lightly flavored sushi surrounds a mix of spicy crab and salmon salad that is then topped with sweet and crispy taro strings. Or indulge in one of the delightful appetizers that grace the menu. The Spicy Scallop Trio contains 3 bite sized morsels of lightly torched scallops atop perfectly prepared rice finished with tri-color tobiko and the perfect amount of spicy sauce.
Recommended for Japanese because: Serving up some of the freshest, most flavorful sushi around, Misono thinks outside the box with their flavor combinations creating the most unique rolls around.
Jessica's expert tip: Dive into the Dragon Ball- a literal ball of spicy tuna mixed with tempura flakes to lend the ideal amount of crunch and then topped with an entire avocado, drizzled with a sweet and salty sauce and served with taro.
A shoji-screened window and a small sign are the only indications that this nondescript brick building houses some of the finest sashimi in Boston. Chef and owner Tim Cushman works with his chefs to fuse exotic flavors with the purity of small morsels of raw fish. Expect small plates like wild bluefin chutoro tartare served with a homemade ginger kimchee jus and wild spot prawn with garlic butter, white soy and preserved yuzu. Of course, there's a price to pay for these bold and delightful bites - each plate starts around $20, and you'll need several to constitute a meal.
Recommended for Japanese because: O Ya is one of the top Japanese restaurants in Boston with prices to reflect their greatness. Dive into Japanese fare in their upscale setting.
Jessica's expert tip: The menu changes often to reflect the finest ingredients available. To make the most of your experience at O Ya, try the Omakase (chef's tasting menu), which will allow you a great overview of their menu.
Uni, located in the lounge of Clio, is a hip Back Bay gathering spot. energetic yet intimate, with a reverence for the food and a large selection of sakes. Sashimi is imported from Tokyo's Tskuji market, as well as local sources, and is paired with a menu of distinctive cocktails. Select a variety of their amazing offerings to create one perfect sushi meal or enjoy a small bite as a snack. Unique offerings change often, reflecting the Chef's whim, but may include Sanma (Pacific Saury) with umeboshi, huckleberry, sea grapes and pickled jalepeno and Shiro Ika (Japanese White Squid) with spicy peanuts, tamarind and Thai basil. Guaranteed to leave you licking your lips!
Recommended for Japanese because: Uni's a leader in over the top Sushi. And their late-night ramen rocks the local noodle scene; and ideal for enjoying Uni on the cheap.
Jessica's expert tip: Dive into Uni's sushi with abandon! Briny sensations are balanced with hints of spicy and sweet to create near perfect sushi offerings-changing often.
Fugakyu in Brookline's Coolidge Corner is a favorite for many Boston locals since it opened its doors. Everything is perfectly prepared, and their fun variations of rolls, which use their super fresh fish, are served in your setting of choice: private booth, tatami room, a table or simply at the sushi bar. Sashimi here has a crisp clean ocean taste that will have you wanting more, but save room for something else because aside from sushi Fugakyu also serves Japanese appetizers and main courses that are worth a try. Shumai steamed to perfection and gyoza fried to render the exterior crisp while the interior remains tenderly stuffed with flavorful pork and vegetables, and meat and noodle entrees that will make an impression.
Recommended for Japanese because: Fugakyu serves moderately priced, sensational sushi and Japanese dishes at the sushi bar, in a tatami room, private booth or at a table.
Jessica's expert tip: Those who enjoy creative takes on traditional maki will fall in love with Fugakyu. Topping the list are the Ebi Mango Maki, BJ Maki and the Oyster Tempura Maki.