Monthly Archives: December 2015

Douzo – Boston

I previously introduced several Japanese restaurants in Washington, DC, as the city is one of the most visited destinations by business travellers from NYC. This time, I would like to introduce a Japanese restaurant in another popular city –Boston. Interestingly enough, when I order sushi and sashimi in Japanese restaurants in NYC I often notice that the fish comes from Boston. I had been looking forward to visiting Boston so I could try Japanese food there. Fortunately a recent business trip afforded me the opportunity to do so, and after a little research I picked Douzo for my dinner destination.

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According to my research prior to the trip, I felt Douzo should definitely be one of the higher-end and higher quality sushi restaurants in Boston. A lot of the reviews suggested making a reservation in advance – even on weekdays. But if you plan to go solo, I would suggest finding a cozy seat at the bar where you can still order a full menu.

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For starters I opted for grilled sweet corn, which was flavored with soy, chili powder, and butter. After that I selected salmon tartar. I was expecting the salmon to be prepared ‘Quebec’ style, which is typically minced, however, here it was cubed and equally delicious. For my main entrée I ordered sashimi and was amazed at how large their cuts of fish were – nearly two or three times thicker that comparable restaurants in New York City. Each piece was very juicy and perfectly fatty, and the standouts for me were salmon, fatty tuna, and yellow tail.

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http://douzosushi.com

 

Price: $60 for all of my selections + one beer and tip

Neighborhood: Boston Back Bay

Dress code: Smart casual

Dining alone: Yes, a nice bar/counter is available

Take Out: Yes

Riki

As holiday season is upon us I believe some of you may be searching for a party venue to spend a moment or two with your friends. If you are the organizer it can be stressful to find a great place where there is great food and an atmosphere that allows the guests to interact conversationally.

My choice for such a restaurant for a holiday event would be an izakaya restaurant, and Riki is one of my go-to favorites when I am thinking of a place to dine with close friends. Here most of the patrons are Japanese expats (or locals), which is always a good indicator of the authenticity. And I must mention that they have been in business for over two decades.

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Riki has an extensive menu and daily specials that are all very fresh and sell out quickly. I found everything to be reasonably priced for the quality, and this is one of the restaurants in the area with a no tipping policy. It is also great because Riki is open very late, which makes it a perfect choice for an after-concert/show meeting place.

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This Winter I discovered that they were offering a special ‘winter holiday’ tasting menu for $50 – Fuyu No Enkai Course. This selection includes a total of ten various dishes and all-you-can-drink beer (or soft drinks) with a 2.5 hour time limit. According to the restaurant, the most popular dishes ordered from over 150 available choices are chicken karaage, Okonomiyaki, and ramen salads.

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Personally I like the ramen here. While very popular in NYC with countless varieties available, the ramen at Riki is a very standard meat-based broth with sliced pork, bamboo shoots, seaweed, and scallions. So traditional that it reminded me of my grandmother’s homemade version that I ate as a child.

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141 E 45th Street, New York 10017 (Between Lexington & 3rd Avenue)

(212) 986-1109

Price: Winter Tasting Course $50 (including tip)

Neighborhood: Midtown East

Dress code: Smart casual

Dining alone: Yes, nice counter is available

Take Out: Yes

 

 

Donburiya

After watching a Broadway show one Saturday evening with three friends, we collectively decided we were hungry but didn’t want a heavy meal at nearly 11:00 pm. We decided on izakaya because of the variety of tapas dishes as well as drink menu. Donburiya is located at West 55th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenues, and it is convenient from both Broadway theaters as well as Lincoln Center.

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We started with a pitcher of Sapporo for $18 which is quite reasonable considering the price of a single bottle, and then each of us ordered our favorites to share. I ordered menchi-katsu (a breaded and deep-fried ground/minced meat cutlet) and hokke shioyaki (salt grilled Atka mackerel). The others ordered ham katsu, assorted sashimi, and Negitoro (minced raw tuna). The taste of this reminded me of a ‘mom and pop’ izakaya restaurant often found in small neighborhoods in all over Japan. Another dish popular with the group was potato salad. It generally has cucumbers, carrots, and onions mixed in. The crunch of the fresh vegetables combined with the creaminess of the mashed potato was absolutely perfect. I think I could have ordered several more servings, but I decided to save that indulgence for my next visit! Donburiya definitely serves home made, quality dishes. As our shime, or last meal order, we each selected a rice ball. I selected tarako which is salmon roe, and the other options were grilled/salted salmon and ume, or pickled plum. While there are many places in NYC where one can buy Japanese rice balls, the ones at Donburiya are the closest to those I normally ordered back in Japan.

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The restaurant has a bar/counter, a separate high table/chair area, and regular, low table seating as well. And located only a few blocks both from Broad Way and from Columbus Circle, it is a great venue even if you did not see a great performance beforehand.

http://www.donburiyany.com

Price: $140 including tip and several beverages for the four of us (After theater meal!)

Neighborhood: Central Park South and Columbus Circle

Dress code: Smart casual

Dine Alone: Absolutely comfortable

Takeout: Yes