Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have been a true believer that food in Boston cannot compete with that in NYC. Fine dining was one exception. And I just added Shiki as another exception. It is a wonderful restaurant on a side street in Brookline that serves hot & cold Japanese "tapas," which I thought was an interesting way to put it. It's like calling Dim Sum Chinese tapas.

I've been to pizza and sushi joints with Best of Boston votes, but I was disappointed each time. So when my fiance suggested that we try yet another Boston restaurant at the recommendation of his friend, I did not think much of it. And what a pleasant surprise it was. I was pleased when I stepped into the restaurant to smell the aroma of Japanese cooking and to see a good number of Japanese patrons - these are often good signs of authenticity and quality.

I was excited to order and to see both traditional & unusual items (unusual to Americans anyways) on them menu. My fiance was salivating for sure when he saw Beef Tongue, which is not unusal in Japan, but sadly it wasn't available that night. We ended up ordering Monkfish Liver, spinach (you have to have veggies), fried oysters, broiled Yellowtail Kama (the fatty collar of the fish), broiled Mackerel, and a futomaki. With the exception of the spinach, which was overly salty, everything else was good.

So we started off with the Monkfish Liver with Ponzu Sauce. I liked its soft and creamy texture, but in terms of taste, I liked the version from Sushi of Gari better. Overall though, it was still a very good monkfish liver.

Above, Monkfish Liver with Ponzu Sauce

Then came the fried oysters, which were excellent. Not too greasy or soggy. The best though, were the Broiled Yellowtail Kama and Broiled Mackerel. The people sitting in the table next to us kept on looking at what we were enjoying throughout our meal...very annoying I must say. When one of them eyed the Yellowtail Kama, he ordered one for himself too! Both the Yellowtail and Mackerel were prepared perfectly - crispy skin, moist interior and perfectly seasoned.

Above, top - Broiled Yellowtail Kama (fatty collar), bottom - Broiled Mackerel

We ended our meal with the Futo Roll, which I thought sounded interesting when we ordered it. It had fresh water eel, egg, cucumber, black mushroom, snow crab, fish roe, pickle and sesame. The egg added a lot of taste, and the cucumber added a nice crunch in texture. I don't know if we let the roll sit out for too long, but the seaweed was a bit chewy. Overall, it was a fine roll, but it didn't hit us over the head with a wow.

Above, Futo Roll

Shiki fits all of my criteria...well priced, low key, quality, tasty, authentic. I don't mind the slow service, which gives us extra time to savor the taste. We will definitely be back to Shiki. Next time, we'll try out their Beef Tongue and sushi.

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