Last night, my wife was treating me to a birthday dinner at the restaurant of my choice. My son, had visited a place called the Sushi Cafe on Mass Ave in Cambridge and I saw one of his reviews and was curious. I happen to like sushi so I thought this might be a great place to try. Well, when I started investigating I started to realize that parking on Mass Ave would be difficult at best. So I kind of put that place aside and started thinking about some other possibilities. To encourage me to go, my son called me and told me to order the Omakase which is 5 course chef's choice sushi dinner with a sampling of many different sushi offerings. He warned me it wasn't cheap. He told me the waiter would explain each type of sushi as he brought it out so I would know what I was getting. I was very interested but still not too happy about driving into Cambridge.
My wife came home from work and told me that we should just drive into Boston, park at the underground garage and take a cab to Cambridge. We could have also taken the red line too. So that's what we did. It turns out that my sense of direction is terrible and if we had taken the subway we would have ended up on the wrong side of Harvard Square looking for the restaurant which would have been blocks away. So it was a good thing we took the cab.
We got to the restaurant with 5 minutes to spare (I made reservations). When we were seated at a table for 4 (it was available) and the busboy poured water for my wife and I and then started filling the two glasses. I stopped him and said there was only 2.... but my wife chimed in and said there would be two more... then she surprised me by telling me son and daughter in law would be there. In fact, I turned and looked toward the door at that second and there they were.
We pretty much all had Miso soup. The girls are not great sushi fans so they ordered lighter fare. My wife had Teriyaki Bento ($19) with salmon (cooked) and shumai (shrimp dumplings), seaweed salad, steamed rice, Japanese pickles and some California rolls. My daughter in law had a mix of light sushi (mostly rolled in rice and seaweed). My son and I did the Omakase (market priced yesterday at $85 each), We both shared warm saki ($14 for 7 oz,) and two types of cold saki ($32 and $36 for 300 ml).
Omakase has the non-traditional sushi offerings. The offerings included Salmon roe, monkfish liver (like a pate), maine sea urchin, amberjack, Japanese baracuda, scallops, bonito, mackerel, salmon belly. All were extremely fresh and not "fishy" tasting at all. All were presented beautifully in 5 servings of 3 to 7 pieces. What you didn't get are the spicy tunas and unagi (eel) that most people order at sushi restaurants. I liked every one of the offerings. Some had a very mild flavor which were accented by sauces created by the chef. Some of the others had a stronger flavor (not disagreeable) and I found I liked those best. I skipped the soy sauce and wasabi and let the dishes stand on their own. I did clear my palate with pickled ginger and occasionally a touch of wasabi.
We had warm saki and two types of cold saki with the Omakase.
Not a cheap dinner, but it was great. Sushi lovers should give this place a try and go for the Omakase even though it is expensive. You can get by with a lot cheaper items, but if you want some adventure, do the Omakase. I was extremely surprised and pleased to see my son and daughter in law at dinner last night.... a great birthday surprise.
The restaurant is not at all fancy but it was very clean. Service was perfect.
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