Bazaar International Foods & Cafe Japonaise, Brookline
Bazaar International Foods (next to Rod Dee on Beacon Street)
Hearty delicious khinkali (a distant relative of xiao long bao) at 89 cents a piece. Got 2 when I saw them come out fresh. Clear, oily and flavourful broth, a good lump of meat and thick noodley skin, topped with a sprinkle of paprika and parsley.
On weekdays, the lunch specials looked like a good deal - a meat item, vegetable and side for $5.
Got 2 onigiri (triangles of short grained rice sandwiching a filling, wrapped on the outside with a toasty, oceany nori). The kombu version had slivers of kombu/seaweed saturated with soy sauce, a touch of sesame. Spicy tuna involved canned tuna and a pleasant hint of heat.
You can usually get mentaiko at the Cherry Market (that Japanese market downstairs, at Newbury, almost at Mass Ave.) a a wider variety of flavors, but they aren't as generously filled, or as fresh as the ones at Cafe Japonaise. The warmth of the rice, and the spice of the tuna almost makes up for the fact that it's canned.
Onigiri - the sandwich of ancient Japan - deserves so much more than canned tuna (spicy, mayo, or otherwise). The kombu sounded good. I don't know if they have them or not, but if you run into umeboshi (pickled, salty plum) or various forms of cod roe (tarako or spicy - mentaiko), they are classic. Also if you ever run into onigiri that's been grilled over a flame - so that one side is okoge (actually burnt - not to black soot, but to a nicely charred dark brown) - this is a whole new flavor dimension.
Heartily agree. Finally tried it last New Years Eve when a friend and I needed some good grazing food for a party. The mushroom pate and the chicken liver pate were my favorites. And the Russian ciabatta (name escapes me). Actually it's perfect food for nights when it's too hot to cook. Might have to drop in soon.