Ponzu in Waltham
Just went to Ponzu for dinner with four. New restaurant over on Moody St. in Waltham that, by my accounts, deserves some patronage.
The best way to describe it is as they do, "Asian Taps". They have small plates that range from like $4 to $10, and large plates from about $11 to $20. One should definitely think more along the lines of Tapas ordering schemes rather than traditional Asian cuisine.
The wait staff was speaking Mandarin Chinese, but the food is definitely of the "Pan Asian" ilk. Smatterings of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian are all there -- with their own little twists.
We ordered (from memory) hot ribs, beef l'orange, gyozas, several rolls, tuna lollipops, chicken curry, and probably some more stuff.
All of it was very quickly prepared, brought out hot, and extremely satisfying. Each dish was well presented and very tasty and unique.
I don't know what else to say except try it out if you are in the mood for pan-Asian or little bits of everything, Tapas-style.
If anyone has questions, fire away!
(Bill was ~$88 before tip for four, no drinks.)
I got the impression from a recent Globe write-up that this place is not just pan-Asian, but also rather fusion-y, offering dishes like "Tuna Quesadillas" and "Tempura-Fried California Rolls". Is that the case? That would explain the term "Asian tapas" rather than cartless dim sum (which wouldn't be quite right either, I guess, since it's not just Chinese).
Tried Ponzu a week ago. Didn't opt for tapas, due to time. A friend had an amazing catepillar roll. I chose the roll assortment under that on the menu- very lackluster.
Staff seemed to push drinks, desserts, appetizers- unusual for a Japanese restaurant. We were served an unusual dessert: a sweet soup with yams. Really interesting, and nice, light way to end a meal. I'd go back for a second try.
Went to Ponzu with a group of 6 for lunch today. The restaurant is bright and clean, and new looking. There is a sushi bar section on the left when you walk in, and I think a small prep kitchen. We had the basic lunch specials, which were a great deal. For between $7.25-8.00 you could pick selections like mango chicken, cashew nut chicken, beef with mushrooms & veggies, salmon, duck, and tofu and veggies. Included was miso soup, white or brown rice, and a side salad.
I got the cashew chicken and the serving was huge- the dish was very good and the cashews were plentiful and crunchy. I did not care for the side salad- it was a coleslaw, which I do not like. Everyone in my party seemed pleased with their selections and finished most of our meals.
I looked around the restaurant and it seemed like many people were getting sushi- I don't eat sushi, but it did look pretty. The have lunch specials for sushi too- with 8 pieces starting around $8?
I thought the waitstaff was very nice and efficient. When we walked out they all said goodbye, including the sushi chefs and the manager, it was a nice way to end a good meal.
I'll take a crack at answering, having organized and attended many of these gatherings. Basically, the easiest approach is for one hound (like opinionatedchef above) putting out the call to test the waters/ guage interest. It makes planning MUCH more easy if a date and time is selected and proposed, otherwise the off-board coordination can be tricky. ALL planning must be done off the board.
Alternately, a hound could just say "I'm going to be at the Paddock on 11/19 at 7 p.m." and just see who shows up. That's the most exciting option, of course.
Something seems to happen every other month or so. But anyone should feel free to organize a gathering. It's not hard, and it's fun to put faces to the names. Well most of the faces! (No one has heard from BostonBob since the Paddock in November!)
Ponzu is a great addition to Moody Street - it replaced an Italian cafe that should have been cool but was kind of weird (I think anyplace that makes coffee the main part of their menu but doesn't open until 11 a.m. is kind of weird). We've been there various times and adore the "napoleon" of sushi (a stacked, barely seared mass of delicious fish), the Goldfish Roll, and other sushi-related items. My more daring spouse finally got me to try the sea urchin shooter and now regrets it. A serving consists of 2 tiny glasses (sort of like sherry glasses), each containing a small blob of uni, a sprinkling of flying fish roe, a splash of sake, possibly some other flavoring, and a raw quail egg glowing on top. Now that I'm not afraid to down my half of the portion and savor an amazing combination of flavors and textures, we have to order two servings per meal...
We discovered Ponzu quite by accident summer of '06. Since then we have been there several times. It is a wonderful restaurant with very high quality food. The appetizers are wonderful, the main courses are super. Our daughter, a sushi fiend, loves their sushis as well. This is a hidden gem in Moody street.Expect to pay at least $20-25/head.