My Wagamama expereince
Made it there this w/e. Short (15 minute) wait and we shared a table in the basement. Nicely done space. This place is about volume, so they come for our order before we get a chance to really look at the menu, but that's fine. They have wireless devices to input your oder, so its almost better to order by number than menu item, as the wait staff has no idea what the corresponding number is for each dish, at least not yet. Then the strange thing is they write your order number on the placemats. Servers then come down and announce the dish, walk around and look at the numbers on your placemat. If you don't pay attention, someone else will get your order, especially for things like Gyoza, which are fairly widely ordered. Little chaotic, maybe they will work this ou.
We order a few gyoza's, which are fine. the duck one was better probably because of the sweet chili sauce that came with it. Otherwise, I think you can get the gyozas frozen at Super 88. Had the Yaki Udon Teppan b/c of the globe article. lots going on in the dish, but everything was muted. I would expect the dish to have a lot of flavors, heat and nuances, but they were not fully there. Like everything was tone down. Strange. Dish was OK, but not great. The chili oil on the table could not revive the lack of flavors.
SO had the chicken katsu curry dish, which looked like a mess. Chicken was nicely breaded and fried, but the curry sauce was a mess all over the rice and chicken. Again, same muted flavor expereince. Curry can be so flavorful, but this was not one of them.
Wine was reasonable, $24, so total was $70 for 2 adults and a child. Reasonable price, nice space, OK food. Better than other Faneil Hall options, but not worth going especially for it (which we did). I'll go again for lunch since I work around there buts thats about it.
Saw your post earlier. We took a ride in and got in line. After abut twenty minutes outside in the cold we got seated in a small basement room where staff were having meals. Our server was fine (a little caffeinated), the orders came when they wanted, and the food looked good for mass production or current first class airline food. It was as you mentioned somewhat bland. Yakitori was reminiscent of squirrel on a stick. Duck Gyoza were frymated and served witha wrong choice sauce. Bill for three soups and two side dishes with 2 soda and a beer with tip was $72. Probably no need to revist it. Londoners may love it whatever that means to us but I think its best chance to flourish here is to create a wider if not inflated way for regular palates to try something different. Perhaps it will trickle down to the local ethnic spots and Bankok push carts. If you haven't already a must try is Saporro Ramen or Tampopo at the Porter Exchange.
I really don't get why people are holding Wagamama up to smaller mom and pop's noodle joints. It's like comparing apples and organges or PF Changs and Wangs.
They never claimed to be an authentic Japanese noodle restaurant. They clearly state on their site that food comes when it's done so it can be enjoyed hot and fresh. It's a 'fast food' concept that works for people who are looking for 'fast food' that isn't a greasy burger or the like.
bland is in the eye of the beholder. But really, it's a worldwide chain situated in the biggest tourist attraction in the city. I can't say I'd expect the worlds best cheeseburger from the new Hard Rock Cafe going in the old Rack space.
My Chicken Kare Lomen was nice and spicy. And my DC enjoyed her Chicken Katsu Curry which was nicely presented. And my other DC, who happens to be Asian, enjoyed her meal and commented that she's go back. Was her meal like mom's? Heck no.
*shrug* it's all subjective...
I stopped by Wagamama for lunch yesterday because I found myself in the area thanks to having jury duty.
I ordered the Duck Gyoza which looked almost perfect (nice and brown, perfect wrappers), but were extremely bland. I didn't care for them at all. The dipping sauce they came with was good though.
Then I had the regular noodle Teppan which was quite good. I'm not a big fan of pad thai, so to me, this is what a good pad thai would actually taste like. Pretty much the same ingredients (shrimp, chicken, egg, scallions, red peppers), but much more flavorful because the noodles were fried in a sauce. And the pickled ginger sounded like it might be out of place, but it absolutely made the dish. I ate the whole thing and the serving was very large.
By way of a noodle house it certainly can't hold a canlde to authentic, but considering the area I'd go back. They get you in and out in a hurry and unlike the Quincy Market food court you won't have to fight for a seat.
I went to the Faneuil Hall location for lunch today. The line was a little long, but it moved rather quickly and we were handed menus so that by the time we sat down, we knew what we wanted. Seating is communal, with long tables that seat 5 on each side. This can be annoying if you're next to a talkative group. We were. Service was speedy, and the food came quickly.
My girlfriend had chicken ramen, which she was happy with. I had Beef Teriyaki Soba, which I loved. There was a very generous portion of flank steak on top of a bed of stir-fried noodles. Everything tasted fantastic. I wish it were closer to me, I would go much more frequently.
Definitely recommended, and I would definitely go again, hopefully very soon.