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Wagamama's preview opening

I got a preview invite from Wagamama's in Harvard Square and I gotta say that it was pretty disappointing. I know it's a chain restaurant, so my expectations weren't that high, but the food was seriously mediocre (the one in London is far better and a little less pricey for the quality). I had the yaki udon and it was nothing to write home about. Honestly, the Japanese food at Takemura down the block is much, much better and the Japanese kiosks at the Porter Exchange is fabulous -- I'd much rather spend my money there.

I will say, however, that the yakitori was great - good grilling and yummy sauce. Bravo! And the service was decent -- I know they're trying to work out the kinks now (hence, "preview dinner).

Taylor :)

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  1. I went to the preview on Friday night, and thought it was pretty good--bright flavors, fresh ingredients, quick service. I was living in London when the first one opened (round the corner from my apartment) and always try and visit one of the many UK branches when I'm back there. Really didn't notice a great difference in quality between this resto, the one in Faneuil Hall, and those across the pond.

    1. For the best Japanese noodle soups in Boston check out Ken's Ramen in the same building as the Allston Super88 market.

      One Brighton Ave Allston MA

      NOTE: Ken's is off to the side on it's own, not in the giant, and pretty darned good food court.

      1. I went Thursday night and also wasn't impressed. The duck and shrimp gyoza both seemed bread-y and bland. The steak teriyaki soba was OK, but the ebi chili noodles were gloppy and boring. Not spicy or flavorful at all. I wouldn't go back based on those dishes. The service was perfectly fine, however.

        1. Have only done the London venue, but loved it!

          2 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            Oh dear -- this is horrible news. A big fan of the original Wagamama in London's Bloomsbury, and having had good experiences in Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Dublin (except for the overly spicy/dressed warm chicken salad), I was SO looking forward to having a Wagamama in our back yard! Too bad.

            Preview dinner ... how did you score an invite, Taylor?

            1. re: ciaobaresta

              Hi Ciaobaresta -

              I'm sure there are still some good items on the menu, perhaps it just requires some trial-and-error...in any case, the yakitori was really good!

              Re: how I got the preview dinner invite, I saw the announcement on The Boston Globe by one of the staff food writers (I forget her name).

              :) Taylor

          2. I went Tuesday night and got the ginger chicken udon stir-fry-type dish and it was delicious! The place was really loud though. I felt like a had a sore throat when I left from trying to talk above everyone else.

            3 Replies
            1. re: esh02144

              I went to the one in Fanueil Hall and thought it was ok. Certainly nothing stellar or earth shattering but fine for what it is. I had a spicy chicken dish with noodles, lotsa veggies and a nice tasting sauce, certainly not *really* spicy; more like "spicy for the masses" which is fine with me. It was good and fairly satisfying.
              Our server was very attentive --the one thing that turned me off and that I still remember: we ordered two drinks --my DC had a beer; I had a soda. About midway through the meal, I asked the waiter for two glasses of water and he said "sparkling or flat..?" I was like "flat is fine, just regular water.." and he brings over two bottles of saratoga water. Do they not serve regular tap water? I didn't say anything (though I should have..) but it seemed like a pretty obnoxious way to try and pad the bill. It's not like we hadn't ordered regular drinks already! In hindsight, I wish I had refused the bottles and made it clear I was just looking for tap water, but I guess I figured it wasn't worth it for the couple extra bucks on the bill. And maybe it wasn't, but it's more about the principle of the thing for me. Anyway, left a bad taste in my mouth.
              If I find myself in Fanueil Hall and I'm hungry for "asian," sure, I might check 'em out again, but it's certainly not a destination spot for me. As for Harvard Sq, there are WAAAY too many other great dining options to choose from.....

              1. re: twentyoystahs

                they do serve tap. i think "flat is fine, just regular water" could be non-maliciously and fairly interpreted as bottled water, especially in the context of the direct "sparkling vs flat" question; i.e. regular could be understood as a distinction from sparkling.

                agree that the food is satisfying but unremarkable. megumi inside the fanueil hall bldg is equally fast-foody and marginally more interesting.

                1. re: coookie

                  Yeah, i agree, HOWEVER I feel like automatically made the assumption that I wanted bottled water, and I've never really had anyone do that before. It took me off guard, and so I probably didn't respond as clearly as possible to negate that assumption. However, I've never had that happen before. He should have said "bottled or tap?" and then he would have gotten his answer. When I say "can you bring some water when you have a chance.." I think it makes more sense to assume "some water" means tap water, unless I specify otherwise..ie. "what type of bottled water do you have...?" Anyway. Not that big of a deal but just something I remember from that experience.