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Sep 17, 2007 07:59 AM

Osaka (Belmont) don't repeat my mistake

I broke one of my cardinal rules this weekend: Don't go to restaurants that offer more than one ethnic cuisine.

Osaka is a new restaurant on concord ave in Belmont. Extensive rehab of a forgotten chinese place that never seemed to have a customer. Talked my wife into going to try it, then didn't have the courage to walk out when I discovered that it is actually Japenese/Chinese.

Lovely, friendly people. Very nice interior. Typical Americanized chinese menu, but great smells from the dishes going past.

Second mistake - we came for takeout sushi, so we ordered takeout sushi.

Miso soup - sweet, not enough salt - just tasted off. Into the trash.

Seaweed salad - Excellent, crispy, nice dressing.

Salad (came with sushi) - iceberg lettuce, a few shredded carrots, cucumber slice in a soy dressing. Hungry, so ate it. Uninspired and lifeless.

Sushi (sushi deluxe and sashimi deluxe - 23.95 each) - sushi deluxe was 6 pieces of maki and one crab stick roll. Fish was poorly cut, greyish. Rice was too hard and cold. Sashimi was similarly poorly cut and just didn't look fresh (and was a small serving for the price). It lacked the irridescent hue that perfect sushi always seems to have - colors were dull, tuna was orangish brick red rather than the deep maroon red that I would expect. My wife refused to eat anything. I sampled a few pieces and dumped the rest. Did not get sick, but wouldn't have been surprised if I had.

In short, I may return to try the chinese portion of the menu, but would never order sushi again. With Shangri-La only a mile away, why would I go anywhere else.

A question: Can anyone think of a restaurant that does two or more ethnic foods really well (not fusion, but two separate parts of the menu)

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  1. I enjoyed your review because like you I tend to avoid any place that tries to do multiple cuisines. The worst in my opinion are the so called Japanese/Chinese places. First of all most of them seemed to operated by Chinese people so while they may do Chinese food (even American style Chinese) fairly well they usually have no idea about Japanese food. I travel to Taiwan and China frequently and have yet to find a really good sushi bar in either country. I have been to some that are ok to good but none that even come close to Japan. So any place that advertises Chinese/Japanese, Korean/Japanese or in one case Thai/Chinese/Japanese should be avoided.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RoyRon

      There's a place called "Ital-Mex" that's been threatening to move into Casa de Pedro's old place in Watertown... lasagna burritos, anyone?

      1. re: Pia

        Actually, that place went by the boards and is now the Mango Grill. I believe it's Salvadoran food, and it's quite good.

    2. The seaweed salad almost certainly came from a jar - the rest was fresh prepared by the restaurant from the sound of it - that's a bad ratio.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        I was actually most shocked by the bad miso soup - I thought it was virtually always reconstituted from freeze-dried. Seemed like somthing that was impossible to screw up.

      2. Thanks for taking the hit. I go past this location fairly often and was curious about it. Your report just killed my curiosity re: the Japanese side. As for the Chinese side, like you, I have a hard time veering from Shangri La, although Mulan is gaining in my heart (they deliver to me).

        1. "A question: Can anyone think of a restaurant that does two or more ethnic foods really well (not fusion, but two separate parts of the menu)"

          Sato was decent for lunch, back when I used to work in Waltham. If you dine in they have a Sushi bar and a full liquor license.

          2 Replies
          1. re: steve999

            Fuloon has both Sichuan and Shandong foods on their menu, and both are well made.

            1. re: steve999

              Romano's Pizza in Roslindale does, well, pizza and the like but has really good burritos, tacos and tamales.

            2. I was so disappointed in Osaka, especially since it's right around the corner. Too bad that it's so terrible. The one good multi-Asian place I know of is a wacky Korean/Chinese/Sushi place between a sandwich shop and a Dunkin' Donuts (you have to enter through one or the other of those) on Cambridge St. in Boston. Excellent ba bim bop, and pretty great sushi as well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jessieinbelmont

                although i havent been in a over a year, i always felt elephant walk did the side by side menu well