Which are your fave spots in the Porter Sq. Exchange building?
I get the occasional craving for the miso moyashi at Sapporo Ramen spot. I think along with the phos in various Vietnamese restaurants, it's up there as the most satisfying cold weather noodle soups around.
But i digress, do you have favourites of other items that are served in that food court?
Some things I enjoy include the hamburg sets at Cafe Mami, the hijiki and tofu bowls at Tampopo, any pastry at Japonaise, some of the bubble teas at Tapicha (actually preferring the ones with coconut jelly instead of tapioca bubbles most recently), and both the fried brown rice and tofu bibimbap at ChoCho's. But I like most everything there except the fare dished up at the Kotobukiya sushi bar.
cafe mami - hamburg set, curry rice, tonkatsu, green tea milkshake
tampopo - croquettes, kara age
ittyo - donburi, cold noodle soup
japonaise bakery - red bean donut, melon pan, cream bread, various other pastries
not a fan of the ramen at sapporo but like the dumpling set. the (overpriced) ice cream at the small store is okay. good japanese snacks at the large store
I like virtually the whole menu at Cafe Mami. After slowly sampling nearly everything over a number of years, I've actually fallen back to two of the basic donburi bowls: the oyako and the plain old chicken teriyaki.
I don't perceive Cho Cho's to be setting the world on fire with its authenticity, but when I lived in Porter, it was one of my favorite take-out options for a healthy, nutritious dinner. Any of their combo sets are great value, and I like their bibimbap, made extra-super-duper-authentic by subbing in brown rice.
Sapporo Ramen is just ok, though they do have humongous portions if that's important to you. I find their noodles to be chalky. The donburi at Ittyo and Cafe Mami are pretty good as are some of the tempura at Tampopo, but I haven't eaten there recently. Kotobukiya does chirashi for me in a pinch. It's $10, has a healthy amount of fish on it, and doesn't kill me. Not bad. I really like the set meals at Blue Fin as well. Tapicha can be skipped - better bubble tea to be found in Harvard.
Recently had katsu at both Ittyo and Tompapo and want to report that the katsudon at Ittyo was awfully soggy - more of an egg/mushroom/pork omelet than anything. Nice sauce though. Tampopo's fry job was wonderful, though the cut of pork was a bit chewy. Also sampled the beef teriyaki donburi at Ittyo which was sort of bad, but the rice and seaweed salads were nice. What should I have eaten at Ittyo?
People rag on the sushi at the Kotobuyaki (sp?) sushi bar there but I went in for a bite over the holidays and I think it's a fine place if you're in the hood. It's not beautifully plated, it's not upscale or interesting, and the service can be surly but I had a great lunch of salmon, mackerel and eel nigiri, a spicy tuna roll with tempura flakes (so good) with miso soup to start and a bowl of (yes microwaved but fine) edamame. With tea, lunch for the two of us was $14 before tip. We weren't stuffed but it was sufficient and tasty.
On the day I was there, the line at Cafe Mami was out the door. Everyone was ordering the hamburg set.