Genki Ya in Brookline
I took my mom out for sushi today at Genki Ya on Harvard Ave. (where Nori used to be). It was a great experience overall. I was really impressed with their attention to detail. Outside the restaurant they had a menu and display rolls on a little table. The inside was impeccably clean and nicely furnished (though I wasn't the biggest fan of the bamboo in front of the windows). We sat at the granite sushi bar. The menu was a gorgeous bound book with pictures of all their special rolls and entrees so you know exactly what you are ordering. I am a total fan of their pointy japanese chopsticks! They're perfect for picking up every morsel of rice and tiny bits of wasabi. And they're much more environmentally friendly than disposable.
The waitstaff was very friendly, the chef and owner both stopped to talk to us. The food was great. Their whole schtick is "all organic," which is great, but the food holds its own regardless. The fish was sweet and fresh and sliced in thick, long portions. The yellowtail was very fatty and delicious. The mushroom tempura roll was also very good; the tempura was crispy, the mushrooms tender and the lettuce crisp. They had torched sushi, which I'm a big fan of. They executed it very well, charring the outer edges while leaving the center of the fish raw.
I highly recommend trying this place.
The rolls and 'specials' at Genki Ya are the way to go --- the Genki Ichiban that lipoff mentioned, the monstrous Volcano Roll, the cucumber-wrapped Naruto Roll... really tasty stuff at decent prices. The nigiri, on the other hand, is bizarrely overpriced -- $6 to $8 for a duo -- and not great quality. And stay away from any of the equally overpriced and poor-quality hot entrees.
Tamago nigiri was inedible. Saba nigiri was comically large and terribly cured.
The genki ichiban consisted of almost ground raw runa, topped with tobiko and spicy mayo, atop a tempura-like fried seaweed and rice base. This was actually very good. It was pretty unique, and there was a terrific textural contrast between the soft tuna, springy seaweed and crunchy fried base.
Triple torch roll and double spicy tuna roll were totally ordinary, at best. Obviously this is a place for rolls, not for nigiri or sashimi.
But, I do not understand the fascination with this place at all, to put it mildly.
I totally agree! When I went I had a great experience, and the sushi was so fresh and delicious. I think its better than Douzo, Fugakayu - and just as good as Oishi in the South End. (BUT MUCH CHEAPER) The pricing was very reasonable. If you go, you MUST order the Volcano Roll. Its baked scallops, crab & shrimp smothered over a delicious maki roll with spicy mayo & tempura crumb. I will never forget it! Please let me know if you try it!!