My brother is in town from suburan hell and wants to go out for sushi. As much as I'd like to take him to O Ya or Uni, or even Oishii, I am not looking to destroy my budget.
I'm so bored with Fugakyu. I was considering giving Douzo another shot - never have been impressed with it, but am open minded.
He's staying at the Sonesta, so somewhere on the left bank would be great... although I feel like Cambridge's sushi options are limited to Blue Fin (no atmosphere) and Spice & Rice (meh.)
Where am I missing? Totally open to suggestions, as long as it's sushi - it's what he really wants to eat as he doesn't have quality near him.
If you're willing to go to Boston, go to Sakurabana on Broad St. Reasonable price and good sushi. Excellent udon noodles. Cambridge is definitely lacking in decent sushi - I won't even say good sushi.
I cannot speak more highly of Toraya in Arlington on Mass Ave for their sashimi selection. If you are looking for rolls you might not be as impressed, there aren't too many super creative options and sometimes the rolls have been sloppy, still delicious based on the high quality fish used. It is a tiny little place with a small sushi bar and only a few tables, not impressive in terms of atmosphere but clean and usually pretty quiet.
For excellent quality/freshness and variety of sashimi, I completely agree with the suggestion of Toraya. That's where we go every time, and we only order the sashimi entree & sashimi deluxe entree. We like to taste the different flavors of the fish; rather than some "special roll with special sauce".
Sublime scallop sashimi, when available. A few slices with one adjacent to a sliver of lemon - its amazing the difference in flavor that results from mere proximity to the citrus.
Similar experience with shiso leaf - totally unexpected mustardy bite that complemented the fish (this was a nigiri sushi, translucent thinly sliced white fish with shiso leaf between fish and rice.
Always perfectly fresh and wonderful.
You could compromise and take him to get hand rolls at River Gods.
You could make him feel even worse and drive out to the 'burbs for Oga in Natick or Oishii Too in Sudbury - the latter is actually a nice drive on a warm summer night.
Why Cambridge/Somerville does not have a real great sushi place is beyond me. Maybe that Toraya rec is the way to go - start there, and eat your way back down Mass. Ave., stopping for snacks at Qing Dao, someplace in Davis, etc.
Either I'm getting more particular or the restaurants have been letting down, but the last few times I've tried Oiishi Two (I'm in Framingham), Fugakyu (Brookline) and Douzo I've been disappointed by sloppy work, less than pristine (in one case soggy) fish and smaller than usual portions. Maybe the costs have risen lately and the restaurants are cutting back, but my impression is a general sense of apathy at some of Boston's 'best' sushi restaurants.
I'm getting over the glitz and glamour of fancy rolls filled with tasteless rice and distracting ingredients and am seeking a transcendental sashimi experience with a fair portion and pristine fish. Maybe I'll take Shellicopter's advice and give Toraya a try. In the meantime, my opinion is they're all the same: Oga, Fugakyu, Oiishi, Douzu...
I went to Ma Soba reluctantly for a business dinner recently - and really enjoyed the sushi/sashimi - pretty much across the board. White tuna, eel in several forms, and "Hungry" roll (a choice of the many, many CA rolls wrapped in various other fish combos, etc - not a favorite approach for me) were the standout items.
The starter dumplings (shumai and Hunan) were lukewarm/flavorless and will not be repeated.
Be careful with wine - the French white (Crozes-Hermitage) we ordered was 10 years old and pretty cooked, but they took it away and brought a different one (Sancerre - probably a better choice with the food anyway) from 2007 that was fine.
Also, ask to sit on the lower level to start with - we had to move there when the aerobic dancing or treadmill use started right above our heads. Again, they were very accomodating of the request.
The service is nice but rough around the edges was prompt. It's no bargain, either.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the food qualit.