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Porter Square Favs?

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I've recently discovered that the exchange building can be on my way home. I'm wondering what are your current favorite dishes from the exchange? I stopped by the other night and found the options overwhelming! Thanks!

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  1. The one place I'd avoid there is the sushi bar Kotobukiya (not the same as the grocery store of the same name) -- have had past-it sushi each time I've tried it.

    I've generally done well otherwise, pretty much regardless of the dish I've gotten or place I've been.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bachslunch

      I swore that place off years ago after a truly unfortunate full-body evacuation brought on by their yellowtail. As I recall, their fish is pre-cut, never a good sign in raw-fish world.

    2. My favorite is the spicy beef bowl at cafe mami - check out this thread for lots more suggestions:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/455001

      1. Another fan of Cafe Mami, which serves yoshoku (Japanese style "western" food) not commonly seen in Japanese restaurants here. I really enjoy their hamburg sets. I also like the different jigae's (soon dobu jigae is my favorite) at ChoCho's. I try to stay away from the Japonaise Bakery for the sake of my diet, but their azuki cream puffs are a favorite indulgence of mine.

        I don't eat often at the other places, but Kotobukiya the market is my go-to place for Japanese ingredients. I also treat myself to their fish every once in a while (I had an excellent chu toro piece that was like butter 2 weeks ago), and I love taking their onigiri as a filling lunch when I need to pack one with me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kobuta

          I love onigiri! What kind do they have? I'm getting kind of tired of the same 4 at Japonaise in Brookline....

        2. I definitely agree with the recs for Cafe Mami (esp. hamburg cutlet, and tonkatsu) and for Japonaise (esp. the curry pan and azuki cream puffs!), and omusubi to take away at Kotobukiya. (The mentaiko ones can be surprisingly generous with the mentaiko! They also have other standards like umeboshi, katsuoboshi, tuna+mayo, etc.)

          I've had very mixed luck at Ittyo and Tampopo, but I do sometimes eat at them if the lines elsewhere are too long-- I'd say go for the fried things (takoyaki, croquettes, curry) and avoid the noodle soups, which I've found pretty awful at times, unfortunately. I personally am lukewarm on ChoCho (find their flavoring sort of meh), and **despise** Bluefin after some really poor quality experiences there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: another_adam

            I've always had good experiences at Bluefin. I always sit at the sushi bar and always order at least something from the specials. It's not in the running for Boston's best, but I'd call it the best on this side of the river, and one of the best overall at its price point..

            1. re: jajjguy

              I have to admit that my experiences are limited (they hit my three strikes limit), but the issues I encountered were on really basic items: on two occasions the rice was undercooked and separated (the third time it was cooked OK but just mediocre quality rice), ikura that was all burst and too salty, an unagi roll that was just filled with all the little ends of skin and fat, and one time we ordered tofu salad appetizer and it was firm tofu that was old and rubbery with a hardened/dried skin on one side. I realize that that at those prices you aren't exactly going to get the highest quality fish or rice, but my experiences left me with a feeling of inattention and low standards.
              I do know others have had beter experiences there, though, so I hope I just caught them on off times!

          2. Cafe Mami's great - I like the massive curries, which are more food for $8 than you'll get anywhere else (except maybe your generic burrito joint - but these are better, trust me). The line at Mami can be hard to deal with, though - they don't have much seating - and if it's too long, I'll usually fall back on Ittyo. Note that Cafe Mami doesn't serve any noodle dishes, so if you're in the mood for udon, I suggest you look elsewhere...

            1 Reply
            1. re: zach272

              Cafe Mami is a jewel...even Seattle (which I would guess has far more residents of Japanese descent than Boston does) does not have any place which delivers such quality for this type of food

            2. We like Tampopo for katsu don or curry. Bluefin is usually perfectly satisfactory for sushi, but the service last time was subpar. Maybe a new staffer.

              1. Miso Moyashi at Sapporo Ramen. Perfect for the cold weather.