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Sushi in Cambridge?

Yeah, I know, I'm not even from out of town, and I'm asking a question like this... I have a client coming in from out of town that I will be taking around, so in addition to cleaning up my well-lived in car, I am charged with finding a sushi place close to the River Street Whole Foods in Cambridge...I was drawing a blank. I thought of sushi at Koreana, or Genki Ya in Fresh Pond, but surely I'm forgetting something good...
Help me hounds!

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Koreana
154 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Genki
398 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

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  1. Don't go to Genki Ya. I went there for lunch last week and was not impressed. On the surface, it seems like a great deal and it's a nice atmosphere. But, the fish wasn't great. I don't mean that the fish was bad or will make you sick but it was just flavorless.

    I ordered the sashimi lunch special. It came with miso soup and salad. The miso, well, it didn't really have any miso in it. Even when you stirred it up, it was missing the cloud that envelops the broth. And, the broth lacked flavor.

    The sashimi slices were huge. There were 3 slices of tuna (bright red), yellowtail, salmon and some other kind of fish that tasted like yellowtail but looked like a scallop. It was the same size piece of fish as the others. I want to say that it was almost like a blanched piece of yellowtail, as odd as it may seem.

    The fish was a tad bit too cold. And, everything was fresh but it just didn't taste like anything. Usually, yellowtail bursts with flavor and melts in your mouth like butter. These pieces didn't. I know I am not properly explaining what I mean.

    If you are willing to drive to Genki Ya at Fresh Pond. How about Toraya in Arlington Heights or Bluefin in the Porter Exchange. Bluefin may be your best bet since it is Cambridge. Toraya is a bit further out, but you can take the client to Lakota for dessert.

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    Toraya Restaurant
    890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

    Genki
    398 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

    2 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      Toraya does sound promising, we may not have time to get out there. Bluefin is the sit-down restaurant in the exchange, right?

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      Toraya Restaurant
      890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

      1. re: galleygirl

        Yes. If you park in the back lot, it's the first restaurant on the right hand side. Across from the former Kotobukyia.

    2. Is Roka still around? I have not been there in YEARS but it used to be fine, although not great. You really can't beat Toraya but it's not exactly convenient to the River Street WF -- maybe combine Toraya and WF Fresh Pond? And v interesting to know about Genki Ya, thanks beetlebug!

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      Toraya Restaurant
      890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

      Genki
      398 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

      2 Replies
      1. re: GretchenS

        Roka has been closed for many years (the space is still vacant). Cambridge is a sushi wasteland which is hard to figure as you'd assume that a good sashimi/sushi place would kill over here. The places in the Porter Exchange don't really do it for me. Toyara is god, but at that point one of the places in town might be closer.

        1. re: GretchenS

          Roka has been closed about five years, but the same woman who used to own Roka owns Shiki in Brookline, which is a much superior restaurant.

          I would venture to say that there's no excellent sushi in Cambridge. Blue Fin in Porter Exchange is probably your best bet. Toraya is not far away, but is definitely further. I actually rather like Koreana, especially for the vegetarian rolls. You may laugh, but you'd be surprised!

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          Toraya Restaurant
          890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

          Koreana
          154 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

          Shiki
          9 Babcock Street, Brookline, MA 02446

          Blue Fin
          1815 Massachusetts Ave # 1, Cambridge, MA

        2. Remarkably, there is not a great sushi place in Harvard Square (or Cambridge in general) - What up with that? Is your client the sort of client that would appreciate River Gods? :)
          Depending on the time of day, can I suggest that you hit up one of the sushi places in Coolidge Corner instead? It's pretty close by...closer than Arlington and Fresh Pond anyway...

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          River Gods
          125 River St, Cambridge, MA 02139

          13 Replies
          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            gg, would your client go for a tatami room at Fugakyu? plus they can order cooked items there if they like, or even sake :). Shabu zen in allston also has some (rudimentary) sashimi.

            1. re: barleywino

              I think if I was going as far as Fugakyu, I would probably just roll over to Fusian Asian Cuisine in Washington Sq., for a quicker kind of lunch...We have to visit a bunch of stores, and I'm the DD, so no sake... :(

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              Fugakyu Cafe
              621 Boston Post Rd, Sudbury, MA 01776

              1. re: galleygirl

                not sushi, but Dim SUm Chef in the Super 88 food court might be an option....if you're looking for casual

                1. re: barleywino

                  Yeah, but that's too casual! Anything to say about the Fish Store, I think that's the name, the sushi place in Brighton, year or so old?I haven't been...

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    have not been...what about Ginza on Beacon?

                    1. re: galleygirl

                      I think you mean Fish Market. Went there a couple of weeks ago and it was still good.

                      I live in Central so it is a quick car ride/short bus ride/not too far of a walk away.

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                      Fish Market
                      170 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                Ahhh, this could be an idea!!! The client (a food client, of course!) has specified something light or salady, but no Thai or Vietnamese..She has mentioned sushi as being okay, but I'll check the menu at River Gods...

                ETA; River Gods doesn't open til 3; damn!

                Any other options like that anyone cares to chime in with?

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                River Gods
                125 River St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. re: galleygirl

                  Andala Coffee House has some very tasty light options. The hummus plate, mujadara, and salads are all good and healthy. It's not too casual and has an awesome vibe. One of my favorite restaurants in Central.

                  As for sushi, there are some choices in Cambridge. The best I've found is actually at Shabu Ya in Harvard Square. It's mainly a shabu-shabu place, as you probably guessed, but I think the sushi is better than at Cafe Sushi (near Harvard Square), Koreana, or Beijing-Tokyo. I'm vegetarian, but my raw-fish-loving boyfriend agrees with me :).

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                  Koreana
                  154 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  Andala Coffee House
                  286 Franklin Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  Cafe Sushi
                  1105 Massachusetts Ave Ste 3, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    you can also do a light/salady lunch at Scampo (check out their lunch menu online) which is a very relaxing, calm place to lunch

                    1. re: barleywino

                      Hmmm, that's a good one to keep in my back pocket.....

                    2. re: galleygirl

                      I usually get my "light or salady" lunches from the WF salad bar, but occasionally, and particularly for biz-lunchingtons will go on up to Central Kitsch. They have both light & salady as well as a burger-bomb for those with a prescription in-hand.

                      On the light and salady side, they have:

                      - chickie caesar salad
                      - tuna nicoise salad (quite good)
                      - poached salmon salad w/ dill, cukes, greek yogurt, arugula and preserved lemon vinaigrette (really quite tasty)
                      - moule frites
                      - a couple of light-ish sandwiches (a BLT-ish one and an egg sandwich)

                      It's a good place to talk shop and still enjoy a quality lunchington.

                      1. re: Nab

                        This sounds like we could have a weiner! Not too expensive? Impossible to navigate their website and find a lunch menu...

                        1. re: galleygirl

                          I have a bad cellphone pic of the lunch menu, but it seems as though the nicoise is the most spendy thing there, clocking in at $14 bones.

                  2. I have been to Blue Fin in the Porter Exchange several times and the last time I went (6 months ago) it was terrible - the ingredients were fine but the rolls were falling apart. They didn't even make it from plate to my mouth in one piece. And the appetizer we ordered (think it was gyoza but memory is a little fuzzy) was sub-par.

                    The Ginger Exchange and Spice and Rice, both in Inman Square in Cambridge, both have decent sushi and are open for lunch.

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                    Blue Fin
                    1815 Massachusetts Ave # 1, Cambridge, MA

                    Ginger Exchange
                    1278 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: STL BOS

                      i have had good if not great experiences with Blue Fin; the food is very tasty though they are super stingy about ginger. i eat take out.

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                      Blue Fin
                      1815 Massachusetts Ave # 1, Cambridge, MA

                    2. Long ago we used to go to Hana Sushi, past Porter towards the Arlington line. I understand it's got new owners but is it worth a visit anymore?

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                      Hana Sushi
                      2372 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: newhound

                        Wow, haven't even thought of that place in ages... haven't heard it mentioned, either...

                        1. re: galleygirl

                          How recent was the ownership change? I went there a couple of times in the springtime and it was yummy - much better than Bluefin in my opinion, not quite as good as Super Fusion II in Watertown.

                          1. re: Bob Dobalina

                            Hana is also my favorite in Cambridge for sushi.

                            Friends have told me that Cafe Sushi, between Harvard and Central, has new owners and is quite good now. I haven't had a chance to try it myself.

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                            Cafe Sushi
                            1105 Massachusetts Ave Ste 3, Cambridge, MA 02138

                            1. re: bobot

                              any other experience; i was not impressed by Cafe Sushi but have avoided it for years.

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                              Cafe Sushi
                              1105 Massachusetts Ave Ste 3, Cambridge, MA 02138

                              1. re: bobot

                                Cafe Sushi is fine in a pinch. Nothing more. It is the same mediocre, run of the mill you find a lot of over here (Takemura, etc.). It is walkable for us and I think we've been there twice in 3+ years in the neighborhood, while we generally eat sushi at least once per week so that might tell you something.

                              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                The ownership change I was thinking of was at least a couple of years ago. Haven't been there since three or four years ago.

                          2. The sushi most convenient to River Street WF is Bisuteki, in the Marriott Courtyard. I have not been, but co-workers have told me it's fine, especially when you can't stand yet another trip to WF for lunch. (Plus I think those guys like the big Sapporos!)

                            Don't forget about Rangzen (Tibetan) and Baraka Cafe, both about a 5 min drive from WF. Be prepared to wait at Baraka (slow service) and if you choose Rangzen for their yummy lunch buffet, get there early since the small space fills up quickly.

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                            Baraka Cafe
                            80 Pearl St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                            1. So, you will all laugh at the outcome...Met at River St, set to go to Prospect St Whole Foods for the next visit. I ruminate, out loud, about our options, and she starts telling me she'll even eat at a chain, even a healthy sandwich, even a Panera (not in my lifetime!), as long as it's not fried chicken, or soemthing like that. In the meantime, she tells me she doesn't like Indian or Thai, likes Chinese, but it's not healthy.

                              She LOVES Greek, and they have NO Greek in Tennessee...
                              :Swerve: We go to Greek Corner (years of chowhound ancestral knowledge imbedded in brain...)
                              We get seated immediately, in the 3/4 full restaurant. Chef has the prerequisite ethnic chest hair exposed by starched whites, hostess had prerequisite accent. Food is exactly what the doctor ordered, and I get to eat octopus. Everything is amazingly fresh, both her Corner Special (souvlaki in a sandwich) and my octo on Greek salad. All's well that ends well.

                              -----
                              Greek Corner Restaurant
                              2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: galleygirl

                                Awesome!
                                Fun part about reading the Board is the occasional "Eureka" moment when you know exactly the place to satisfy someone's cravings.