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Jul 1, 2011 09:29 AM

I'm going to miss Basho (don't worry, *it's* still there, just *I* won't be)

Been there twice before, always enjoyed it. Considered it a more interesting version of Fugakyu, with less parking.

We had bought 2 of the Rue La La deals a few months back and found ourselves in the neighborhood last night, so went in around 8. The deal was $50 of Sushi and Sake pairings for $25.

Admittedly we didn't read the deal carefully. We don't like Sake, but figured we'd make the best of it. Knew we'd enjoy the sushi anyway, and would at least get our "investment" worth.

No problem getting seated, showed the waiter our certificates, he warned us that it takes the chefs awhile to put together the sushi flight, and suggested an appetizer (I always appreciate a well couched upsell, so we ordered something). He also asked at this time if we had any food allergies. I don't like avocado, and neither does my DW (and it gives her a rash and mild discomfort), so we told him we didn't want any avocado in the meal.

We then explained that we don't like Sake, and asked if we could have soda instead (cheapest Sake is $11, so I figured they'd jump at this). He came back and said they can't substitute anything. Asked him to check with the manager, he came back with two diet cokes, and said the manager said they had had to charge us, so we said no thanks. Ah well, you don't want to comp us a buck's worth of soda (when you're saving $10 on Sake), that's an odd decision, but what can you do.

Sushi came. Waiter told us the chef had replaced the avocado with cucumber in the rolls (like most places do). It Was Beautiful. 2 Tuna, 2 Salmon, 2 Whitetail, and 8 or so rolls. Each had it's own sause and topping (ranging from roe to jalapeno/tomato). I prefer my sushi to taste like fish (ok, I'm a picky eater), so I scraped most of my toppings off. I'm not fond of eel, so I offered mine to my wife, and as I passed it, I asked her if that was a Wasabi topping on it. She had finished hers, and looked at mine as I held it up and said "that's not wasabi". Yep, avocado.

Caught the waiter's eye, he came over, asked him if that was avocado, his jaw fell open as he agreed that was what was on the eel. He got the manager, who must have apologized for 10 minutes (five of which was discussing if the fault lay with the waiter or with the kitchen, not my problem). After a whole bunch of "I don't know what to say"s, I suggested she could comp our appetizer, which she immediately agreed to. And assured her that although my wife would have an uncomfortable night, but no need to worry beyond that.

I just can't see going back. If it was just the soda/sake thing, or just the avocado issue (my wife warned after the soda discussion that they are going to "spit in your food", she wasn't far off)

So lesson learned. If you have an allergy (or just a dislike), double and triple check (especially if it's serious) that your allergen has been totally removed from your order before you partake.

Edit: Just wanted to reiterate, the food was fantastic. Other than, you know.

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  1. Thank you for the review - it's the small stuff that make a place, which we often forget. They forget that it is their option to work there, no different than me suiting up and going to work. I can't decide to not do something or substitute out a presentation that was already completed....I

    2 Replies
    1. re: meeps2002

      thats unfair. I have been to Basho three times now each time witha a BuyWithMe, we did not choose a deal which had aspects we did not want and everything went smoothly. The staff could not have been better. The way L2K's account read it was the buyer's mistake which they expected Basho to make right. The general impression of Basho elsewhere is it does good sushi, some interesting other dishes and the staff are very accommodating even when I am sure they lost money on our meals.
      I feel the least I can do is defend this decent restaurant.

      1. re: Janeinma

        I did not expect Basho to make my mistake right. I hoped they'd substitute soda for Sake, but acknowledged they had the right not to do so. Had that been the point, there would have been no post.

        However, I do not expect a restaurant to serve me Avocado when I told them my party is allergic to Avocado. I think the "lesson learned" part in my original post points this out as the crux of the matter.

    2. I don't think you can fault the restaurant for a coupon deal you weren't happy with. It's clearly the buyer's responsibility to read the fine print, which these coupon-sellers notoriously use to hide terms unfavorable to the diner. An increasing number of restaurants view these coupons as a raw deal where nobody ends up happy except the issuer, and are shunning them.

      The kitchen blowing it on a clearly-specified food allergy is another issue altogether. (I'm taking it on faith that you are not one of the many, many diners who assert specious allergies as a way to get the kitchen to bow to their food aversions, a practice I consider very seriously wrong.) I have friends with specific food allergies so severe that a kitchen mistake of that sort can be life-threatening. I would be very upset about that, too.

      My own experiences at Basho have been pretty positive, though the cocktails could be better, and I wish the robata were more traditional.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Agreed, there is a difference between an allergy and a preference.

        As far as Basho is concerned, sashimi portions were last generous on our last visit. We brought this to the owner's attention and it was quickly remedied. However it is something we will keep an eye on.

      2. Went there on one o' them coupon deals with a friend and got a 40 piece (maybe more) plate of sashimi and sushi. They were pretty accommodating, and honored my dc's request to not use wasabi. Thought the quality was pretty good, though the tuna and mackerel seemed a little past peak.

        It didn't leave me particularly full, so we hit Tasty Burger after and got burgers with fries and sausage gravy. Then we hit ICOB and split three desserts. I feel full again just thinking about it...

        Tasty Burger
        1301 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

        9 Replies
        1. re: nsenada

          That's what I call ripping through The Fenway/Kenmore! Wicked.

          1. re: nsenada

            I'm sorry they weren't careful and that's a bummer. I have to say that we had a delightful experience there using our Open Table coupon for a chef's choice 5 course dinner. They had no problem accommodating one member of our party who doesn't eat meat and our adorable Ukrainian waitress couldn't have been more attentive. We liked the food and while it wasn't O Ya, it didn't require a second mortgage either.

            O Ya
            9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

            1. re: teezeetoo

              seems to me like if someone in your party at a sushi restaurant is allergic to avocado, it should be brought to the servers attention immediately and not waiting until (and if) the server asks if anyone has any allergies. However, that does not excuse their error. Although you do have to keep in mind that a fair number of customers buy these coupon deal things and then try and change the deal when they order.

              For whatever it is worth, I have eaten at Basho about half a dozen times and have never had a single complaint other than perhaps the parking but I know that going in. I find it to be among the top 3-5 "everyday" sushi places in Boston proper (I am excluding places like o ya, Uni and Oishii Boston as those tend to run $100+ a person for what I order)

              1. re: teezeetoo

                The Ukrainian waitress is great, I agree. The sushi chefs have no clue how to cut toro, though, they didn't even attempt to score or cut out the sinews. Also I had to send back the sake iiirc, it had gone bad. I did enjoy their "homemade" tofu, which was custard style (similar to the tofu custard on the weekend dimsum menu at Jo Jo Taipei.)

                1. re: barleywino

                  it may be the particular chef or the volume pressures that lead to inconsistencies. Our toro was beautifully cut and presented. And, unlike lipoff's experience, our tempura was light, greaseless, and delicious (lotus root, fiddleheads, shrimp).

                  1. re: teezeetoo

                    good to know, I did comment on the toro to the hostess afterwards and perhaps she passed that feedback on to the chefs

                    1. re: teezeetoo

                      Wow, I definitely did not see lotus root or fiddlehead tempura on the menu, but they both sound delightful.

                      1. re: lipoff

                        the lotus root, fiddlehead, etc. on the tempura course were part of the chef's tasting menu so I don't know if they are on the "regular" menu but they should be. it was delightful to encounter such unexpected "tempura" items and they worked very well.

                2. re: nsenada

                  wow, finally someone on this board whose appetite might be bigger than mine. i feel so much better now, and need to remember this when i read your other reviews.

                3. As it happens, I just went to Basho for the first time a couple days ago.

                  It was more or less what I expected --- middling, faux Japanese, poor attention to detail, but a few very good bites, and was actually a bit less expensive than I thought.

                  The best bites were the kabocha squash robata, and an amberjack carpaccio.

                  Chicken skin robata was middling at best, various types of vegetable tempura were over-breaded, although it did seem they were using a good oil. Shishito peppers were almost inedible, having been overcooked and over-seasoned.

                  Pickled mackerel sushi was too oily, tamago nigiri was too sweet, yuzu yellowtail nigiri sushi was just odd, but oddly enough the crab stick nigiri was excellent --- they are using a fine kanikama.

                  We had a number of what tatsu would call "jive-ass rolls", of which the menu is replete. Fenway maki, spicy tuna roll, etc. were all middling and taste more or less the same to me.

                  My hot green tea was so bitter it was almost undrinkable (they must both use a tea bag and poured boiling water over green tea which over-extracts leading to a bitter cup), and my DC got lemon in her water but I didn't.

                  On the other hand, our meal for two came out to $60 something before tax and tip, which is less than I thought it would, and it's a fun, atmospheric space and we had a good time.

                  There must be more gems in addition to that amberjack carpaccio and kabocha squash, but the menu is so huge I can't blame the chefs for not being able to produce such an enormous number of very different dishes at a similarly high level, but I also despair about being able to sort out the best from the rest.

                  1. Went back to Basho last night and brought two friends who hadn't been there before. Before we checked in for our reservation, my wife caught the manager's eye, and she quickly came over and told us she was glad we had returned, and would make sure that everything went smoothly.

                    And it did.

                    Food was wonderful, service was very good (had to ask for water refills, but other than that, was excellent), and at the end of the meal the manager reminded us that she tried to buy us dessert last time (we didn't remember that, but hey, I'll take free dessert), so she insisted on buying us two desserts for the table. Desserts are not their strong point, but that's not the point. We were very pleased with the entire evening.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: L2k

                      Thanks for reporting back! Glad to hear things went well