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Thelonious Monkfish in Cambridge

We tried Thelonius Monkfish in Central Square recently and it wasn't half bad. I think I avoided/mentally blacked this place out when it opened due to the hideous name. We walked by a few weeks ago and thought it looked pretty good. It is always packed even on early week nights, which is at least a sign that product is turning over and relatively fresh.

We just grabbed some quick take out, a sashimi and nigiri platter and a few maki. The fish was extremely fresh, flavorful and well cut. Even the tako was tender. I didn't dislike the Temper Tantrum Maki (tuna,cucumber, scallions & chili sauce). It is certainly not traditional in the vein of Sushi Island or Toraya, and there are plenty of 'americanized' maki creations which are par for the course for most Japanese restaurants in the states (and the cause of much angst on these boards). There is also an asian fusion side of the menu. However I would have to say they offer the best fish in Cambridge (granted a low bar).

It probably didn't hurt that we went in with low expectations. I will have to visit again soon and sit at the sushi bar to give them a bit more of a try out. It wouldn't be bad having a place nearby that is at least servicable and reasonably priced.

Any other experiences with this place?

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  1. This is my go to sushi place now based on it's convenience and relative low price. We have eated in and have ordered take out. Except for sushi we have only ordered the fried rice with kimchi in it (Seoul Rice?) and it was pretty tasty. Large enough to share and wasn't greasy. The other fried rices look interesting especially the one with duck. I agree that the fish as always been well prepared. I like creative Americanized rolls on ocassion. They had a couple interesting ones with fruit as specials one night. My main complaint is the chirashi is small (but priced accordingly) and I always forget to order it without the seasoned rice (I like my pickled veggies on the side, not mixed in). Most importantly I've never felt sick after eating there (unlike @ Bluefin, Toraya, Fish Market, Fugakyu, and Samurai).

    Any addition to Central Square that isn't a Bank or Starbuck is a plus in my book.

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    Toraya Restaurant
    890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

    Fish Market
    170 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

    3 Replies
    1. re: viperlush

      The number of places you've been I'll after eating at (and which ones they are) is remarkable.

      1. re: FoodDabbler

        plus one - correlation in question

        1. re: rgmills

          I should have clarified. I preferred the chirashi at Toraya, the rolls at Samuari (if going for the large/multi ingredient), and nigri and small rolls at Fish Market (haven't tried their chirashi but I suspect that it is also good). Each are way better than what I've eaten @ TM. But for some reason, my stomach doesn't do well after eaten at those restaurants. The weird thing is the sushi from Whole Foods, delivery sushi from Bejing Tokyo, and take out from TM don't affect my stomach the same way. So if I want to satisfy a raw fish craving it's either I eat good sushi and suffer all night, or I eat okay sushi and feel fine. I do suspect that it's because I tend to eat more when it's good. My plan is retry Fish Market and Samuari and only order cooked fish/veggie rolls and "share" whatever raw fish the BF orders.

    2. I've been in for lunch twice in the last month but only had the sushi. I also had to overcome my horror at the name, but walking by when it first opened, I could see that it looked clean and welcoming, so I finally ventured in. The service has been really quick and I like the fruit flavored water. (First time, my glass had the fresh fruit in it. Second time, no. But the pitchers still had the slices of lemon and lime.) Sometimes the tables are so close that a private conversation is difficult, and there have been large groups both times I went, so I made sure to get my order in before they did.

      My first meal was only okay, and I was disappointed with the unagi, but the second one was better. I used LevelUp one time, which helped save a few dollars.

      I do need to try some of their other items before feeling more knowledgeable about what the place can do; the menu is enormous. I am really delighted they are there in Central and look forward to going back as much as I can. When you work or live in that area, it is hard to find decent choices for lunch, especially of the sushi variety.

      1. FYI Monkfish has posted a link to this review on their facebook page.

        1 Reply
        1. re: viperlush

          Yeah, I love her review; she's funny and informative!

        2. I haven't eaten there yet but I love the name. It promises fun (and good fish). Monk's wife Nellie sometimes call him Melodious Thunk. I love that too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: katzzz

            Katzzz, sounds like the name of a new roll! I'll give you credit if we do it!

          2. have only had the Indonesian fried rice which was basically just fried rice, nothing like Rod Dee's which is chock full of crispy chicken, the fried egg, shrimp paste (I think) etc. will have to go back and try the sushi.