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Apr 19, 2012 11:13 PM

Shiki Japanese in Coolidge Corner?

Haven't been here in years but was very impressed with the breadth of the menu last night. I must say I was disappointed that the very same attitudey waitress was there after these many years. Major piece of work.

Tell me, when you order a number of small plates there, do you have to ask them to bring them a few at a time? We ordered quite a few things, starved for 30 -40 minutes and then were deluged with food- ALL at once- hot,cold, everything. After the deluge, she never came back to check on us, nada. The other,sweet ,waitress helped us at the end. While she said with certainty that the ankimo was fresh, I asked her to ask the chef, because i know that most boston sushi restnts get their fish from the vendor that only sells frozen ankimo now. She returned to apologize and say that yes, it was frozen.(so i did not order it. Don't care for that crumbly texture in what should be an unctuous creamy food.)

My Love declared his hamachi kama the best he's had and he also enjoyed his braised squid stuffed w/ sticky rice and shiitakes. They did an excellent job w/ the agedashi tofu and yamakake. And what a surprise- the maki and sushi had me raving for the quality of the rice and the nori. Very impressive. (I feel a bit like a traitor saying this, but they def beat out the rice and nori i've had recently at Sushi Island. )

What do yall think of it?Fav dishes? One sushi item i'd not seen elsewhere was a halibut cheek muscle maybe? wonder what that's like.....


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  1. OC. Shiki is one of my favorites and for me closest to restaurants in Japan that we have (though i also like Porter exchange for this). I agree that the quality of sushi rice and nori is high and better than most places that specialize in sushi. I love the hamachi kama but they are sometimes out of it. I like the chawan mushi, three ways, When they have maitake mushrooms, go for it.

    1. OC, I have a Japanese friend coming to Boston next month, staying in the Coolidge Corner area. I raved to her about my experience at O-ya but she couldn't travel that far. Would Shiki be a good replacement? Your review makes it sound quite good. Thanks in advance!

      9 Replies
      1. re: bdachow

        No, Shiki is not comparable to O-ya. O-ya is extremely high end and Shiki is not high end at all. Quality wise, Shiki is nowhere near O-ya. The only other sushi restaurant in Boston that would be comparable to O-ya would be Oishii. If your only looking for something in the Brookline area, I think Fish market is much better then Shiki.

        1. re: unamuno200

          I like uni bar though there have been dissents.

          For take-out, i really like Sakayana though I eat sashimi and cannot vouch for Yoshi's way with rice and rolls.

        2. re: bdachow

          bda, sorry i missed your post before. Imo Shiki's particular value is in its number of trad J dishes that you don 't see in many Boston J restnts. I'm curious- do you think your friend wants to come here and eat Japanese food? ( We always take our foreign visitors to not-their-cuisine places. But maybe she has been in the u.s. awhile and is homesick for J food?) Is she staying long in Boston? I'd like to help further.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            She's Japanese but has been out of Japan for a long time now. The Japanese food here in Bermuda, is mostly non existent except for sashimi hence I thought I'd send her somewhere for some real food. I have put Shiki down on her list of places to visit along with O-ya, depending on how her schedule works out. I think the traditional dishes would be a nice change of pace for her, not having access to them here except if you make them yourself.

            Thanks very much for your thoughts, much appreciated and keep your reviews coming, I find them extremely insightful.

            1. re: bdachow

              bd, we have hosted and/or just provided info to many Japanese visitors over our 40 yrs here. If she would like dining company or an informal tour guide , i would be happy to help or to answer any questions . she can contact me via cottonarboretumatcomcastdotnet.

              coolidge corner has easily 10+ Japanese restnts. Some are the more 'rock'n roll sushi' style, and there are a few more traditional.I don't know if you already saw them, but my 'search' came up w/ these Shiki posts:

              "Shiki is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Boston, bar none. There service is slow, to be sure, but they serve interesting cooked Japanese dishes that no other restaurant in Boston does. I don't think they are confused at all --- they are an izakaya, and a very good one at that.

              Genki Ya, by contrast, serves dreck. I don't care what language the owners or waitstaff or chefs speak, but the nigiri were atroious, and the rolls could best be described as a hot-mess. Or, as tatsu might say, "jive-ass."

              I agree re Shiki. I just had lunch there yesterday and it was great. Their Kurobuta pork tenderloin is one of the best pork tenderloin preps I've had - flavorful and moist, with a delicious (and tender) ring of fat around the outside. I've always had excellent food at Shiki and haven't experienced any of the awkwardness re service or atmosphere that Luther mentioned.

              Shiki, food-wise, is fantastic. I wish they were a bit more organized, but the quality of their
              dishes are top-notch (when we're talking Japanese in Boston). Whether their lunch sets or
              dinner, I do recommend Shiki."

              the above comments are from:

              Don't know if your friend's stay is brief, or if she wants to explore other parts of the city, but just fyi, there is a kind of 'mini Japantown' in a building called the Porter Sq Exchange, in Cambridge . (My guess, sure to be corrected by other CHs , is that it might take 1 hour on the T , or 25 minutes by cab,to get from Coolidge Corner to Porter Sq.) It is a bustling group of very small food venues, a J bakery, and numerous J stores (no J markets but there is one about 3 blocks away["Miso"]. ) In the Exchange, Sapporo Ramen is a CH fave.
              more info:

              The J bakery, Japonaise, has its main location very close to CC by walking or bus.

              Also, there is the Boston Japan Society, located downtown. And the Boston MFA (Musm of Fine Arts) has what is commonly regarded as the best collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. The MFA is relatively close to CC(Coolidge Corner)- maybe a 15 minute cab ride.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                For my everyday, sashimi cravings, i get food at Sakayana. Yoshi will cut the fish for you, but i usually do that myself.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  +1 to everything opinionatedchef said here!

                  Shiki is wonderful, has unusual dishes, and slow service.

                  Oga's in Natick, Sushi Island in Wakefield and Toraya in Arlington are also excellent traditional Japanese restaurants that focus on sushi, but have some interesting cooked dishes as well.

                  Miso Market is my favorite Japanese market in the area, and while it is a few blocks north of the Porter Exchange Mall, it is really not to be missed. They usually have have some prepared foods (like bento box lunches and onigiri) right at the front, along with a small but carefully curated selection of unusual Japanese produce.

                  Aside from food, there's a Japanese Tea exhibit at the MFA right now, a Hokusai exhibit at the Worcester Art Museum (I have not been), and the Peabody Essex Museum has a fine permanent Japanese collection. Finally, there's a large Japanese stone lantern hanging out on the grounds of the Cambridge Public Library --- it was donated to Harvard by Japanese alumni in 1936.

                  1. re: lipoff

                    Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. Unfortunately, the trips are not for leisure so I suspect she won't have time to do much visiting.

                    Cambridgedoctpr, I had actually put Sakanaya on her list of recommendations, thank you!

                    OC, thanks for the tip about the J bakery, I will pass it along to her. And thank you for the very kind offer.

                    1. re: bdachow

                      if she is japanese and is interested in sashimi, she will enjoy talking to yoshi; hell, even if she were not, he really knows what he is talking about. As i mentioned, he used to work in the main fish market in tokyo; Tsukiji Market (築地市場, Tsukiji Shijō)

          2. My favorite dish at Shiki is the sake flight.