AKA Bistro in Lincoln, MA, has received nice comments on this board, and deserves its own thread.
145 Lincoln Road, Lincoln, MA
For those unfamiliar, AKA Bistro is run by Christian Touche and Chris Chung, both of whom came through the kitchen at Clio. They have something special in Lincoln; they have excellent French dishes and excellent Japanese dishes (primarily sushi). Those that live in metro west probably already know about it; those that live in Boston/Cambridge should make the effort to visit (I have some day-trip ideas for you below: you don't even need to drive).
Especially if you fit either of these descriptions, AKA Bistro is for you:
-loves sushi but spouse / someone-in-group does not
-wants to cap a day-trip in 'the country' with an excellently prepared meal...all without driving
I had a truly superb dinner there last night with friends. We were able to try several items from both the French and the Japanese menu. Not only were there no duds, every single item was a wow (okay, the baguette was simply on par). Since the menu is seasonal I won't get into everything we tried as items may not be there when you go, but here are some highlights that I've seen more than once:
Seasonal Oyster with with yuzu mignonette, ponzu, caviar and uni
Tuna Tartar (Yellow fin tuna) with cucumber cornet, tobiko and spicy aioli
-(This was even loved by our non-sushi eater)
Homemade Kobe Dumpling with Sukiyaki consommé and mushroom
Moules frites Mussels steamed in white wine with french fries
Steak Frites Grilled Angus New York Steak ( 9oz) with Maitre D’butter, caramelized shallots and french fries
Lincoln happens to be one of the more beautiful towns in metro west. Here are some ideas for those that don't drive but want to work AKA Bistro into a day trip:
Take the commuter rail from North Station or Porter Square to Lincoln. AKA Bistro is right at this stop. From here you can easily visit any of the following:
-Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary (Mass Audubon)- This is a 10min walk from the train stop and has a sidewalk the entire way (if I recall correctly). You could spend hours walking the farm, looking at the sheep, pigs, chickens, etc. They have interesting programs and exhibits.
-Codman Community Farms- 5min walk from the train stop. This is a great farm for a walk, though it does not have programs or exhibits on the scale of Drumlin. But the community gardens are fun to browse during the growing season and they have a lot of animals to check out.
-DeCordova Sculpture Museum- this would be a 45min walk, but it'd would be scenic 15min bicycle ride. They have several interesting programs and exhibits, and it's a really nice place to bring a picnic.
Love this place. We usually get a babysitter and go on a weeknight and sit at the bar and watch Chris. I've had the French food before, and it's good (though I'll note that the frites suck unless they've changed them), but the sashimi is awesome.
Hawaiian poke - we get this everytime. It's addictive and more substantial than the other items. I'm not usually a huge tuna fan, but the mix of the crunch of the bean sprouts with the cubes of tuna and flavor of ginger is a knockout.
Bronzini with hot sesame oil, cilantro and jalapeno - tastes as good as it sounds.
Scottish salmon sashimi - this one is reliable. also has cilantro on it, which I love.
Hamachi with pineapple - very good flavor combination. Little diced pineapple with perfect hamachi and a ginger vinaigrette.
I also really like the rock shrimp tempura with the spicy aioli. My husband loves the oysters with yuzu mignonette.
It's not a cheap date but you definitely get what you pay for here. I have never had a stinker when ordering the sashimi, and we've been many times. I also love that they have Trimbach Gewurtz on the wine list - a bit of an odd pairing but actually works really well with all of the lively flavors.
Thanks for starting this thread, and great to know that AKA Bistro is so accessible from the train!
I think plenty of people would enjoy hearing about what else you ate, even if they are seasonal items. So hopefully you'll post more! Also, is the food Japanese-French fusion, or would you say there is a division between the Japanese and French sides of the menu?
re: Dave MP
There is definitely a division between the two cuisines. I would not call it fusion cuisine at all. Regarding seasonal items:
-French side: A DC had a pea soup that was luxurious spring on a spoon. The color was that kind of green that I imagine nature photographers stay up late trying to eek out of Photoshop and an eye-closing texture. I believe it had creme-fraiche and something pancetta-like.
-French side: Another DC had a lamb stew that was colorful with tender lamb, vegetables including carrots, and a broth that could stand on its own.
-French side: Asparagus with duck egg. This one is simple but everything is just so right.
-Japanese side: The miso soup, which I think is always on the menu. They serve it in a ceramic mug rather than a bowl. The broth has an elegant balance to it and is a great way to start a meal as it's not too showy but inspires confidence in the kitchen.
If you visit Drumlin farm be sure to visit the pig pen; I believe they had piglets born earlier this week.
re: Area Man
re: Area Man
thanks for the piglet update! my son (who is homeschooled and loves animals) will take this as a sure sign we are destined. I was also glad to see that the brunch menu has a children's menu. My son has lots of food issues due to being in foster care etc. before we adopted him and while I never thought I'd have to worry about kids menus for a 12 year old who is 5'8" I do.
I wish more folks who post about outside Boston would also include info on how to get there if not driving. There are lots of us who'd go to these restaurants and combine them with outings close to public transportation.
The menu at AKA has two "sides". Japan and France.
thanks for this post! I've heard of AKA since it opened.....I am starving for nature and so have been looking for a walk I can do without driving.....and still feel like I got out of town. I was thrilled to find from the web site that they are open at lunch time every day with a brunch menu on Sat. and Sun. I'll be going when it stops raining!