The Middle Eastern decor at Brookline Family Restaurant transports diners to a foreign locale even before servers whisk izgara kofte (grilled-lamb meatballs), arnavut cigeri (fried-veal-liver cubes), and other halal Turkish dishes to tables. Live music and belly dancing occasionally enhance the dinnertime ambiance even further. The chefs also craft breakfasts that range from french toast to Turkish-style omelets as well as lunchtime sandwiches and wraps. To conclude meals, diners can select from traditional Turkish desserts such as baklava, a sweet pastry made of phyllo dough.
At Stoli Bar, waitresses walk by with trays of clinking vodka shots, bowls of warming borscht, and plates of potato latkes layered with house-smoked gravlax. Diners dig in to Russian dishes that borrow flavors from Ukrainian and French cuisine, such as the salmon kulebyaka—a puff pastry filled with salmon, julienne vegetables, and red caviar. Each dish is artfully presented on a white rectangular plate, which highlights the shape and texture of the food without surrounding it with distracting sparklers.
Patrons at Gari Japanese Fusion Restaurant snag sleek metallic seats in a modern, trendy space. Beneath the undulating canopy of a black-and-white sushi bar, chefs slice and chop fresh sushi and sashimi, including specialty rolls with names such as Black Pearl, Lady in Red, and Crazy Monkey. Cooked dishes such as stir-fried noodles, teriyaki, and tempura imbue meals with sweet and tangy flavors. Fusion fare such as tuna carpaccio rounds out meals with piquant spices and insightful commentary on international affairs.
Embracing Japan’s range of culinary traditions, the chefs at U-Sushi divide their time between plating fresh sushi and sautéing savory entrees on stovetops. Although the sushi selection features traditional maki with raw fish and fresh vegetables, chefs also create signature rolls containing such maritime delicacies as shrimp tempura, wasabi lobster, and Spanish doubloons. Additionally, the kitchen sears or fries pieces of tofu, chicken, and seafood, finishing them with a teriyaki glaze or a sweet chili sauce.
Since its founding in 2001, The Upper Crust Pizzeria has fashioned artful thin-crust pizzas in 19 storefronts with modern, architectural touches. Chefs craft specialty pies inspired by local landmarks, from the sundried-tomato cobblestones of the Beacon Hill to the pesto-painted walls of the Green Monster. Diners can opt to spread sweet sauce over a regular or whole-wheat crust or request that any pie be served white without sauce, and combine slices with crisp salads or pounce on the geometric goodness of a spinach square or half moon-shaped calzone. Restaurant interiors are accoutered with modern flourishes such as flat-screen TVs and pan-decorated ceilings, allowing one to lie down and admire their reflection before a postmeal nap.