At The Ginger Pad, a casual atmosphere blends with the rich aromas of garlic, thai basil, and chili sauce hanging in the air to help guests forget the world outside. Like a suspension bridge made out of udon noodles, the menu connects distant lands through food, laying out delicious examples of Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. Spring rolls or edamame preempt dives into salty-sweet pad thai or korean beef barbecue. Chopsticks can also lift spicy sichuan shrimp to mouths or gently cradle sushi rolls that combine colorful mango and avocado with fresh tobiko, tuna, salmon, and scallops.
Koreana offers classic Korean barbecue, outfitting each table with its own grill to create a custom dining experience with built-in entertainment. Warm up maxillo-muscles with an avocado salad ($7) or the shrimp tempura, outfitted with a suit of crispy, golden armor ($10). Then, employ the classic good-cop/bad-cop technique to grill alternating edibles; two grill orders are required to use the grill. The pork bulgogi is a savory option, with slices of chili-paste-marinated pork bathing in a sweet and spicy soy sauce ($19), and the chadol baegi logs in as another meat nominee, casting sweet soy sauce and salted sesame oil in a beef brisket production that guarantees odd couple hilarity ($20). Vassals to the vegetable have plenty of options at Koreana, including barbecued tofu ($16) and rice entrees such as the bokembop, a Korean fried rice full of buried vegetable, egg, and kimchee treasure ($10). Flame-fearing foodies also have plenty of uncooked options, including salmon or yellowtail sushi rolls ($4.50 each). Kids get to pick on something their own size, such as the chicken teriyaki with a fried dumpling ($8).
Continuing an age-old Japanese culinary tradition, Shabu-Ya specializes in shabu-shabu, or hot pot––a modern take on the steaming soups historically eaten by Genghis Khan and his armies. The café's sleekly modern interior is designed to evoke the colors and shapes of this signature dish, from vegetable-green couches to round hanging lights that recall bubbles in boiling broth. Meals can begin with seaweed-encircled sushi while diners decide which meats and veggies to simmer in a choice of shabu-shabu broths such as Korean kimchi and vegetarian mushroom. Kitchen specials also offer Black Angus rib eye or chili-marinated pork bulgoki to build hearty hot pots, and are flavorful ways to change up an all-mayonnaise diet.
The sushi chefs at Takemura Japanese Restaurant craft an impressive 48 different maki rolls for their large menu. But there's more to their craft than just rolls. Their minimalistic plates often showcase a range of nigiri—slices of raw fish on a perfect mound of rice—or fresh sashimi that needs no rice in its life to feel worthy of being eaten. Traditional ingredients of spicy tuna and eel abound here, though the chefs also bend more unique sushi ingredients to their will, such as deep-fried pumpkin. When it comes to hot dishes, the dinner menu also tiptoes into other culinary traditions with with Korean barbecue and noodles topped with fried eggs. While the chefs get to work, the waitstaff brings diners wines from around the world, cold beers, and special unfiltered sake.
Referencing his relentless work ethic, Fuji at Kendall owner Jimmy Liang told the Patriot Ledger that he sleeps only four to five hours a night. The rest of his time is occupied with planning dramatic presentations for fresh fish. From the battered cuttlefish tentacles of a crispy appetizer to the Ming's mango maki roll—shrimp, asparagus, and mango topped with slices of spicy tuna—Liang carefully sources and hand-fashions the seafood on his menu into edible artwork.
Liang and his partner Peter Tse became purveyors of innovative sushi when they were 20 years old. Since then, they've specialized in their own brand of nigiri, sashimi, maki, and Asian fusion. There are also classic plates of chicken teriyaki and udon soup at Fuji, but according to The Improper Bostonian, Liang's talent shines the brightest when he and head chef Ming Cao are asked to improvise custom sushi meals. The resulting dishes are a "testimony to a chef at play," whose "deft touch with fish and seasonings…brings dishes to the heights of flavorful experimentation." Guests who prefer to know their order in advance can browse a list of specialty rolls such as the Dynamite maki, named for its spicy cargo of jalapeño, tuna, and tobiko that self-destructs if you touch it with your chopsticks.