Once they open the shop in the early morning, Jitters Cafe's sandwich makers stop looking at the clock. They prepare their slate of breakfast paninis any time of the day, giving patrons the ability to bite into hot ham-and-egg sandwiches or scarf down grilled-cheese sandwiches whenever the mood strikes. The lunch hour unlocks another list of paninis and salads that join in the hunger-fighting mission throughout the rest of the day. Each sandwich is made with bread freshly delivered that morning from local sources and pairs well with the shop’s brewed coffee.
Referencing a revolving menu of bistro fare, the chefs at Melissa's Main Street Bistro carefully plate grilled seafood and meats with seasonal vegetables and sauces. They braise short ribs and pair them with a choice of starch, vegetable, and sauce, and help linguine win games of hide-and-seek by burying the noodles in the seafood fra diavolo's cornucopia of haddock, calamari, salmon, shrimp, mussels, and lobster. Armed with ladles and small plates, they dole out daily soups and tapas that accent the savory meals. The bar offers glimpses into the kitchen, and the eatery's large windows funnel sunlight from outside, where a maroon awning hovers over flower boxes that pepper the sidewalk as gracefully as a hopscotch course leading to etiquette school.
Shabu Sai Asian Bistro showcases the flavors of Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, and Singapore throughout its eclectic menu. As its name implies, the bistro embraces the communal and relatively healthful method of table-side cooking known as shabu-shabu. Diners begin by choosing a pot of steaming hot broth?such as Japanese-style miso or spicy Korean kimchi?then cook their own meats and vegetables in the sizzling soup base. Ingredients range from angus rib eye steak and scallops to shiitake mushrooms and radishes. Additionally, the chefs round out the menu by serving a variety of familiar favorites, including chicken teriyaki, pad thai, and more than 30 distinctive sushi rolls.
Inside the dining room, rich earth tones lend warmth to the space, complementing the cozy vibe created by the sight of diners cooking together around their tables. A line of chairs also runs the length of the sushi bar, providing guests with an opportunity to watch as the sushi chefs carefully slice each fish and meticulously hand-polish each grain of rice.
By using locally sourced meats and produce in tandem with exotic Asian spices, the chefs at Fusion Taste create dishes from regions across the Asian continent. The kitchen specializes in the food of China and Japan, but also features classic Thai, Mongolian, and Polynesian-style meals. Teppanyaki chicken and lightly-fried salmon katsu are served fresh off the grill alongside hearty entrees such as black-pepper beef and Hunan lamb. At the sushi counter, chefs prepare more than 50 different house rolls, including spicy scallop and tuna-avocado. More multicultural dishes such as moo-shi with pancakes and tropical chow mein round out the menu. Presentation is also a major part of Fusion Taste's food: each meal is carefully composed on a square, white porcelain plate, which represents happiness when all of the food disappears from it.
Japanese, Thai, and Korean cuisines equally influence the chefs at U-Me Restaurant and Lounge, helping them devise a menu of pan-Asian cuisine. The chefs capture the elegant simplicity of Japanese sushi by rolling more than 40 individual maki, filling them with everything from grilled lobster and cucumber to fried sweet potato and imported oxygen molecules. Pineapple and basil lend a distinctive fragrance to the thai curries, and korean short ribs emerge with a piquant glaze of chili paste.
The dining areas’ clean white walls, warm wooden tones, and marble sushi bar mimic the menu’s restrained elegance. However, the restaurant adheres to its trans-Pacific roots by featuring framed Eastern artwork along the walls and Asian artifacts above the sushi bar.
The distance between Beijing, China and Tokyo, Japan is roughly 1,300 miles. So, the chances of tasting both regions' cuisines in the same day are slim?unless you're at Sato II in Stoneham, Massachusetts. There, chefs split the menu right down the middle to create a fusion of authentic flavors. The Chinese side of the menu features a section called "Interesting Pan-Fried Dishes," which includes Szechuan spicy beef saut?ed with veggies and peanuts in a spicy brown sauce. Sushi specialties anchor the Japan spread, and each is accompanied by miso soup to enjoy or bring home to re-fill a depleted fish bowl. Amid all the exploration of Asian cuisines, dark wood furniture and warm lighting sets a relaxed tone that becomes especially laid-back with live Jazz music on Thursday nights.