At Maki Sushi Bar, pale yellow walls accented with a crisp, rust-hued stripe surround dark wood tables and a sushi bar where chefs artfully slice up fresh fish into eye-pleasing Japanese dishes. Before diving into main courses, stomachs warm up with a series of calisthenics and bites of starters such as the gyoza's pan-fried pork dumplings. Signature specials blanket plates with bites from the deep blue, seasoned delicately and accented with unexpected ingredients. The seafood martini hosts salmon, tuna, and seaweed salad in an long-stemmed martini glass. To sip more liquid spirits from stemware, patrons select from a full menu of signature cocktails, such as the Crazy Makitini or the Japanese mojito. After exploring a rainbow of nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls, tongues delight in tasting sweet bites of tempura cheesecake à la mode or crafting sweet mouth guards out of mochi ice cream.
The chefs at Tasty Foods compile a smorgasbord of sustenance that showcases fresh, natural ingredients and soups, pita bread, and sub rolls sculpted from scratch. With New York–style pizzas, some crowned with zesty toppings such as chicken and feta, and authentic pastas, the menu exudes a distinctly Italian flavor despite not being written in marinara sauce. But stuffed grape leaves, meat-laden subs and wraps, burgers, and seafood fried to a golden brown also represent Greek fare and other global tastes.
At each of Oliveira's Steakhouse four locations, the crackling sizzle of roasting meat ring’s out like a starter’s pistol, signaling the beginning of Brazilian-style churrasco feasts. Weaving between tables, servers garbed in black shirts and scarlet neckerchiefs trot out flame-kissed chicken, pork, sausage, and rodízio steak presented upon a meat-laden short sword suitable for speedy delivery or elevating a busboy to knighthood. A salad bar supplements meaty mouthfuls with plates of leafy greens, rice, beans, and sauce-laden noodles.
Wrapini's Houdinis work meal-making magic with a menu of wraps, paninis, pizzas, subs, and more—all prepared with the best meats and the freshest vegetables. Consolidate Thanksgiving into a single serving with the Mayflower wrap ($6.55)—containing real roasted turkey, herb stuffing, and cranberry sauce—or slip on your supping spurs for the Cranberry Bog Wrap ($6.55) and its patter call of chicken salad, cheddar, walnuts, craisins, greens and honey mustard on a spinach wrap. All wraps can also be grilled to create "wrapinis." Traditionalists can stick to classic "ini"-ism with Wrapini's paninis, such as the chicken-parm panini ($6.55)—served on focaccia bread and topped with marinara sauce and provolone cheese—or the Wild West panini ($7.95), a culinary Conestoga wagon of chicken cutlet, provolone, bacon, red onion, lettuce, tomato, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing. Everyone can buy up to four Groupons, so give yourself a week’s worth of excuses to sneak away from the office during lunch.
It’s easy to see which of Sugar Cane’s entrées are Chinese and which are Vietnamese, but making a choice among them may be slightly more difficult. The menu—split halfway down the middle according to nationality—pits such Vietnamese entrees as mango shrimp and lemongrass chicken against such Chinese staples as clams in a black bean sauce and Peking duck with flour pancakes. Diners can split the difference with a create-your-own stir fry, where a choice of meat and vegetables bathes in one of five pan-Asian sauces. Despite this dual approach, the menu is single-minded when it comes to drinks. The restaurant features an extensive collection of creative cocktails, frozen drinks, and other alcoholic libations that range from a lychee martini to a 33 beer imported from Vietnam. Intimate pairs or scientists researching a new straw technique can share a scorpion bowl, a juice-filled concoction made with rum, gin, vodka, and Bacardi. The restaurant also features non-alcoholic smoothies, Shirley Temples, and Vietnamese-style coffee.
The roots of Brothers Kouzina can be traced back 40 years to Kalamata, Greece, where the founder opened his first restaurant at the age of 18. In 1972, he brought his chef’s hat and his recipes to American soil, thus laying the foundation for the authentic Boston-based Greek food that still tethers every dish to the Mediterranean. Classics such as pan-fried saganaki, baked lamb, gyro, and spanakopita speak to the founder’s roots, while surprises such as nachos and Cajun burgers spice up the menu like a hula-hooper spices up a tire store. Things take a more entertaining turn on Saturday nights, when Brothers Kouzina transforms into Club Kouzina. As live musicians fill the room with Greek music, patrons can light it up on the dance floor or just absorb the sounds as they sip on a cocktail and snack on a plate of steamed mussels.