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.
One of South Shore Living's "10 Influential People You Should Know" in 2010, Jimmy Liang evenly divides his time among his five Boston-area restaurants. At Fuji 1546 Restaurant & Bar, his culinary crew whips up contemporary Japanese dishes with a focus on maki, sushi, and sashimi. The sushi selection ranges from eel-filled caterpillar rolls to sweet-potato maki to the BLT roll, which guests must order without using any vowels. The menu also includes traditional eats such as gyoza, sweet-and-sour crab-meat balls, and filet mignon cooked in a housemade lime-soy marinade. For entertainment, Fuji 1546 Restaurant & Bar has a live DJ that spins every Friday and Saturday night.
High-backed booths, flickering candles, and minimalist red and black accents lend a sleek style to Osushi's intimate setting tucked inside the Westin Hotel. Chefs slice fresh fish to rest atop or inside sushi rice waiting to be plucked up by chopsticks. Their specialty makimono rolls draw from world cuisines with spicy aioli to add a dash of heat or prosciutto to lend an aria from the chef's favorite opera. Diners wash down bites of sashimi or tempura with selections from an extensive sake list, which includes specialty drinks made with seasonal fruit.
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.
Chefs at Sapporo Ramen know the key ingredient to a truly authentic bowl of broth: time. Pots of chicken and fresh vegetables boil over high heat for more than 10 hours to create the kitchen's signature house broth, which is served with plates of wave noodles, and topped with ingredients like spicy ground pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and scallions. Clearly the dedication is paying off: Boston Magazine_ named named Sapporo's spicy miso ramen one of the city’s best bowls in 2013, calling it "comfort food at its height". But while ramen may headline the menu and demand a more lavish dressing room than its fellow food items, it's not the only authentic taste at Sapporo. House-made fried rice dishes also have their place on the menu, along with ala carte favorites like ton katsu, shrimp in spicy chili sauce, or chicken sautéed in homemade teriyaki.
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.