Natural wood crowns the entrance to Ichiban Japanese & Korean Restaurant, and inside the eatery’s spacious dining room, soft lights and white tablecloths set an inviting scene. In the kitchen, cooks draw on years of experience to prepare Japanese and Korean specialties. They roll fresh sushi, grill short ribs and beef bulgogi, and simmer seafood tableside in hot pots. Patrons can wash back each bite with wine, sake, and imported Asian beers.
MuMu Chinese Cuisine’s chefs whisk diners away on tour of Asia’s culinary landscape with a menu of Chinese favorites served alongside regional victuals from Shanghai and Taiwan. Bold flavors from tasty entrees, such as the spare ribs with sautéed garlic and the peking duck with pan-fried pancakes, send a wakeup call to dormant taste buds so diners don’t have to devour salted alarm clocks. Behind MuMu Chinese Cuisine’s brick façade, eyes can feast on bright yellow walls donning Asian artwork and framed reviews from magazines and newspapers.
Trafficking in traditional Korean barbecue and sushi, the chefs at Apgujung engineer a poly-flavored menu populated with a flotilla of entertaining edibles. Apgujung kick-starts midday meals with teriyaki, tempura, or katsu bento boxes ($9.50) or ladles of spicy soondubu jjigae soup ($9.95), a soft tofu stew known for its mix of seafood and tendency to back down from fights. Sea fare sneaks its way into dinner with pancake appetizers adorned with seafood, scallions, or kimchi ($7.95–$9.95) or oysters masked by a deep-fried chrysalis of japanese breadcrumb batter. Chefs grill the shrimp-and-scallop teriyaki ($17.95) in a house glaze and marinate the thinly sliced pork bulgogi ($17.95) in a fiery chili sauce. The house special okdol bibimbap ($12.50–$16.50) lands on tables in a hot stone bowl to give its contents a toasty flavor and time to cook while the guest eats to save chefs time to work on their culinary mystery novels. Diners can meander through a daunting collection of sushi offerings, including thin seaweed rolls and inside-out rolls, or charter 30-piece sushi boats ($39.95+) for the night captained by stern, bearded bottles of soy sauce.
Sushi Box's menus draw from the culinary traditions of Japan, Thailand, and Korea, filling white-swathed tables with pan-regional dishes. Chefs glaze entrees of beef ribs, stir-fried kimchi, and thinly sliced pork with incendiary sauces, earning praise from the Boston Phoenix in 2009 for their ability to "showcase the joys of Korean cuisine." They also simmer vegetables in thai curry sauces and fill their specialty maki with premium sushi ingredients, including sweet-potato tempura and nori harvested by mermaids.
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.