Sunday, February 17, 2008

Restaurant Review: Shika

Last night, we went to a new Japanese restaurant a half mile up in Coolidge Corner. Shiki is underground and a bit unassuming. It used to be an Italian place which was quite good. We wondered about how busy they would be but soon found out when within the half hour the place was packed and it was standing room only. Thank goodness we got there early!

What I thought was a sushi place was much much more than that. Try Japanese tapas. Really. Although they do have sushi, their focus are small plates of classic Japanese dishes with a slight twist. Not to mention pages and pages of sake!

I ended up getting a flight of sake which came with four full ounce glasses holding 4 different types of sake. They were all very good and very different. It's something I never would have thought about, sake being different, if I had not had a chance to compare a few side by side. They have different depth and character, fragrance and flavors. Amazing.

We got the agedashi tofu. It was classic. Very good. Also a halibut carpaccio that was so good, we ordered a second one, along with the tuna carpaccio which was heavenly. A spring roll that was not fried, a beef tataki roll wrapped around veggies that I didn't care for but which Joseph scarfed up, including the half piece that I left on my plate. Their house special friend rice wasn't all that good and I ended up ordering another bowl of steam white rice - a tried and true fall back.

The seaweed salad was excellent and we ended up getting a spicy tuna roll which we asked for extra spicy, a tuna nigiri which could have passed for toro, a tobiko sushi which is classic and one of my favorites, along with a yellowtail sushi. All of it was excellent.

We paired all of it with a nice French Pinot - a burgundy. The first bottle was corked but the second was excellent.

I am so glad to see a Japanese place that isn't just a sushi bar or one of those "big griddle, flying knives and salt shakers with loud banging" teppanyaki places with chefs in tall hats!



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