Photos and Words by Cat Lau (Editor-In-Chief) and Rochelle “Ro” Li (Photo Editor)
Welcome fellow reader to the first of the TasteBUds’s Dining with the Editors Series!
In this series, TasteBUds editors will visit their favorite restaurants and bars, as well as new restaurants in the Boston area. We hope that our experiences and reviews will encourage you to explore the wonderful food mecca that is Boston! Let’s get started!
“6:00pm at Addis Red Sea. Be there,” read the group text.
This was the plan until the four foodies lost Nandini to the flu, and Taylor to a merciless amount of homework. That left Cat and Ro, two determined food enthusiasts, ready to look for the best eats around BU.
Should they have gone with the original plan for Ethopian Food at Addis Red Sea (a common favorite among the TasteBUds editors) or a new place? And if so, where? There were so many great places to eat close to home. Basho in Fenway, Camino Royale in Allston, Ribelle in Brookline and Tabenaro de Haro in South Campus were all options that they considered. Finally, they decided on Ro’s suggestion of a place called Shiki in Coolidge Corner.
Coolidge Corner is known for great food finds and ethnic cuisines, but Shiki is truly a hidden gem ( New word please nandini!) in the mix. In order to get to the restaurant, you will take a slight turn away from the main street of Harvard St. and keep walking until you see a faded red awning and a light ruby flag bearing the restaurant’s name.
At first glance through the street-level windows, Cat and Ro saw an intimate and quaint Japanese restaurant. The slightly yellow-orange tinge of lighting and minimalist decor added to a warm and homey atmosphere.
Cat and Ro looked at the other guest’s tables, and they saw many delicate and carefully crafted dishes varying from bright-colored slices of sashimi, to perfectly fried pieces of tempura. “We found our gem,” Cat exclaimed as soon as the two sat at their table.
This is what they ordered:
Description: A Japanese winter dish consisting of several ingredients such as daikon radish, konnyaku, and fish cakes stewed in a light, soy-flavored fish broth.
Flavor: The flavors of this dish were very delicate, but one could tell there was a lot that went into making it. The dashi, traditionally made with konbu (dried seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), had subtle notes of fishiness that was reminiscent of well-crafted Japanese dishes. The soft and plump fish cakes and konnyaku (yam cake) added textural contrasts that made the dish interesting to eat throughout the dinner.
Description: Raw chopped scallops mixed with mayonnaise, pickles and shiso basil, and wrapped in slices of smoked salmon. There was a slightly reddish purple sauce, which Ro thought was a ume-shiso sauce made of plum and a Japanese herb similar to mint.
Flavor: The smoky flavor of the salmon was subtle and complemented the fresh scallops. The ume-shiso sauce added a great tart and fruity finish. Overall, the combination of flavors was sweet bliss for the seafood lover.
Description: Handmade thin udon noodles in a soup and served with shrimp tempura on the side.
Flavor: The broth of this dish tasted very similar to other Japanese udon dishes, however, what made this dish stand out more than the rest was the noodles. The noodles were thin, soft and smooth, but still had a bite to it. The shrimp tempura was one of the best that Ro has had in Boston; the shrimp was breaded lightly and fried to perfection.
As hungry as they were, Cat and Ro did as food editors do when they dine out: whipped out their DSLR cameras and clicked away from every angle possible. Satisfied with their photos, they dined in bliss communicating through moans, murmurs and eye-rolls.
Shiki has been open for over four years and specializes in a type of Japanese cuisine called “Kaiseki”. Kaiseki is a multi-course meal consisting of small, well thought out dishes. At Shiki, the kaiseki course meal is only served during lunch; however, the dinner menu is very much recommended.
Cat has gone to Japan many times throughout her life and Ro previously worked at Yakitori Zai, a Japanese restaurant in the South End. Both Cat and Ro agreed that the food was reminiscent of the great Japanese cuisine they have had in the past. So don’t let the concealed location of the restaurant discourage you from checking this place out because you will be missing out on dishes that are filled with flavor and authenticity.
Address: 9 Babcock St., Brookline, MA
Phone: (617) 738-0200
Tuesday-Thursday: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m., 5:30-10pm
Friday-Saturday: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m., 5:30-11pm
Sunday: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m., 5:30-10pm