Words and Photos by Emily Macdonald
Boston is undeniably an incredible city that offers endless possibilities and new experiences for all of its inhabitants. Included among these experiences are all of the unique and different restaurants just a few T stops away from BU’s campus. After moving from England a couple years ago, I often have a hard time adjusting to the lack of my favourite English delicacies and restaurants. Moving to Boston, however, was a blessing for my cravings, as the city offers not one, not two, but three (!) locations of one of my favourite restaurants: Wagamama.
Wagamama serves Asian food that is predominantly infused with Japanese flavours. There is a large selection of dishes to choose from, including dishes such as omakase, ramen, teppanyaki, donburi, and curries. Whatever Asian flavour you’re feeling, chances are, Wagamama has it. Its headquarters is located in London, but as the restaurant is rapidly growing more successful, they are expanding their reach. This means that Boston will no longer be the only location it’ll serve at, as they will soon be opening a restaurant in Manhattan. Hopefully the chain will be as popular as it is England and the delightful dishes will be shared all throughout America.
On my visit to the closest Wagamama in the Prudential Center, I chose the seafood ramen. The dish is composed of salmon, grilled tiger prawns and yellow sole on top of noodles, garnished with pea shoots, wakame and sea beans. Originally the noodles come in a vegetable broth, but wanting a thicker flavour, I customized my dish by opting for a rich broth. Not only was it delightful to eat, but it was very satisfying afterwards. It is a perfect healthy winter meal, the warm broth keeping one warm whilst the fresh and healthy ingredients keeping off the weight. My friend, Julia, whom was eating with me chose the teriyaki beef donburi, which is a beef brisket with red onions in a teriyaki sauce, served with sticky white rice, shredded carrots, seasonal greens and scallions. The dish was simplistic yet fresh and effective, and in Julia’s words, “simply brilliant.”
Deciding to treat ourselves for dessert, we each ordered the mango mousse cake, which was garnished with a golden gooseberry and served with a scoop of lemon sorbet. The mousse was light and had the perfect texture with a sticky mango topping. It was a very pungent taste, if not a little overwhelming. Both of us agreed that all our dishes were heavenly.
Whilst the dishes were delectable, admittedly they were a little above the ideal range for a college student. My seafood ramen was about $16 while Julia’s beef donburi was about $12 and each mango mousse cake was $8. The prices stand slightly higher than ideal, however that does not mean that it should stop one from occasionally choosing to spend a little more for a high quality meal and the experience of the Wagamama environment.
The ambiance of Wagamama never fails to make one feel relaxed and at ease. With a dark setting and the main lights focusing on the tables, the ambiance of the restaurant is one very hard to find elsewhere. The setting makes the food just that much better, which one would think would be rather hard to do in the first place. The long communal tables yet separated benches for each party give the sense of community without the feeling that another party is intruding on another’s space. The kitchen is also placed in the eyesight of the customers, so that they are able to view the chefs preparing their food, which gives an even more relaxed sense to the place.
After years of searching, I’ve finally found what feels like an old friend at Wagamama, and I encourage others to do the same! Wagamama is a restaurant I would recommend to anyone, especially those looking for a unique style of eating out and college students looking for something a little more high quality than what the dining halls have to offer. If you do go, I recommend the seafood ramen or the chicken katsu curry. But explore the menu, as everything there is incredible!