In its first year Douzo Restaurant & Sushi was named “Boston’s Best Sushi” by the Improper Bostonian and has become a hot spot for sushi lovers ever since. Located in Back Bay, the restaurant offers an inventive twist on traditional sushi favorites. You will still find the usual suspects on the menu such as Tuna Tartar, Raw Oysters and Kobe Beef Carpaccio, but you can also uncover some surprises, including Monkfish Pate, Torched Style Yellowtail and an Eel Avocado Roll.
If you’re feeling a little daring, try the Omakase special, which is the chef’s choice from the sushi bar. Entrees include Lightly Battered Shrimp Tempura, Sirloin Steak with Black Pepper Sauce, Thinly Sliced Prime Rib in a Sukiyaki Sauce, Black Cod Misoyaki and Grilled Duck with Cranberry Teriyaki Sauce.
Douzo (which means “please come in”) offers its modern Japanese cuisine in a modern setting, with sleek white and dark contrasts to ceiling fixtures and walls and large tables for all the sushi plates. Douzo has a varied wine list, including a red, white or sake flight and a good array of cocktails like the Lychee Martini and a Tokyo Cosmo to get your night started right after dinner.
THE PRETTY PEOPLE are back. Yes, those stylish young professionals who went underground during the dining scene’s Great Malaise have come out of hiding. And it seems they’ve discovered a new upscale Japanese spot in the Fenway and made it their clubhouse.
It’s easy to see why: Basho is a huge, 239-seat space cleverly divided by various bamboo and frosted-glass screens. The room’s glossy, angular decor feels like a more-elegant West Elm catalog come to life. But it’s also mere steps from the ballpark, so it walks a wise line between the hordes who pile in seeking beer and California rolls, and the omakase crowd that embraced its sister restaurant, Douzo, in the Back Bay.
The menus of the two eateries do overlap, but Basho calls itself a “Japanese brasserie.” This food isn’t as hearty as the term would indicate, but if it refers to the crowd-friendly menu, Basho nails it. You’ll find sushi, maki, and sashimi variations, plus tempura, meats cooked on a robata (open charcoal) grill, and a laundry list of hot and cold appetizers. Given the menu’s size, it’s impressive how good the food is.
Start with the apps – if you jump right into the sushi, you’ll be missing out. Chef Youji Iwakura, an alum of Ken Oringer’s Uni, earned kudos in his previous gig for his homemade tofu. It’s still excellent: cool and creamy with mushrooms, yuzu, and soy dashi. Black cod with yuzu miso (yes, yuzu is a theme here) would benefit from crisper skin, but the flavor is deep and zingy. Avoid the wan pork ramen soup, though.
The sushi list is overwhelming, but a safe bet is the “flavored sushi” – single pieces that range from $3.50 for cured saba sushi with apple-mustard soy to $13 for foie gras sushi with apple and sweet potato. All are finely tuned, and more delicate than the many crazy rolls, dragon rolls, and their ilk. There’s nothing wrong with those, but smaller bites leave room for robata-grilled chicken thighs and eggplant. (Skip the dry pork tenderloin.) And don’t miss the seared scallops with shiitake risotto and pine-nut brown-butter sauce. It’s smartly fusion-y – just like the restaurant itself.
Best of Boston 2010: Affordable Sushi
Surveying the city’s sushi bars, there’s a big distinction between “not expensive” and “cheap.” Douzo is a delight, with ultra-fresh fish and prices that stay weeknight low. The daily catch is rolled up in everything from spicy tuna maki for the mainstream crowd to more adventurous options like the seared yellowtail-wrapped Torch Roll with yuzu and black tobiko.
52 Restaurants, 52 Weeks
Douzo! Great Sushi in the Back Bay
Having done a first rate job of eating my way through the holidays, I wanted to go to a Sushi restaurant for my birthday dinner this past Thursday. Lauren and I have been to a couple of good ones, I would have loved to go back to Oishii, but we’re always on the lookout for something new, so… Lauren called O Ya (popular and expensive near South Station) and made a reservation and they asked for her credit card and said that if we didn’t cancel within 72 hours our reservation, they would charge her card $75.00!!! What? That’s over the top, so we canceled it ASAP!
I found Douzo in the Back Bay because they were named “2010 Best Affordable Sushi” by Boston Magazine. That’s just what we wanted; really good Sushi at a reasonable price, but definitely not cheap sushi (that sounds dangerous). Douzo has a very sleek, contemporary urban feel to it. The service was good, the sushi was terrific, but the desserts were just okay.
The sushi was beautifully presented. My photos didn’t do it justice, so you will have to use your imagination or go to their website www.douzosushi.com where there are photos of everything on the menu.For starters, we tried the Edamame with Kosher Salt and Lime, the Seaweed Salad, and Soft Shell Crab Tempura. Next we had three Maki Rolls: The Back Bay Roll (asparagus, cucumber, avacado, wrapped with seared tuna, touch of wasabi sauce), The Torch Roll (avacado, cucumber wrapped with seared yellow tuna and a touch of yuzo sauce and black tobiko), and the Red Spider Roll (soft shell crab wrapped with tuna, tobilo and a touch of unagi sauce). We also tried the Red Snapper Sushi from the Special Menu which was simple, but good. I think we all had our favorite, and they were all decicious and fresh. That’s my idea of a great meal for that January “blah and bloat” feeling! What’s next? Exercise?
Another great thing about Douzo is it’s central location right next to Back Bay Station and Copley Plaza and right next to 131 Dartmouth parking garage where you can park for up to four hours for $5.00- bargain!!! This is especially nice with all the snow flying around! Hope you get a chance to try it if you like Japanese food!
Coming up….I made a trip to Barbara Lynch’s Stir with a group of friends! Stay tuned it was really fun!
Bon Appetit and Happy New Year!
Robin and Lauren