Raw fish never tasted so good: Succulent sushi bars in unexpected places

by Beacon Staff • February 14, 2007

Chinatown isn't the only place to find it, either.,When you think of seafood in Boston, the first thing to come to mind may be clams, oysters or lobster. But if you're looking for some other fishy flavors, sushi is a great alternative to the Hub's fresh shellfish.

Chinatown isn't the only place to find it, either.

If you're out enjoying the quaint shops in Brookline Village, try low-cost raw fish at Zen 320. Or head out for some higher-end shopping in the Copley Plaza Mall and treat yourself to the hip sushi bar Osushi. And Emerson's home base, the Theatre District, holds a hidden sushi bar within the Thai restaurant Montien.

Zen 320 320 washington st., Brookline

In a college town like Boston, restaurants are always trying to draw in the "poor" student crowd. Quality half-price sushi all the time may sound too good to be true. It is.

Zen 320, a small Korean/Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in Brookline Village, offers up cheap fare. Unfortunately, with cheaper prices comes cheaper quality.

The sushi at Zen 320 did not make the cut. The Boston hand roll (salmon, crab salad, scallion) was surprisingly strong considering salmon usually has a clean flavor. Keep in mind that sushi should never taste fishy.

Zen 320 does have a nice casual atmosphere, with the sushi bar set up in front as you walk in, and additional seating in the back. The restaurant's late hours are another plus. However, slow service, especially in such a small restaurant, is a complete turn off.

If sushi doesn't sound appetizing, there is plenty of other fare on the menu, including various Udons (Japanese noodle soups $9.95), Bim Bim Bam (mixed rice with Korean vegetables and choice of beef, seafood, kimchi or slices of raw fish $9.95-12.95) and Teriyaki (chicken, beef, salmon, shrimp, or baked fresh water eel $8.95-10.95).

Located at 320 Washington St. off of the D-Line at Brookline Village.

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 12-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sun. 5-10 p.m. Accepts all major credit cards. 617-566-7800.

Osushi 10 Huntington ave., boston

Osushi is quite possibly the hippest and best sushi bar in town. With seating for only about 50 people, the wait can be rather long, but with food this good, have a drink and sit awhile.

It's worth it.

The sake menu is outstanding, if the rice-based brew is in your repertoire. The maguro summer roll ($13) combined mango, tuna, cucumber, lettuce and a little rice paper wrapping.

The flavors were crisp, clean and perfectly paired with the mango, bringing out a slight sweetness. This sushi dish is served with an eel sauce that adds a great plum flavor into the mix.

Shumai is always a must, and these shrimp dumplings were doughy and delicious ($6). Sashimi was another treat with assorted slices of raw tuna, whitefish, salmon and ike (squid) for $16. This is a perfect dish to share and fill your taste buds with different flavors.

To finish off dinner, try the rice-paper dumplings filled with ice cream. The mango and strawberry hit the spot ($2 each). From the thin overhead lights and red and black d