Cafe Europa, Brookline
The borscht soup isn't as hearty or as flavour-rich as I'd hoped. Decent vegetable notes, but no major beetiness. The beef turnover on the side was awesome though.
Great vareniki filled with evenly pureed potato. Firm dumpling dough, cooked just right. Enjoyable topping of mushrooms and sauteed onions, along with the ominpresent sour cream.
Stuffed cabbage comes across just fine, even though the centre of the smooth beef and rice filling still had a touch of chill, perhaps due to incomplete re-heating. Still the cabbage was cooked to the right texture, and the satisfying tomatgo sauce came nicely dill-fragrant.
Mei Tei, Back Bay, Boston
Nothing special about the omelette with the special sauce over rice, although a dash of the chilli powder made it infinitely more interesting. Same magic dash was required for the yasai ramen, the "wild vegetables" turning out to be a rather domesticated group of cabbage, green onion, bean sprouts, (faintly fishy) wakame seaweed and corn. Noodles themselves aren't bad, just slightly above pedestrian. A reasonable broth, with little to write about.
Sakurabana, Financial District, Boston
Enjoyable seaweed salad, harmonizing good notes from soy sauce, sesame oil and seeds, and a tiny pinch of chilli heat.
Sansai (mountain vegetables) with thorougly cooked ika (squid) might not have the gentlest touch on the squid, but it's a good flavour combination and the soft squid still had some margin of softness before one could pronounce it mushy.
Yakitori with a cloak of teriyaki sauce is a miss, the chicken somewhat tough and lacking moisture, the sauce simple and slightly mellow, but doing little to rescue the chicken.
A side of pickles was quite pleasant, tangy and sweet and colourful, with different kinds of crunch.
Hamachi kama was nice, the good fish got my jaws working. The fried fin needed extra hot frying: the tips were crunchy but was tough and inedible closer to the base.
Schwarma King, Brookline
A well constructed falafel sandwich, juxtaposing the earthy, aromatic, granular falafel with pickles and parsley and good dabs of tahini. The falafels themselves were generally better than satisfactory, but they lacked the lacy crispness of fresh fried ones, possibly because they were fried and stacked behind the counter beforehand.