Just had a face-in-palms bad dinner at Nori Sushi on Harvard St in Brookline. The service and food was total overpriced hack crap.
A list of grievances:
- Overly ambitious menu is just too damn long. Including chawanmushi and yakitori on the menu with sushi screams "help, I'm confused about how to run a restaurant." An entire page of maki options is cute, but worthless if they can't even get nigiri right (which they can't).
- Fish is the least-fresh I've had outside of a supermarket. On a Saturday night, most fish should be of at least moderate freshness, especially with what appears to be solid turnover (the place was at least 50% full the whole time I was there). Mackrel, snapper, and yellowtail: highly fishy and rough. All fish was quite visually appealing, but it all looked way better than it tasted. Big slabs of sashimi were tangy and funky with age. Nigiri was chewy and dry. I had a couple pieces of uncooked rice in one piece of nigiri. Eel, which comes frozen (already cooked and sauced) at pretty much every sushi place around here, was treated poorly after thawing such that it was extremely mushy, and almost gelatin-like. Small maki were poorly-formed (falling apart) and had bits of rice sloppily left sticking to the outside.
- Prices are outrageous for such unpleasant food. The menu currently available online has been updated, and the prices altered slightly. A piece of hamachi, toro, or sake nigiri runs about $3.
- A sake carafe was designed such that it held a reservoir of ice, but i couldn't pour out the last glass of sake without spilling melted ice all over the table.
- Service was unpleasant. Our waiter frequently had trouble understanding our orders and replied with a rude "WHAT?" to clarify. After we ordered sushi and sashimi plates, the waiter returned to ask us if we wanted the soup and salad that came with the plates. Well, why wouldn't we? Ridiculous. The server who presided over our table after we began eating was even worse. On one occasion, she came up to one side of the table with a dish; when I signaled that I wanted the dish placed on the other side, she simply held it out over the table until someone offered to take it and place it over there for her. She then constantly hovered, removing plates as soon as they were finished (at some points returning every 30 seconds or so to remove a single plate).
Also, the chefs speak Cantonese. I don't really care about this personally, but you may find it important.