Went here for lunch today. They opened last month, I think, and I'd heard from several friends that the food was good. We tried the tomato-lemongrass soup, dashi miso soup, veggie bruschetta, brussels sprouts tempura, steamed bun (pork belly), snow crab fritters, and pork confit.
Standouts were the miso soup and pork confit.I only had a taste of the miso soup but thought it had a lot of flavor - bonito and miso were well represented. Also really liked the pork confit, which came with bits of fried something (sorry, can't remember what it was and it's not listed on the online menu). I think it was pork belly and was just a tiny bit dry, but still tender. Nice and salty but not in an overpowering way. My quibble was that you only got two small pieces of pork, I would have liked more.
I didn't get to taste the pork bun (only one per order) but my DC enjoyed it very much. Interesting that the server told her that it should be eaten quickly or the bread would get hard when it cooled....? Was the bun microwaved instead of steamed?
The tomato lemongrass soup with daikon was spicy, as advertised. One DC couldn't eat hers but I made it through my bowl. I asked the server what kind of chilies were in it & he checked with the chef: red curry paste. Oh yes, that flavor note is shrimp paste, isn't it. I didn't get much tomato flavor and the shredded daikon was difficult to eat and didn't contribute much flavor, IMO.
Tempura brussels sprouts: can't make up my mind about these. They were cooked well, not underdone, and the batter was crispy. Served with a spicy ketchup (but not that spicy - it took my mouth quite a while to recover from the soup, I couldn't taste the heat in that sauce until the meal was almost over). Both DC's liked them very much. I think battered brussels sprouts just isn't my thing.
Veggie bruschetta was not bad, but not terribly interesting. Half of a French roll with some veggies, shredded cheese, and something creamy - Japanese mayo, maybe?
Snow crab fritters, both DCs loved them but I thought they had an off flavor.
We didn't try the cocktails - Yelp reviews seem to complain that the cocktails aren't strong enough, lol. I had a Japanese white beer & DCs also had wine or beer. They have a full bar and, I think, a nice selections of beer, wine, and whatnot.
We were the only table at lunch, until some of my neighbors came in. (They had the brussels sprouts, fish tempura & frites, and fried oysters, and said that they ejoyed it all). I hope they are busier at dinner time.
The space was most recently a Mexican restaurant. We'd gone there a few times in that incarnation. The booths under the window are gone and now it's all tables, with a row of bench seating along one wall. Stone-facade wall and bar. It's a nice space.
I do want to go back for dinner, they have some additional things on that menu that i'd like to try (tuna poke, hamachi sashimi). The owners are locals so I'm rooting for them. The location is a little tough - hard to find parking sometimes, you need to find a side street. But, they are RIGHT next to the Malden Center T stop, so if you are coming in on the Orange line its very easy to get to.