Impeccable — not adventurous — sushi
ON A ROLL: The Dice-K roll (front) isn’t bad, but the Phoenix roll is a real ace.
|Haru | 617.536.0770 | 55 Huntington Avenue, Boston | Open Sun and Mon, 11:30 am–11 pm; and Tues–Sat, 11:30 am–Midnight | AE, DC, DI, MC, VI | Full bar | No valet parking | Street-level access|
Since this spot was last seen as a Dick’s Last Resort, and Dick found a better spot at Quincy Market, you have to wonder who would resort to fixing up its vacated digs, oddly located under and outside the Shops at Prudential Center. The answer turns out to be the Benihana company, still slicing away at about 80 teppanyaki palaces on five continents. They’re also the owners of two sushi chains, including eight locations of Haru, which originated as an upscale sushi joint in New York. Now that we Bostonians have O Ya and the South End’s Oishii, Haru is not a New York–upscale sushi place to us. It’s a large, beautiful restaurant with very good service from which one can order impeccable if somewhat expensive sushi, and choose from a very good list of cold sakes. But it isn’t particularly adventurous.
The room has the same exposed black ceiling as when this was Dick’s Last Resort, but now there are hanging white panels, so the feel is Japanese postmodern rather than industrial. And the sound is bearable rather than, well, what you’d expect to hear coming from this space’s previous tenant. White scrims let in an abstraction of the street scene. Inside, cherry-wood tables float on a striped sea-green rug, echoed on the green-striped square chargers. The sound is techno.
Familiar appetizers are redone nicely. The “spinach sesame” ($5) is mixed with a thick sesame sauce that tastes like the usual dish, only better. Shrimp-and-vegetable tempura ($9.50) is dry-fried and served crisp and hot. Grilled garlic shrimp ($12) was my favorite: six large shrimp with real barbecue flavor and a heap of thick cellophane noodles to diffuse it. The disappointment was black cod miso ($13). Black cod is sablefish, one of the richest of all filets. Our small chunk wasn’t perfectly fresh, and it didn’t have enough miso flavoring to cut the richness.
Much of the menu is novel rolled sushi. No sushi bar can open in Boston without a Dice-K roll ($18) on the menu. But no one has actually determined what kind of sushi, if any, the Red Sox pitcher prefers, so most of the versions named for him have a red element. Haru’s Dice-K roll starts with red-and-white spiced tuna and plays off avocado richness and a coat of mango. Why the edible gold leaf on top? I guess it just symbolizes the big contract, because it has no flavor. Slices are topped with red and green (monster, perhaps?) tobiko caviar — that would seem to be the Sox reference. It’s not a bad maki: call it 15-12 with an ERA of 4.40.
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