For an area not synonymous with sushi, there are a whole lot of Japanese restaurants in the Newton area, specifically near the wave pool. Think of it, there is Akashi-Ya, Kyoto, Minake, Toyko Sushi Express, Sushi Line, Tokyo Ken and Momoyama within a 2 block radius of each other. Now quantity cannot be used as a substitute for quality. With that in mind, we have to be reasonable as well. Of course we aren't going to get the very best sushi out here and neither should we expect it. There could be the hidden gem or the odd out-of-the-way restaurant that could buck this trend; but believe me, this isn't the case since I've been to almost all of them. Yes, there are 3 that I haven't tried, one being Toyko Sushi Express (but I did try their other location), Momoyama and Minake. So without further ado, the next up in the Newton sushi experience is Minake...
Hidden behind the movie theatres within the same complex as Safeway, this little Japanese restaurant is pretty utilitarian. No fancy exterior, no trendy decor and no long sushi bar. It's functional, that's about it. Now, for such a minimalistic place, you'd expect the prices to be cheap. However, I found that wasn't so. In fact, it was getting a bit on the pricier end of things. It got me thinking the food better be good! For me, the only way to sample a wide variety of items was to order their largest combo being the Bento Box E. For a hefty $18.95, it included Miso Soup, Ebi Sunomono, Double Real Crab Dynamite Roll, 2 pcs Sashimi, 2 pcs of Nigiri, Tempura and Shrimp Kushi. Other than the Miso Soup, the meal started with an Ebi Sunomono. This was very well done. The vermicelli had a nice snap, temperature was right and flavourwise, it was tangy, tart and sweet. Textbook sunomono. The tuna and salmon Sashimi was pretty good with sweetness and fresh texture. The nigiri was fine; yet the fish to rice ratio was completely off. The piece of tuna atop the rice was so thin, it could pass off as carpaccio. The rice itself was a tad on the dry side.
As for the Real Crab Double Dynamite Roll, it was very large. They didn't skimp on the crab meat; but for me, I find that it usually gets lost. The roll itself was also fine; yet difficult to eat since it was both big and dry. Even with soy and wasabi, I was having a difficult time chewing and swallowing. Despite this, the roll itself was still acceptable. The ebi tempura was crispy and warm while the cucumber was fresh and crunchy. The Assorted Tempura was very crunchy. The Ebi was curiously shaped like something you'd find at a North American restaurant, it almost seemed butterflied. However, it ended up to be very good, so no harm, no foul. I liked how the tempura batter wasn't too thick.
The Ebi Kushi wasn't something I cared much for. With 2 really small shrimp and even smaller pieces of scallop, it was very much the afterthought of the box. Completely overcooked, dry and difficult to remove off the skewer, this should be removed from the combo. Well, that was probably the only bad thing about the combo. As a whole, the food was decent, if not on the pricier side. My order took quite a long time to arrive considering there was only one other table. It's probably a mom and pop operation. Nothing to write home about; but fine considering the location.
- Friendly owner operator
- Decent food
- A bit pricey
- Curiously, some items were very skimpy