Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sushi on Newbury

Sunday was our free day in Boston, after all the wedding shenanigans were over and done with. It was a great wedding, with gorgeous and meaningful ceremonies, excellent Indian food for supper, and a great reception (dancing! free wine! more dancing!) and after-party at a nearby hotel lounge, where we got to just sit and chat with the bride and groom, our friends, in a casual atmosphere. But by Sunday morning we were all feeling a little rough.

The answer, in my mind, to a day where one feels less than one's usual self, is always sushi. Fortunately, I had the foresight to look up a place where we might obtain some on Chowhound last week. After an hour or so of shopping at H&M and Bath and Body Works in the Downtown Crossing area, we walked through Boston Common and the Public Gardens to Newbury Street, the hippest, fanciest, most upscale shopping street in Boston. (Our friend K went into hip overload later that afternoon, from all the coolness surrounding her.)

Halfway between Clarendon and Dartmouth streets, nestled into the basement level of one of the old, gorgeous buildings on Newbury, is Shino Express. The canopy is black, with subdued white lettering. You'd blink and miss it if you weren't paying attention. But inside is another story - the cinderblock walls are painted bright orange and cream, with high counters and black barstools. The place is small, maybe seating fifteen people - we waited about five minutes for our seats up in the back corner. While we waited, the waiter brought us over a clipboard with their menu clipped to it, so we could order immediately.

The prices stunned us, so much so that we ordered way too much and ended up revising our tally before handing it over to the waiter. 6 piece california roll with flying fish roe? $3.80. 6 pieces of tuna or salmon roll? $2.50. Even the yellowtail rolls were $2.50. Nigiri were a buck apiece. We stuck with rolls and miso soup and were not disappointed. Everything was fresh and fairly well-made (a couple of my rolls did come apart a little, but that often happens anywhere I go) and tasted totally delicious. Both tuna and salmon were flavourful and not a bit slimy or mealy. California rolls were beautifully balanced, sweet and salty, crunchy and soft. Chris and K had avocado and cucumber rolls, and raved about them as well. The miso soup was amazing - a generous bowl of broth, not too salty, with large cubes of firm tofu and plenty of deep green seaweed and crunchy green onion.

All in, taxes and tip included, lunch for Chris and I came to $19. We drank only water, mind, but in my opinion it's the best thing to drink with sushi anyway. No competing flavours to dull the fish experience. Shino Express is going on my shortlist of must-visit places whenever I'm in Boston.

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