Lunch, Anyone? GinGa
Fresh sushi, close by
My biggest gripe about eating sushi is that I’m often still hungry at the end of the meal. My other complaint is the cost: my love of tempura rolls and tekka maki often leaves me with a big bill.
So when a friend raved about the inventive rolls, large portions, and reasonable prices at GinGa, on Beacon Street in Coolidge Corner, I decided I had to check it out.
Open for lunch and dinner, the small Japanese restaurant rolled its first Makimono in 2008. While it specializes in sushi, it also serves other traditional Japanese dishes, like chicken or shrimp teriyaki ($9.95) and tempura udon soup ($9.95).
Recently, a group of friends and I decided to sample GinGa’s lunch offerings. At first glance, the menu is a blur of choices, boasting more than 35 different rolls. I usually order some form of Makimono, the traditional rolled sushi—white rice on the outside, filled with seaweed and fish. GinGa’s Makimono is priced from $3.95 for a simple cucumber roll to $18.95 for the most elaborate—the Rt. 66 Big Maki, which comes with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, crab stick, avocado, cucumber, fish roe, and deep-fried cream cheese, layered with rice and hokkaiyaki (sea scallop) on top.
I ordered the Crazy Makimono ($7.25)—shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, and fish roe, usually served with spicy mayonnaise. Since I’m not a fan of the mayonnaise, the chefs were happy to customize the dish. I also ordered the tekka (tuna) Makimono ($4.95) and sake sushi ($4.75), which consists of fresh salmon pieces on top of rice, and a drop of hot wasabi in the middle. There was plenty of fresh fish in my rolls and the flavors were distinct.
Others in our party ordered the popular California Makimono roll ($7.25), which came filled with crab stick, cucumber, avocado, and fish roe. The more adventurous in our group tried the B-52 Makimono ($10.50), a roll stuffed with cucumber, avocado, scallion, yellowtail, kanikama (crab stick), and tobiko, with eel sauce on top.
Several people opted for the lunch special, served daily until 3 p.m. With several versions to choose from, I’d suggest the $11.50 special, which includes three Makimono rolls, as well as miso soup and a fresh salad, served with a creamy ginger dressing.
The bento box (above), at $14.95, is a great deal, served with white rice, large pieces of shrimp tempura, salad, two different types of sashimi (fresh chunks of raw fish), teriyaki chicken, and fried scallops.
Because our group of eight ordered so much food, we received a free appetizer for the table (above), comprising tuna, salmon, tobiko, egg, cucumber, and onions, topped with a few of their sauces. It was delicious.
GinGa’s seating area is bright, with lots of natural light flooding in from the storefront windows and skylight above. Tables line the walls and a small sushi bar seats four. Because the restaurant accommodates only about 20 people, it’s advisable to call ahead for a reservation during peak hours.
I’d recommend nabbing a seat at the bar if you can. It affords a great view of the chefs as they slice salmon and tuna and roll up the fish and other ingredients in seaweed wrappers and fish roe. The GinGa chefs are happy to talk about what fish is the freshest and can tackle any sushi query.
The restaurant was packed when we visited, but our waiter never forgot to top off our waters and green tea—always a good sign. GinGa also serves soda, beer, wine, and sake.
I’m happy to say that this was one sushi meal where we all stumbled home stuffed and happy.
GinGa, 1393 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02446, is accessible via public transportation; take the T’s Green Line C trolley to the Summit Ave. stop. Hours are Monday and Tuesday, 4 to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Phone: 617-278-1688. GinGa takes all major credit cards. The menu can be found online.
This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the comments section below. Check out our list of lunchtime tips on Foursquare.
Amy Laskowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments