Boston Eats: Genki-Ya @ Brookline

As some may know, I am a huge fan of Japanese food – especially maki rolls. I had planned on paying Genki-Ya a visit for a while now, especially after seeing the raving reviews on Yelp. The day finally came when I decided to make the trip to Coolidge Corner to catch a screening of The Royal Affair at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Since the movie was at 3:15pm, there was more than enough time to have lunch at the nearby Genki-Ya before the screening.

At Genki-Ya, there is a lunch special for three maki rolls ($14.50). You can also have the two-maki-roll lunch special for $11. I obviously pounced on the three-maki-roll deal because firstly, it’s better value, and obviously one can never have too much sushi, right? [By the way, lunch specials come with a miso soup and a side salad too!]

Genki-Ya is a small Japanese restaurant run by Chinese people (they spoke Chinese) who knew what they were doing. It is an organic restaurant, and prides itself with giving customers the option of having brown sushi rice and multi-grain sushi rice instead of the regular white (for an extra 50c per roll.) The maki options are plentiful and it took me quite a while to decide which three I was going to devour that day. There were some interesting combinations that included bananas and sweet potato tempura, but I’m much more a meat person, so I went in that direction.

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Miso Soup: The miso soup here is light and flavorful, with numerous chunks of tofu, a hearty helping of kombu (dried kelp) [I love kombu] and several stalks of enoki mushrooms. It arrived almost instantly (faster than you could have read the previous sentence) and was warm and pleasing. Definitely a welcome from the bitter cold outside!

Side Salad: Their side salad is not your regular iceberg salad. There was a cherry tomato, slice of cucumber, baby spinach and some other greens too. The dressing was absolutely delightful – creamy, but not heavy or overpowering. It was so good that I had two of these instead of one. (Yup, glutton speaking!)

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Crazy Roll: Shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, flying fish roe and spicy mayo inside (roll on top.) To be honest, I really wanted to like this roll. Shrimp tempuras usually give a nice crunch to the regular maki roll, but unfortunately, this one didn’t quite. Maybe the panko bread crumbs didn’t stick as well, or maybe I had a bad day, but I wanted more texture from a tempura roll. Overall, I felt this roll was a little drier than I would have liked too.

Fashion Roll: Fresh water eel, avocado, cucumber and cream cheese inside (roll on the right.) I love eel, and I like this roll because it had a ton of eel sauce smothered on top of it. There could have been a larger piece of eel in it (it was rather small and puny,  more skin than flesh), but I liked the overall blend of flavors in my mouth. Surprising as it sounds, I liked the cream cheese in this as it gave a deeper aftertaste that complimented the eel.

Salmon Avocado Roll: Salmon and avocado inside (roll on the left.) My favorite roll of the three. A good hunk of fresh salmon, and a good  hunk of creamy avocado. I really didn’t want or need more than that. It was perfect.

Overall, I really enjoyed my lunch at Genki-Ya. Yes, I ate all three of my maki rolls. I just love maki rolls and I have a big enough tummy to do so. I feel no guilt as I know sushi is as healthy as it gets (shush you, carbo-haters!) Would I come back again? Yes, in a heartbeat!

If anyone was wondering, I didn’t get to watch The Royal Affair because it was sold-out. Of course, why would anyone screen a brand new movie in a 14-seat theater?

Genki-Ya
Address: 398 Harvard St, Brookline MA 02446
Telephone: 617-277-3100
Hours: M-Th | 11.30am – 10.30pm
F-Sa | 11.30am – 11pm
Su | 12nn – 10pm
Price Range: $$ ($10-$20 per person)
Overall: I’ll be back!

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