Boston Eats: Ponzu Restaurant @ Waltham

When we first moved to Waltham some many years ago, we heard that Ponzu was the best Asian restaurant in town. We never visited for some reason, but decided that it was finally time when there was a Groupon for half off at Ponzu. I was really excited when I first bought the Groupon, though this excitement really quickly became disappointment. The food at Ponzu was far below average, and the service was just meh. Saying I was a little sad about this realization is a gross understatement.

The place tries to promote itself as an Asian tapas bar, but that is really just a fancy term for a regular subpar Asian restaurant. Big plates and small plates? Mains, appetizer and sides.

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Here’s what the Ponzu bar looks like. The lighting and decor of the place was just strange. It was dark, which explains all the grainy pictures to follow. I’m sure it was just trying to be cool and ambient with the lighting, but the cheap chairs and tables just couldn’t pull that look off. It was weird in a negative way.

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Ponzu Appetizer Platter – $10.95: The ponzu appetizer platter comes with wasabi pork dumplings, steamed veggie dumplings, shrimp shumai, pork gyoza and shrimp tempura. The fried pork gyoza and shrimp tempura were pretty good. They were lightly fried and crispy when they came out. Unfortunately, everything else on the plate was bad. The shrimp shumai did not seem to have any shrimp at all; it also tasted and looked like it was made from pink goo. *eek* The veggie dumpling and wasabi pork dumplings were the most disgusting dumplings I have ever had. It is such a shame that they even dared to call it a dumpling! There was hardly any filling, and the fillings were indistinguishable from stewed newspaper pulp. Definitely not eating that again, even if you paid me. Yuck! Overall, I will never eat this again. Nope.

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Roti Prata (Indian Bread) with Curried Chicken and Potato – $4.75: As someone who grew up eating roti prata, I have to say that this is the farthest stretch of that dish that I have ever tried. Firstly, as you can see in the photo, there was no chicken in my curry, and there were three teeny tiny cubes of potato. I’m talking 1cm by 1cm cubes. How one can call that a chicken and potato curry really escapes me. Are you saying that you used chicken stock in your curry!? Also, the curry was incredibly sweet; so sweet that you can really call it curry dessert. I know that we eat roti prata with curry and sugar, but really? You put your sugar in the curry? Nope! Last but not least, the roti prata was such a cop out that I have to refer to it as a ‘roti prata‘. I’m no roti prata connoisseur, but I do know that little piece of bread was from a frozen packet and heated on the stove. Not only that, you cooked it that morning and left it in a pile and heated it up in a microwave when I ordered it. It was dry, and took a large amount of effort to cut with a knife. For $4.75, you should have given me a freshly-made piece of roti prata like at Penang (a good Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant in Boston.) Fuck this shit!

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Godzilla Roll – $10.95: Best thing in on our table so far. I was a little disappointed that it was deep fried because I don’t remember it saying so on the menu. Nonetheless, a pretty decent maki roll. I was expecting more for that price, but at least it didn’t taste horrible.

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Caribbean Curried Lamb with Coconut Rice – $15.95: The barely-average-and-not-worth-your-money dish of the day. What you see is exactly what we got. The portions were tiny and there was hardly any gravy given. The lamb could have been a lot more tender if they had taken the time to stew it a little longer. Overall, it was on the verge of being bad, but is better than both the appetizers.

Ponzu Restaurant
Address: 286 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02451
Telephone: (781)736-9188
Hours: Daily, 11am – 10pm
Price Range: $$$ ($20-$30 per person)
Overall: Will not come back!

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