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Yoshi’s: Powderhouse Square’s Answer to Tasty Japanese Cuisine

“I looooove Yoshi’s!”

A group of Tufts students sat on the other end of the restaurant, settling their check as the dinner crowd started streaming into the College Ave. establishment. The girl who expressed her ardent amour could have been gushing about the 10% student discount, but judging by the delicious food, the love probably began when their first bento set appeared.

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Yoshi’s sells both Japanese and Korean dishes in a cozy set-up, where patrons can survey their fellow diners, unless they’re sitting at the bar and watching baseball. While the emphasis is decidedly on Japanese cuisine, the handful of Korean offerings (e.g. bibimbap, jjigae and bulgogi) do not feel like a half-hearted attempt to expand an already extensive menu, and are very tasty as well. And with dinner bento sets that combine Japanese sashimi with Korean spicy pork bulgogi (in addition to feeding you rice, miso soup, salad and tempura vegetables), you don’t have to crack your head deciding between the two East Asian cuisines. That said, Japanese and Korean cuisines are obviously different, and as a result, the bento set acquires a flavor profile that may be contradictory to some, and happily complementary to others.

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When I eat at Yoshi’s, I like to order maki, because they’re slightly cheaper than other places like Taipei Tokyo, and it’s always fun to share interesting creations. Don’t be put off by names like “Green Lava Maki” or “Red Sox Maki” (if you’re with the Yankees); go ahead and examine the ingredients and method of preparation, and hit the jackpot with combinations that cater specifically to your tastes. Order the “Love Maki” to make a statement (may it be reciprocated), or order the rice-less Naruto rolls (to recall your favorite manga ninja and consume fewer carbs). Whatever it is, Yoshi’s will probably not disappoint.

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Another factor contributing to the comfortable atmosphere of Yoshi’s was the attentive and friendly customer service. Our server took the initiative to inform us about the student discount, and was very helpful in answering any questions about the menu items.

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Two final things about the food of Yoshi’s. First, the raw fish is more fresh than not, and will likely be the best value for the money, at least among Japanese places close to Tufts. To bring back the bento sets, you could get 6 slices of salmon, tuna and yellowtail, AND bulgogi, AND the aforementioned assorted supplements, all for $15.95! Which is a pretty good deal, considering the pricing trends of Japanese dishes in Boston. Go for lunch and you get an even better deal; the bento boxes are almost as big, come with many varieties of food, and are unbeatably priced ($7.95 – $8.50)!

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I’ve tried the spicy pork bulgogi and the kimchi jjigae on separate occasions, and while they were delicious pork and kimchi dishes, they weren’t as authentic as one might hope. I haven’t tried all of the Korean entrées, so perhaps this might be different for the bibimbap. For those that say Chinese-owned Yoshi’s isn’t authentic Japanese food, it depends on how you define authentic. Sure, many of their creations are “Americanized,” and aren’t things you’re likely to find in Japan–but the ingredients are fresh and the taste is great! Plus, it’s hard the beat the convenient location and reasonable delivery options.

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Yoshi’s is open from 11:30am — 10pm Monday through Saturday and 12:30pm-10pm Sunday. It also delivers with a $10 minimum order, and caters for events with up to 100 people.

Ambiance: B+

Service: A-

Food (taste): A-

Food (presentation): B+

Price: $16/person

Overall: B+

-Min Yi Tan

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