Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Asian Restaurant in Arlington

On Sunday, we rode from Lexington to Arlington (on bikes! still getting in shape!). We thought we'd have dinner. And although we're still missing Viet's Cafe (great bowls of pho and noodles--a particular favorite of my visiting parents), we were not disappointed by the new Chinese-Japanese restaurant that's taken the cafe's old space.

It's called Mifune (which would seem to give Japanese food pride of place, Toshiro Mifune being one of Japan's most celebrated actors). But both sides of the extensive menu are worth trying. My grilled salmon with ginger and scallion sauce (a Chinese entree) was tasty and well-prepared, arriving beautifully presented with orchid buds decorating the plate, while my sushi order of a tuna and avocado roll was delicious. My husband and son gave the ol' thumbs up to their crispy aromatic beef and pan fried noodles, as well as their individual sushi orders. The hot-and-sour soup--so useful for my still-suffering sinuses--held its own against the many versions I've had in my life.

The renovated space is brighter and bigger--they knocked down the wall that used to provide a separate seating area at Viet's--and upgraded the restrooms. Service was attentive but not hovering, and the presention of the food, as I mentioned, quite elegant. (As a bonus, if you get there this week by May 31, all meals are 20 percent off as a pre-grand-opening special, but that's just gravy.)

Despite the oddness of the pairing of cuisines--Japan and China have a terrible shared history going back hundreds of years and you might not think it's a natural combination--you see these kinds of restaurants popping up everywhere. And I like many of them: Bamboo in Burlington, Sato in Waltham (my husband's favorite). Mifune more than holds its own and is conveniently located a few hundred yards off the Minuteman Bike Trail in Arlington Center. We'll definitely be back. (Still riding! Still getting fit!)


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