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Eats and Drinks

Best Japanese Restaurant

Matsuri

Posted 9/18/1996

Japanese food is one of the most drama-queeny cuisines on the planet. If you’re not having your food sliced and tossed at you by some knife-juggling, griddle-banging, show-off steakhouse chef, you’re being pulled towards a pageant of austere ritual, bidden to remove your shoes and contemplate a few koto pieces while you wait for your artistically arranged eats to arrive. It’s dinner and a show, all in one sitting.

Good Japanese food is good either way, and either extreme of presentation allows for enjoyment and enlightenment on top of your full stomach. But sometimes we just want good food done well and handed over with a minimum of to-do in a comfortable environment. And for that, we go to Matsuri.

Matsuri is a bright, calm blond-wood haven at the bustling corner of Cross and Charles streets. The place is artfully decorated in a way that feels more like a Japanese version of a diner than like an art gallery or an imperial banquet hall. The staff is friendly and professional, and the place is small enough that you can see them and they can see you at all times, which helps the intimacy factor and the service. It’s the kind of place where you’ll want to linger, but you’ll get going because someone else will want your table sooner or later.

It’s easy to understand why, given the simple but stellar quality of Matsuri’s food. In addition to an excellent sushi bar (no need to gild the lily—“excellent” will do), the menu focuses on staple noodle dishes done with a flair so unassuming that it doesn’t hit you at first. But every strand of noodle is succulent, every purple-pink bud of octopus tentacle is plump and done to a T, every other ingredient is fresh, toothsome, and present in just the right proportion. A relaxed atmosphere and wonderful food—and it’s cheap too.

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Other Awards for Best Japanese Restaurant:

Matsuri, 9/19/2007

Matsuri, 9/20/2006

Matsuri, 9/22/2004

Kawasaki, 9/17/2003

Matsuri, 9/18/2002

Sushi Hana, 9/19/2001

Edo Sushi, 9/13/2000

Matsuri, 9/15/1999

Sushi Ya, 9/17/1997

All Awards for Matsuri:

Best Japanese Restaurant, 9/19/2007

Best Japanese Restaurant, 9/20/2006

Best Sushi, 9/20/2006

Best Japanese Restaurant, 9/22/2004

Best Japanese Restaurant, 9/18/2002

Best Japanese Restaurant, 9/15/1999

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