Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Karma Review

I had lunch today at Karma in Westford, Mass.

In brief: eat there. Eat there soon.

In detail: The atmosphere was definitely like the fusion it serves. There's a vague Asian feel, but nothing obviously Chinese or Japanese. The music in the background is weird old-skool American rock/pop, but mellow enough that it does, somehow, work.

The sushi prices are comparable to any area Japanese restaurant. For two pieces of albacore sushi ($5.00), a roll of spicy maguro maki ($6.00, I think), and a bowl of miso soup ($2.50), I paid a total of $17.70 (including a generous tip for the impeccable service). My two friends ordered combination meals, and got an even better deal. I don't recall all the details of their options, but they had big bento boxes full of food -- and it even included three pieces of maki, salad, chicken fingers, and lo mein! They paid about $9.00 before tax and tip. (I had my heart set on sushi; otherwise I would have joined in on this!)

The miso soup was warm enough and pretty good, but it was missing something. Perhaps it was a bit too bland. Next time, I would skip it entirely (and get edamame instead?!) or try a different soup. The leafy greens were a bit too large and were rather awkward to eat. I did enjoy the plentiful scallions, but they did not offer enough flavor to make up for the missing oomph.

I've only had albacore sushi once at Sakura in Chelmsford. I immediately craved more. At Karma, the albacore was a bit stringy and not nearly as melt-in-your-mouth tender as Sakura's. Having only ever had plain sushi, these two pieces had an unexpected layer of wasabi between the fish and rice, and it was all drizzled in a tasty vinegary sauce. (I asked the waiter about it; he called it "panzo sauce.") It was very good, but it took away from the albacore. I would tolerate it again on theirs, but Sakura's would never need it.

The spicy maguro (red tuna) maki was the best I've ever had, and I will return just to make sure my husband tries it. The piece of tuna is generous, but there's still plenty of room inside the sesame-sprinkled rice for avocado, something just crunchy enough, and the right amount of spicy mayo with little orange eggs mixed in. I should have counted, but I think there were about ten little bite-size rolls, the perfect amount to avoid both over-stuffing and disappointment.

I left Karma intensely satisfied and eager to return.

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