Wafu-Ya [MA, Cambridge, Porter Square]

Wafu-Ya is in the old Blue Fin space in the Porter Square shopping center (home to the alley that houses Sapporo Ramen, Cafe Mami, etc.). We were long time eaters at Blue Fin – even through its later, lesser incarnations – so were wondering what Wafu Ya would be like.

On the evidence of about 10 visits, we’re cautiously optimistic. Their lunch sets (but not dinner) are very good value at around $12–15, with a main dish (broiled salmon, e.g.), and several accompaniments. I particularly like the cleanly-fried, crunchy tempura. It’s a more ambitious menu than Blue Fin’s, with a small submenu of skewers (fried and grilled), and interesting specials (a bunch of different fish collars on one occasion). Their sushi menu supplements the old standards with interesting daily additions (ayu [sweetfish], and ishi dai [knife jaw], last week, for example).

It’s very well worth checking out, although the service skews to the sweet-but-inefficient.

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Nobody wants to talk to me on this thread, so I shall talk to myself. (Better than playing with … but let’s not go there on this family site.)

We’ve eaten at Wafu-Ya on multiple occasions since I last posted and I continue to to be cautiously optimistic, but not wildly so. They can serve limp tatsuta age alongside cleanly fried, lightly crusted, wonderfully crisp vegetable tempura, and a terrific pumpkin brûlée (the surface a thin, glass sheet of caramel, the innards deeply pumpkiny).

But the dealmaker, in my case, was the absolutely fantastic, lightly-battered shrimp head they served me a couple of days ago, with no advance trumpets, next to my sushi (which had tuna and fatty tuna, salmon and fatty salmon, horse mackerel, and sweet shrimp among other delights). Several forelegs, delicate whiskers of pure crunch, were attached, and the shell, with eyes and all, was shatteringly thin around a creamy inside of shrimp brain (or shrimp something).

[I’m actually an intellectual vegetarian, and a constitutional vegan – my god, the stories I could tell of my lactose intolerance – but I see that as no reason not to eat brains, or good ham, or cheese.]

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Haven’t been over that way in a long time, so thank you for this great report.

A few days ago, the fried skewer sampler at Wafu-Ya had lovely quail eggs on one skewer, the whites just set, the yolks creamy.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold