Yoki Express [Cambridge, Porter Square]

Friends, we took one for the team here. After walking down to the Porter Square shopping area, we failed to determine whether we wanted to turn north towards Gustazo or south towards the Chalawan, and instead continued straight ahead to forge new ground at Yoki Express. This is the poke/ramen place that recently opened in the former Bruegger’s location. Now, we knew that the poke/ramen/sushi burrito menu might signify a jack of all trades and master of none. Still, it had been 74 degrees all day and some of us wanted poke which we regard as summer fare, and some of us wanted ramen which is usually a good January meal.

We had our sprouts with us and one got the chicken ramen, and one tried the pork. Both came out just warm, and I think were microwaved in the back. Lukewarm chicken broth is perfect for the kiddos but did not make my cut. The broth on all flavors of ramen is listed as chicken, and I suspect the use of a chicken bouillon paste. The pork was okay although not particularly flavorful, and the chicken was cubes of white meat. The noodles had no springy chew to them.

Poke, even ordered to stay, was served in disposable plastic bowls which is sadly common. We each did a make-your-own with one scoop of tuna and one of salmon. The fish was fine flavor-wise, but was cut too small in my opinion. Sauces were unusually vinegary- both the sriracha mayo, and the ponzu, leading to a vinaigrette salad-like feel. Toppings were… average. I don’t have too much to say about them, honestly, and I was disappointed in the lack of any crunchy noodles or fried lotus chips. The only crunch addition was some panko crumbs. Also, rice was room temperature.

Needless to say, this luke-warm review is not going to induce us or probably you to try this place. They have another location downtown- maybe they’re still dialing in their ingredients or something. A manager or owner was there and asked us how everything was as we left, and we told him fine because it seemed beside the point to express the shortcomings. Our only comment was to please put something other than styrofoam water cups out- is that even legal in Cambridge? To which he replied they’d run out of paper cups and picked them up at CVS. D’oh.

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Wow, you did indeed take one for the team. Sorry but thank you!

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This is a valuable data point for my theory that restaurants with “Factory” or “Express” in the name are inclined to suck.

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I think you could also add “Fusion” in the name as a marker of suckiness. Exhibit One: the late Fusion Express restaurant on Mass Ave must have been doubly bad. “We mix a bunch of cuisines together, and we do it super fast!”

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