By Katie Doyle, Food Editor
While exploring the city’s culinary scene, I sometimes forget about the dining gems that lie within Boston University’s campus. Because seafood has never had a place in my diet, it wasn’t until recently that I gave Kenmore Square’s Fin’s Japanese Sushi and Grill a second glance.
I had never eaten any sort of sushi before I came to college, so I was hesitant to try Fin’s. I’m not always a fan of Japanese food, but given that Fin’s is so close to campus, I couldn’t find a reason not to try it.
Ultimately, I’m glad I did. The restaurant’s motto—serving “a married of classic and contemporary style of Japanese cooking method to create a truly modern Japanese cuisine”—is reflected even in the ambiance. Upon entry, Fin’s feels more like a swanky lounge than a seafood restaurant. The restaurant is awash in darkness with futuristic light panels adorning the minimalistic, yet modern exposed-beam design.
Despite Fin’s urban elegance, it’s still a relatively casual establishment. It’s a place you can stop in on your way back from the library, backpack in tow. That’s just what I found so refreshing about the restaurant: It is imbued with a vibe that is sophisticated but not stuffy, chic but not stuck-up. Clearly, there’s an awareness that although it resides in Kenmore Square, the heart of Boston, it’s also very much in the heart of a college campus.
Of course, just because a restaurant is a nice place to be, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a nice to place to eat. Fortunately, Fin’s proved to be both. Although seafood is a pillar of Japanese cuisine, Fin’s menu was very vegetarian-friendly, and as ironic as it might sound, it’s quite possible to have a delicious fish-free meal at Fin’s.
The miso soup, which cost a measly $1.95, turned out to be a good way to begin my vegetarian venture at Fin’s. The soup came out steaming and was a welcome contrast to the cold, dreary weather outside. It was the perfect balance among the flavors of soy, barley and seaweed. Cubes of tofu added substance to the soup, although miso itself is already rich in vitamins and high in protein.
The steamed edamame, for just $4.50, is another appetizer option for herbivores. The crunchy green soybeans were , lightly salted and served as a nice contrast in texture and in flavor to the miso soup, providing a refreshing but tasty break between soup and sushi.
Although Fin’s sushi and sashimi is largely fish-based, there were a few vegetarian options. I settled on the grilled vegetable roll for $4.50, and I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it turned out to be. The chefs at Fin’s were exceedingly generous with vegetables, packing the sushi roll with cucumbers, carrots, sprouts and lettuce. The saltiness of the fresh seaweed wrapping complemented the vegetables and a dash of soy sauce sent all of the flavors into harmony.
I ordered the spicy kimchi fried rice, and although at $7.95 it was priced slightly higher than the other option, I received a huge portion that seemed about to burst off my plate, making it perfect for leftovers.
The dish was piled high with fried rice, vegetables and kimchi, which happens to be the national dish of Korea. Usually made with cabbage, kimchi’s spice comes from chili peppers, but it also has a “sweet and sour” flavor that worked well with the rest of the dish. I asked for the meal to be made without eggs and fish oil, which tend to be used in many fried rice dishes.
The meal was a definite success, even among the omnivores I went out to eat with. Fin’s innovative take on serving Japanese fare proved satisfying, even from a herbivore’s perspective. Although Asian food still isn’t my favorite type of cuisine, Fin’s might just have me sold.