Imari Fusion Restaurant (CLOSED)
14 Thompson Street, Winchester, MA 01890
It is often said that other than Catch and Lucia's, the town of Winchester doesn't have much of anything in the way of decent restaurants. Or does it? Hidden within the quaint streets and upscale boutiques of Winchester Center are a few other dining spots, including one that is not only a terrific option, but is also perhaps one of the most "invisible" restaurants in the northern suburbs of Boston. Never heard of Imari Fusion Restaurant? Don't worry--you're not alone; but this cute dining spot that specializes in Thai, Japanese, and Korean cuisine deserves to be better known, as it impresses in a number of ways, with excellent food, atmosphere, and service.
Imari sits in a quiet little courtyard on a side street in Winchester Center that houses a number of interesting shops. Formerly known as It Rains Fishes (a slightly silly, but oddly appealing name), Imari is comprised of three rooms, with the front room including a sleek bar area, the middle room having a sushi bar as well as a few dining tables, and the back room being mainly a quiet spot for dining. Nice touches abound in all three rooms, with white tablecloths, dark painted walls, hardwood floors, a fountain near the sushi bar, and traditional pendant lights and cozy table lamps throughout. Windows look out over the courtyard, giving Imari a cozy, tucked-in feel.
Because Imari is an Asian fusion restaurant, the menu has a very large number of items on it. Appetizers include a decent miso soup that has a lot of flavor, though it is mostly broth; steamed dumplings that are light and airy, with the pork being of excellent quality; broiled yellowtail with teriyaki sauce; and, for sushi lovers, tiger eyes (seafood maki). For lovers of Thai food, entrees include a traditional northern Thai dish called nam prik ong, which includes delicious ground chicken with a wonderful mix of herbs and veggies in a rich red chili paste. Sushi lovers will probably be happy with the sushi chef's menu, which features various sizes and combinations of sushi and sashimi, with the former including some of the best salmon, yellowtail, and eel you'll find in the northern suburbs of Boston. There are also a number of Japanese entrees for those who aren't big sushi fans. And for diners who are looking for Korean dishes, the bee bim bahp is a good option (a mix of foods cooked in a traditional hot stone bowl). Desserts include an interesting green tea/red bean ice cream combination that has a gooey and delicious outer coating made from sticky rice.
Imari Fusion Restaurants is one of those hidden gems that feels like you, and only you, have discovered it. And in a way, that would be true, as it is a virtually unknown restaurant that is located on a street with very little foot traffic. So if you want to go to a friendly, cozy, and reasonably priced restaurant that none of your friends have likely been to yet, head over to Imari on Thompson Street to get that exciting sense of discovery.
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