Generally, when there is confusion as to what city, town, or neighborhood a restaurant actually resides in, the chances are pretty good that it isn't all that well known. And such is the case with a Japanese and Korean dining spot in...is it West Roxbury? Chestnut Hill? Brookline? Well, the answer to the exact location of Misono is, the first two--and yes, Chestnut Hill does indeed extend into West Roxbury. But the Brookline border is mere yards away from the back of Misono, further adding to the confusion of where it resides. No matter, though--this peaceful and comfortable eatery is relatively easy to find, and it features some very good Asian fare.
Misono is a relatively small restaurant buried unceremoniously in a rather generic-looking strip mall (one of very few commercial structures along this leafy stretch of the VFW Parkway). The inside of the place is very pleasant, however, with a small fish pond in the front, a brightly lit sushi bar in the back, and attractive hardwood floors and Asian-influenced decor throughout. Plenty of seating can be found inside the restaurant, with the bench seats lining the walls having movable cushioned chair tops that add a bit of comfort to the hard benches.
For a restaurant that has a suburban feel to it, Misono has quite an interesting menu; many traditional Japanese and Korean dishes that are not easily found this far out of Boston proper are offered here, and there are a number of more familiar items as well. Starters include appetizers such as wasabi shumai (round dumplings with wasabi shells) and chilled tofu in a ginger soy sauce; soups such as a rich-tasting hot and sour as well as a delicious gyoza (veggie dumplings with scallions, egg, and clear noodles); and salads such as seaweed, calamari, and avocado.
Entrees at Misono are broken down into several categories, with noodle dishes, teriyaki plates, Korean BBQ, tempura, katsu, sushi, maki, and various specialty dishes available. The latter category features a tremendously flavorful hot and spicy soup dish called kimchi jigae, which features a delectable mix of spicy kimchi (pickled cabbage), pasta-like rice cakes, hearty chunks of pork, tasty glass noodles, and plenty more. This is just one of many Korean specialties on the menu here, with bibimbab (rice, eggs, meat, vegetables, and sauce served in a bowl) and tang soo yuk (deep fried meat in sweet and sour sauce) being a couple of others. Japanese specialty items include sukiyaki (meat, glass noodles, spinach, and tofu, all in a broth) and curry katsu (deep fried meat, rice, and veggies in a curry sauce). The sushi menu at Misono includes most items sushi lovers are familiar with, with the makimono trio (18 pieces, including tuna, avocado/cucumber, and California roll) being a good place to start. Vegetarians have some decent options here, with such items as a flavorful tempura asparagus roll (which includes avocado, cucumber, and a slightly spicy mayo), a sweet potato tempura roll, and kanpyo maki (dried seasoned melon skin) being just a few options for those who prefer fruit and veggies to fish. Misono has a decent beer and wine list, and the limited dessert menu includes mochi ice cream that has a chewy rice cake exterior and ice cream inside (ice cream options include green tea, red bean, ginger, and coconut ice cream).
Misono has been around for a number of years, yet seems to remain undiscovered. Perhaps it is because most folks don't think of this mostly residential section of the VFW Parkway to be a place where restaurants might exist, or maybe it is because some people don't see this part of Boston as any sort of dining destination. But Misono can easily disprove either of these theories, as it is a high-quality, moderately-priced, low-key Asian spot that also happens to have plenty of parking. If you want to discover why locals return to this place again and again, head down to this part of Chestnut Hill, er, West Roxbury, to see for yourself.
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