Two quick restaurant reviews: Yakitori Zai and OAK

A couple of places from this past week that I need to get off my blogging queue before getting on a plane to Israel for most of the rest of the month.

OAK Long Bar and Kitchen is the latest incarnation of The Oak Room at the Copley Fairmont hotel. I like the redesign of the space. It feels younger, hipper, more fun, but it’s still fundamentally a gorgeous big room with some nice old architectural touches. Overall, a good balance.

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LBK board and the (finished) scallop crudo appetizer.

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Clambake.

We had a clambake and the LBK board, a charcuterie and cheese board. Both were very good. The ambiance and atmosphere were very good. The noise level was a little high but no big deal. The only really strange thing was the service. Our waitress was older (60ish it appeared), hard of hearing, and gruff. My friend had been to the redone OAK once before, and she said she had a different server that time, but with the same qualities / characteristics. I wonder why that is.

All in all, a good time, and I can definitely see myself going back there.

Then at Yakitori Zai, in the South End, I also had a great time. We ordered a variety of yakitori (skewered meats and vegetables, grilled in a particular Japanese manner), some recommended by the server, and some that are yakitori staples to compare apples-to-apples.

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L->R: chicken thighs, chicken “oysters,” black cod.

The chicken thigh skewers with Japanese scallions were delicious, as were the black cod (unusual), and the grilled shishito peppers with bonito flakes. We  had some good sake to go along with the food, and it’s a nice small romantic place. It felt pretty authentic to me, and it was packed, most of the other diners appearing Asian, a good sign at an Asian restaurant.

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