Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Next to the new Melting Pot in Bedford is Bamboo, a Chinese/Japanese restaurant. I stopped there for the first time today for lunch. I had heard some good things about Bamboo and knew that they had a lunch buffet. I had almost chosen to eat at Flatbread Pizza, in the same area, as I had not been there yet either. But, I decided in favor of Bamboo.

It is an impressive looking restaurant, very elegant and clean. It is not kitschy like some Chinese restaurants. There is a nice bar area, a sushi counter, and several dining rooms. Lunch began at 11:30am, but I arrived a few minutes earlier so waited to be seated. While waiting, I took a look at their takeout menu.

The menu is diverse with many of the usual Chinese and Japanese appetizers and entrees plus a few different ones such as eel tempura (which sounds delicious to me). Prices are average. Instead of the lunch buffe you could order some of their lunch specials. They do have a dinner buffet as well but only on Sundays. I was surprised to see that Bamboo is related to five other Asian restaurants, including the Mandarin in Reading. I have eaten several times at the buffet at the Mandarin so expected something similar at the Bamboo. In the end, I thought the Bamboo was the better place.

Once seated, I checked their drink menu and found they had a few chilled sakes available. I ordered a Hakushika Namazake ($9.50 for a 180ml bottle). When they brought my sake, they gave me a chilled glass and the bottle sat in a glass bucket of ice. What a perfect way to serve chilled sake! This earns Bamboo several points from me. The sake was excellent, mellow and flavorful. I would definitely order that again.

I chose the buffet and initially it did seem similar to the one at the Mandarin. But, I actually found the food to be better and there was some more variety. There was sushi on the buffet, lots of maki plus some nigiri though most of the nigiri was small. They did have some shrimp tempura maki which was excellent. There were plenty of appetizers, including items such as shumai, dumplings, chicken fingers, chicken wings, chicken teriyaki, scallion pancakes, boneless spare ribs. There was white rice and fried rice, chicken and beef dishes, veggie dishes and more. All of the food was very fresh and tasty. The chicken fingers were very good, with much less batter than average and more meat. The boneless ribs were very meaty. I certainly ate my fill of food. They also had desserts, including vanilla and green tea ice cream, jello and several pastries.

Service was very good. The restaurant filled up very quickly and it is obvious this is a popular lunch spot. Lunch only cost $10 which makes the buffet an excellent value. You could easily eat twice that much in sushi alone. I definitely recommend this buffet lunch and think that dinner there would be good as well.

213 Burlington Road
Bedford, MA
Phone: (781) 275-5888

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