While walking around Harvard Square, near dinner time, we decided to stop and check out Wagamama. The restaurant is modeled after Japanese ramen bars. Wagamama is a chain that first opened in London in 1982. Since then, the chain has exploded and there are over 75 restaurants in 10 countries. Two Wagamama restaurants have recently opened in the U.S., one in Fanueil Hall and the other in Harvard Square.
This is definitely a casual restaurant. There are long tables where about 14 people can sit. There is also a long counter at the front window where you can sit as well. The kitchen is open and you can watch them cooking if you wish.
The drink menu has fresh fruit juices, waters, sodas, green tea, ginger peach iced tea, beer, sake and wine. The wine list is small and nothing is really exciting. They also only have hot sake. Where is the chilled sake? Green tea is complimentary with your meal and I did have some. It was hot and tasty, a very good tea. I also had the ginger peach iced tea, fresh brewed and unsweetened. That was delicious and refreshing. The flavors were subtle and went well together. They also good free refills on the iced tea. Well worth ordering.
The food menu has Side Dishes, which they do not call Appetizers but that is really what they area. The Sides include such items as Gyoza, Edamame, Yakitori and Miso Soup. I had the Tori Kara Age ($5.25), fried chicken pieces with a chili, garlic and soy sauce. There were very good, meaty pieces of meat with an excellent sauce. There was a good portion of chicken as well.
The entrees include Ramen bowls, Teppan fried noodles dishes, Rice dishes, Salads, Kare Noodle soups, and Chili Noodle dishes. Prices range from $8.50-$13.75. All of the food is made to order. Thus, you often can ask for a dish without certain ingredients. I think that is a big plus.
We had two entrees, the Chicken Kare Lomen ($11.75) and the Ata-Taka Chicken Salad ($9.95). The Lomen is a spicy, coconut flavored soup with pieces of chicken. I got it without the bean sprouts and cucumber. This was a medium-sized bowl with a thick and very spicy broth, lots of ramen noodles and a number of thin chicken cutlet pieces. I very much enjoyed the taste of this dish. The Salad had thin chicken strips with bean sprouts and red onion atop baby spinach leaves and covered by their house dressing. This was another tasty dish. The only problem with both dishes is that they seemed a bit overpriced for the portion size.
Another problem with the restaurant is that the dishes comes out when they are ready, and not in any order. You may get your entrees before your sides. On my visit, one entree came out first. Then the side dish. The second entree did not come out until about three-quarters of my entree were gone. I really think they should change this and try to time it so the entrees all come out at about the same time.
Service was good, and the waitresses seemed to work as a team at the tables.
Overall, I can only recommend this restaurant with qualifiers. The food is very good and there is a diverse selection available. But, the prices are a bit high and the staggered service of the dishes can be annoying.
57 JFK St.
Phone: (617) 499-0930