Saturday, August 14, 2010

AKA Bistro in Lincoln MA (food)

I was out in Lincoln for a couple of days of my Boston trip because my friends SS and CDM were gracious enough to let me stay with them. They had been talking about AKA Bistro, a restaurant that did innovative Japanese fare along with French bistro fare. This was not a fusion place, as they had separate Japanese and French menus, and I was very intrigued by the fact that the Japanese side was run by the former executive chef at Ken Oringer's Uni in Boston.

We dined outside because we brought along SS and CDM's young baby boy. It was a beautiful early evening. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. The sky was a calm, light blue and the clouds moved slowly across it. Things moved slower out there. I would have been perfectly happy sitting out there reading a book and meditating. However, we were out there for the food so we ordered the "taste of AKA" tasting menu which featured both Japanese and French dishes, and each added a dish as well.

Another busted picture where I only remembered after eating it. Like I said before, this happens when I dine in groups. Anyway, our first course involved a Kusshi oyster with lychee granite, chives, and a yamamomo (a Japanese mountain peach). It was clean and refreshing, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the yamamomo.

Black seabass in an amarillo sauce in a ceviche style using orange citrus. The fish was fresh and the sauce was refreshing, with a little kick from the red jalapenos.

Scottish salmon belly with a hakka soy sauce. The belly was nice and fatty, but I was not impressed with the sauce.

Soft shell crab tempura with AKA curry sauce, cucumber, and papaya. This was an amazing dish. The crab was fried beautifully, and the somewhat sweeter yellow curry was flavorful and fragrant. The use of the cucumber wrap enhanced the textures while providing a refreshing foil to the fried goodness and made it a joy to eat.

This was the first of our individually added plates. A hamachi kama (collar) in a sweet soy sauce was very tasty with a good mixture of fat and meat.

Traditionally prepared escargots. Nice and earthy, but nothing particularly special. The photo was taken by CDM, because she ordered it and also because when I'm in the presence of professionals, I defer.

My friend SS loves bone marrow so it was obvious that he was going to order this. I didn't think there was anything special about the preparation when I tried some, but he said that there was a salt/pepper mixture that they provided that enhanced the flavors.

Seared scallop with cauliflower puree, saffron-infused oil, braised bok choy, and a tomato chip. The scallop was cooked nicely, but I thought the sweeter braised bok choy flavor didn't really go with the rest of the dish.

Duck breast with potatoes, olives, mushrooms, greens, and jus. The flavor was quite nice. I thought the olive flavors worked well with the duck and the jus. However, parts of my duck were a little sinewy, which I was not pleased with.

I can't seem to find my notes but this was a chocolate mousse. It was so-so.

Overall, I thought there were very promising moments. I mean, it's an amazing restaurant to have just sitting out there in the suburbs, but I don't think I would travel to eat there. The Japanese part of the menu was definitely more creative, but the portions were very small. The French part of the menu was more filling, but it was more standard bistro fare in my opinion.


Fresh Local and Best said...

These pictures are killing me! I'm salivating over the fatty salmon belly, soft shell crab tempura, escargot (I love!) and bone marrow (I double love!) Great blog!

The Pretender said...


Now that I think about it, it is quite amazing that one can have such quality Japanese and French food all in one meal at one restaurant.