It's not hard to find good sushi in Boston, this oceanfront seafood mecca, this polestar for fishermen and pescatarians alike. But after dinner, I often find that I spent more than I intended on those perfect little strips of protein, and I still come away hungry. It's a perpetual balancing act between fresh, good quality sushi and great value.
has that balancing act figured out. I've driven past this closet-sized restaurant underneath its gaudy red awning dozens of times, wondering with every pass what the appeal could be. Is it bigger inside than it looks? What could set this place apart from the many sushi places in Brookine? And what exactly is “super fusion” sushi, anyway?
The answer to the first question is a decided no: it's tiny inside, with four tables each approximately the size of a bathmat, and another four seats at the bar where you'll find the cash register practically in your lap. There's neither elbow room nor privacy, so regardless of how quietly you try to speak, your fellow diners will all hear your stories about Aunt Marge losing her dentures or how little Timmy bit his first grade teacher. There's no décor to speak of, save a wall covered in handwritten signs and framed press blurbs. Super Fusion is not a place to come with a date, (unless your date is more into the food than into you), so Don Juans may want to keep a take-out and delivery menu handy.
But magnificent meals can often be found in no-frills places like these, and Super Fusion is no exception. The fish is rich and buttery, the rice is perfectly cooked, and even the dried seaweed wrappings offer a pleasant briny flavor. Simple rolls like the tuna maki and shrimp tempura maki can turn dinner into an event, and the tired, ubiquitous California roll takes on new life here, dotted with bright orange roe sparkling like bits of coral, bursting pleasantly in your mouth when you bite down.
There's plenty here besides sushi. Eaters a little squeamish about the whole "raw fish" thing can choose from entrees like Teryaki chicken and Grilled Miso Chilean Seabass, or from among the cooked rolls. An order of Crusted Salmon with King Crab, Tobiko, and Spicy Mayo featured strips of exquisitely cooked salmon, crusted with a breading redolent of coconut and citrus, and served with a salad of shredded crab meat with spicy mayo and tobiko. At $11 a plate, the crab may be only imitation, but it's delightful even so.
The menu is well-priced overall, but the best value is found in entrees from the sushi bar, all served with a mild bowl of miso soup. You'll find choices like three basic rolls for $11.50, and a sashimi platter, offering up perfect pieces of ice-cold fish as big as a light bulb, for $25.
And the “fusion” bit? Maybe it's the unexpected unions found inside some of the rolls, like mango with sweet potato, banana and avocado (the Hawaii Roll), or fried papaya with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and lemon sauce (the Sake Papaya Maki). There are other creative elements in play, too, like lobster miso soup, and tuna with kimchee. I'll be back soon, but whether I experiment or order my usual favorites, this is one place where I can afford to eat my fill.
Super Fusion Cuisine is open Monday through Thursday 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-10:30pm; Friday 10:30pm-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Saturday 11:30am-11pm; Sunday 12pm-10pm. 690A Washington Street, Brookline. No reservations accepted. MBTA: Green line (C) to Washington Square. Other locations in Watertown, Cambridge, and Jamaica Plain.