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Boston’s First Pokéworks is Now Open in Somerville

Are you familiar with Pokéworks? If not, then you must read this post then head to Somerville ASAP! Poke is a Hawaiian raw fish salad that can be made with yellowfin tuna, salmon, or numerous other fish and a variety of seasonings. Lately, especially on the West Coast, it has been popping up in a number of fast-casual chains, and now its made its official debut in the Boston area with its first Somerville location at 261 Elm St. in Davis Square!

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Pokéworks couples high-quality seafood with traditional Hawaiian ingredients like furikake, hikiki seaweed, mango and macadamia nuts. Popularized for this viral poké burrito (over 46 million views) and known for offering a variety of sustainable, curated and customizable options, Bostonians now have chance to try this new food fad. 

The poké movement was huge when I was living in NYC but I never made it to Pokéworks, so you can image how excited I was to be invited to check out the new location in Somerville. 

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Pokéworks has many gluten free options. All of the proteins are gluten free. Three of the saouces, inlcuding Classic salt, Wasabi aioli, and Spicy Ginger, are also gluten free. All sauces are made without dairy products and suitable for vegetarians. The seaweed salad is also gluten free. 

The menu includes a number of pre-designed bowls and signature burritos, which I would recommend for first timers. Customers can also go the DIY route by choosing a base – a bowl with white or brown rice or quinoa, a a wrap with white rice and seaweed, or a salad with chopped romaine, up to three proteins (various fish, chicken, and tofu options), vegetable and fruit mix-ins (edamame, mango, etc.), sauces, and toppings (seaweed salad, pickled, ginger, avocado, etc.)

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The sushi burrito is literally a giant portion of sushi, wrapped up like a burrito. And it is delicious!

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And the bowls are equally delicious. The fish tastes fresh and the sauces and flavorings are spot on, without being too spicy. 

Pokeworks is worth the trip to Davis Square. Have you been yet? What did you try? Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite Poke dishes are. 

Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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Gluten Free Options at Ocean Prime // Boston Seaport

Ocean Prime, a high-end seafood and steak restaurant based in Columbus Ohio, opened it’s 12th location in Boston’s Seaport this past December. Ocean Prime specializes in a variety of seafood dishes, meats, and cocktails, and it also offers a gluten-free menu.

Last week I went to check out the gluten free lunch menu and I was impressed with the number of options it offers. Ocean Prime also offers a lunch menu. 

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The Lavender Citrus Soda is a refreshing summer drink.

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For appetizers, we shared the Surf and Turf Sea Scallops and Slow Braised Short Ribs, which just melted in my mouth. 

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For our entrees we shared the Petite Filet Mignon and Chilean Sea Bass with a side of corn salad. 

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In addition to this menu, some of the items on the regular lunch menu can be prepared gluten free with modifications, including sushi – Lobster roll, Tuna roll and Hamachi Crudo – and entree salads – Blackened Salmon Salad, Ahi Tuna Salad, Crab Wedge and Flat Iron Steak Salad. 

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The service is top notch, as is the quality of the food. Ocean Prime is open for lunch Monday – Friday and dinner is served seven days a week.

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Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

Ocean Prime Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Restaurant Review: Gluten Free Options at Opus // Salem, MA

Last weekend I was invited to check out Opus Restaurant in Salem, MA. They have a ton of GF dishes (or dishes that can optionally be modified) that are absolutely delicious!

Opus is part of the Serenitee Restaurant Group, and the chefs at all their restaurants are all committed to creating a wide variety of gluten free options.

Opus is a “new restaurant experience”.  The name Opus, according to the website, is short for Magnum Opus, meaning one’s finest work. “Opus is the culmination of everything we have learned in creating great restaurants,” the website reads.

The atmosphere is modern and eccentric. The restaurant looks dark on the outside but is quite bright on the inside. Liquor bottles are perches on a track that hangs above a glowing bar; yes the bar top glows, it’s very cool. The brick walls, also a feature I loved, are lined with artwork.

So now let’s get to the good stuff: the food!

Opus’ menu features a variety of small plates, salads, sushi, and more traditional entrees. The menu labels items that are gluten free () vegetarian () and vegan (). I was impressed with the number of gluten free and vegetarian options. My server also informed me that a number of the other dishes can be modified to be gluten free.

We started with the Octopus Fricassee small plate – braised octopus, smoked tomato, poblano peppers, frisee, capers, and crispy potato strings ($13). I was not expecting this to be served warm, but it came out in a small cauldron. I loved the flavors, it was so different from anything I’ve tried before.

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Usually when I order octopus it is chilled with olive oil and paprika, or ceviche style. The plate was plenty big to share as an appetizer with two or three people.

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So you are probably wondering about those crispy potato strings (I did too). Opus has a separate fryer for gluten free items; AWESOME! Opus also carries Udi’s gluten free bread for burgers and brunch.

We ordered a variety of sushi, made fresh at the sushi bar in the back of the restaurant.

Tuna and Avocado Roll ($10).

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Seared Tuna and Salmon ($18) with salmon and cucumber, and topped with ogarashi seared tuna, preserved lemon & yuzu aioli. Delicious combination I’ve never had before, I highly recommend trying this roll.

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Spicy Salmon Roll with scallions ($10). The spicy mayo on top was too much, I wish there had been less.

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The sushi was fresh and on par with what you would expect to get at a sushi restaurant. The two inside out rolls were big, both in size and the amount. Each roll came with eight pieces, which is better than some places that only give six. But the prices are a bit higher than your average sushi restaurant.

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Don’t forget to ask for the gluten free soy sauce!

The chef also threw some Fried Shishito Peppers ($7) for us to try. Shishito  peppers are slightly sweet and usually mild. About one in every ten peppers is spicy and of course we got a spicy one!

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Gluten Free entrees include Roasted Fortune Bay Salmon ($23), Crispy Tofu Coconut Curry ($18 and the managers favorite), Organic Springer Mountain Chicken ($25), Opus Burger ($15), and Steak Frites ($24).

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We ordered the Steak Frites, a flat iron steak marinated in red wine, served with chimichurri sauce, house cut fries, and house salad.  The steak was tender and juicy and we loved the fresh chimichurri sauce.

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In addition to the food, Opus has a creative cocktail menu.

Fire Walk With Me— House infused jalapeño tequila, pineapple juice & agave ($10). Sweet & innocent on the surface & deep heat waiting below.

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State of Grace— Sake, cucumber vodka, and domaine de canton.

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More info on The Serenitee Restaurant Group restaurants: 

Latitude 43Minglewood Tavern in Gloucester, Opus in Salem, 15 Walnut in Hamilton, Cala’s in Manchester by the Sea, Maggie’s Farm in Middleton, and Hale St Tavern in Beverly Farms.  Additionally, in 2014 they will be opening 525 in Magnolia, The Spot in Georgetown, a location in Winchester, the Ipswich Brew House in Ipswich, and reopening Alchemy in Gloucester.

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Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge, with the exception of gratuity, which we happily paid for the great service. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

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Restaurant Review: Skipjack’s Best Fresh Seafood Gluten Free Menu

Located in the heart of the Back Bay, Skipjack’s has devoted itself to serving the freshest seafood from around the world.Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 1.06.53 PM

Skipjack’s was named after a type of tuna that is indigenous to the Pacific Ocean and known for tenacity and strength.  Owner Jeff Senior chose the name to reflect his vision of a restaurant renowned for its aggressive pursuit of the highest quality products, while keeping prices affordable.

Skipjack’s offers a gluten free menu with interesting and varied selections for seafood (and even non-seafood) lovers. The portion sizes are quite generous; you definitely get a great value for your dollar. While the menu is not inexpensive, the prices are fair and certainly much better than some of the overpriced trendy, but mediocre, places on Newbury Street.IMG_4045

The gluten free menu was quite extensive, including a raw bar, appetizers, sushi, salads, seafood, Skipjack’s specialties, steaks and most importantly, fried food! It’s not everyday you find fried food on a gluten free menu.

Naturally, I ordered the gluten free fried calamari as an appetizer. The batter is rice-based, making it very light and crispy. I was in heaven! I devoured the calamari, and of course I shared some with the rest of the table.

*Please note that the fried food is cooked in the same fryer as everything else.
*Please note that the fried food is cooked in the same fryer as everything else.

For my entrée I choose the Chilean Sea Bass off the “Today’s Catch” section of the menu. I ordered it grilled with a side of French fries and the vegetable of the day—carrots. Anything in this section of the menu—salmon, haddock, rainbow trout, swordfish, etc.—is available broiled, blackened, or simply grilled. The fish was fresh and perfectly cooked, but overall my meal was pretty bland.IMG_4048

I would recommend ordering something off the “Signature” section of the menu. Almost everyone else at the table ordered something from this menu, and everyone loved their meals. Gluten Free Signature dishes include Cioppino, Shrimp Chardonnay, Grilled Swordfish Fra Diavlo, Scrod Imperial, and Grilled Jumbo Shrimp. These sound much more interesting and flavorful. Skipjack’s also offers a creative sushi menu, complete with gluten free soy sauce.

The service is friendly and prompt. Our waiter was well-informed about the menu and happy to give us recommendations.

There is a public underground parking lot at the side of the entrance, which is very convenient for out-of-towners.


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Skipjack’s has a second location at Patriot Place in Foxborough.

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Gluten Free Reivew of Moksa Restaurant, Cambridge MA

Over the summer Jeremy and I attended a fundraising event and won a gift certificate to Moksa Restaurant. Two months later we finally made it there. Located in Central Square in Cambridge, serves Pan-Asian style tapas, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late-night drinks.Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 3.26.55 PM

Moksa is simple but chic. The long narrow dinning room has unusual lighting. The lighting shoots down in concentrated bursts, so that your table is either fully lit or left in the darkness. The front lounge, where the bar is located, is nearly as large as the dining room but there are only 3 tables near the front window. In the back there is a nightclub called Naga. Outside seating is also available during the warmer months.

The drink menu is creative and unconventional, in a good way. Uncommon and intriguing combinations such as Junmai Sake, cucumber, lavender, and silver needle tea (Silver Peony, $9) and American Harvest Organic Vodka, Boston Honey and Dry Sherry (Wilbur’s Cup, $10). I opted for the Ratonita ($10), a unique twist on the classic margarita, made with Reposado tequila, agave liqueur, and preserved lemon foam. IMG_4594

The menu is made up of unique small to medium sized dishes that are easily shared like tapas or dim sum. With an assortment of diverse Asian flavors on the menu – Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Korean, Indonesian, etc. – there is plenty to choose from. Gluten free and vegetarian dishes are clearly labeled on the menu.IMG_4590 IMG_4593

We tried a couple of the offerings and were pleasantly surprised with the flavors of each dish. Everything had a unique taste and with the exception of the scallop sushi roll, we really enjoyed all the dishes.

First we tried the tuna summer roll ($7), which is made with a soft rice wrapper, then cut into 6 pieces and finished with a cilantro-lime sauce. The roll was light and refreshing, but the sauce was a bit too heavy on the cilantro.IMG_4600

The edamame ($4) topped with Himalayan sea salt came out next. For the price, it was a very generous portion.IMG_4597

Next we tried the vegetable pakora ($5), a traditional Indian dish made with mashed up vegetables, which are dipped in chickpea flour and then deep-fried and served with tamarind chutney. These were our favorite— simple yet flavorful. The chutney was sweet and sour and a perfect compliment for the pakora.IMG_4595

We really enjoyed the Chicken Pad Thai ($12) with beansprouts, peanuts and lime. We loved the subtle flavors and freshness of this dish. I also liked that the peanuts were put on one side rather than mixed in with the dish.IMG_4596

The Spicy Scallop Roll ($9) was very fishy and had way too much spicy mayonnaise sauce dumped on top.  This was really an avocado roll topped with scallops, spicy mayonnaise, and fish roe. After taking off most of the mayo it was tolerable. Either order the sauce on the side or just skip this roll all together.IMG_4599

All in all the food was good, fresh, and flavorful.  The prices are very reasonable and the portions are perfect for sharing. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and I really appreciated that the gluten free (and vegetarian) options were distinctly marked on the menu.


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Gluten Free Options at Legal Harborside

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Boston for over 2 years and this was my first time going to Legal Harborside!

We sat on the roof deck (3rd level). It was such a nice summer night, not too hot or humid and a nice little breeze coming off the ocean, ahhhh bliss.

Each floor has it’s own menu. The first floor has a similar gluten free menu to the ”regular” Legal Sea Foods. It has some additions, like Fish tacos and deviled eggs. The second floor is INCREDIBLY PRICEY ($54 for a lobster dinner – yikes!) but if you are looking for a fine dining experience on the water well then this just might be the right spot for you. Only the first and second floor take reservations. The first floor is fun, more relaxed; has a nice big bar and raw bar, with both a dinning area and high tops in the bar (first come first serve here). We tried to eat here the Tuesday night after 4th of July week and there was a 2 hour wait!! We instead waited 45 minutes and ate across the street at Legal Test Kitchen, by far my favorite Legal Restaurant of them all. If you haven’t, check it out, Now!

My favorite floor, and yes the only one I’ve eaten at so far, is the third floor; the roof top deck. The third floor menu is all sushi with a few raw bar options and classics, like their New England Clam Chowder and Lobster Roll. Surprisingly, it is not too overpriced. It is a little more expensive than the local sushi place I like to go to, but nothing over the top and you are paying for the view and let me tell you, it is well worth it. The sushi was delicious and fresh.

The first roll we had was the Hawaiian Roll; spicy tuna roll topped with salmon and avocado ($12.50 – actually not so bad, I paid more last night for this roll at Haru!)

The second roll we tried was the Rainbow Roll; California roll topped with tuna and salmon. Stop! I know what you are thinking, we can’t eat California rolls! WELL this was not fake crab, this was real king crab meat. What really bugs me about the California roll is that it is not from Japan, it was invited in the United States, and is one of the most popular rolls here. Why did imitation crab meat become so ubiquitous? And why isn’t anyone else complaining? ANYWAYS, enough of that little rant! Both rolls were incredibly fresh and quite good. They also have gluten free soy sauce, which makes it even better!

Since it was my sisters birthday I let her pick the drinks, and she wanted white sangria, so we ordered a pitcher. It was light and refreshing, but on the sweeter side. I love sangria, but not too sweet. This one was just on the edge of being too sweet.

My friend Lauren ate here a few weeks before I did and sent me this picture. Ever since I have wanted to eat here so badly. If there had been more of us we would have ordered the sushi boat, but with only three, we didn’t. Anyone want to go back with me? ….


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Gluten Free options at Haru Sushi

I’ve been to Haru twice now. The first time I went with friends we ordered off the Haru Hour Menu. This is great if you are trying to save money and have fresh sushi. From 3-7pm, everyday they offer discounted rolls and appetizers such as Edamame ($4), Tuna Roll ($3), Tuna Avocado Caviar Roll ($5), and a few other gluten free safe rolls.
I had the Tuna Avocado Caviar Roll and theSalmon Jalapeño Roll ($6.75) from the regular dinner menu. It was hot. I was daring and tried it and I liked it but I needed 5 glasses of water after I ate it. Of course, Erica loved it and it didn’t affect her quite as much.
Haru also has gluten free soy sauce served in a special container marked on the top with a white Japanese character, which, I’m going out on a limb here, but would guess it means “gluten free”.
The second time I ate at Haru was last week with my dad and sister. Katie had a $20 Birthday Certificate, which anyone can sign up to receive and I highly recommend you doing it! Sign up here.
Yes, we ate everything!
As an appetizer we had the Ceviche ($12.75). It was delicious, made of citrus-marinated tuna, salmon and whitefish (you can have all three, you don’t have to choose one so don’t let the menu fool you), with grape tomatoes, red onion, avocado and green apples. I really enjoyed this, I loved the citrus flavor.
Strawberry Fin Special Roll ($16.75). Spicy yellowtail (hold the crunchy!), jalapeno peppers and mango topped with scallops, wasabi tobiko and fresh strawberries. This combination really peeked our curiosity.  Strawberries? Jalapenos? I would never have thought of mixing all these ingredients, but it was great. Extremely flavorful and fresh, it had a kick to it from the jalapenos.
My favorite roll, by far, is the Gramercy Park Roll ($18). Spicy super white tuna and jalapenos, wrapped with tuna, yellowtail and salmon and topped with lemon, cilantro and tobiko. Again this roll has a “crunchy” ingredient they left out, as tempura flakes are not gluten free. Our waitress also brought the yuzu miso sauce on the side, also not gluten free, and also not very good. We all tried the sauce and none of us liked it. But the roll was amazing. I couldn’t taste the jalapeno like the first roll, but I could taste the cilantro and loved how fresh it was.
Sweet Potato roll ($6). Usually it is is fried in tempura, but the waitress offered to make it steamed instead. I’ve had it without tempura before and it was delicious, cooked nicely – soft and tender. This sweet potato roll was not so great, the sweet potato was undercooked and it was a bit hard.
At the end of our meal when our waitress gave us the bill she asked us if we were from Boston. After we said yes she handed each of us a Mystery Envelope. She explained that inside each envelope was a gift certificate to Haru worth anywhere from $5 to $500 and you can’t open it until the next time you come back, and the Manager must be the one to open it. Well of course we are coming back! Even if we only have $5, it would be worth it to get a roll or two from the Haru Hour menu or one of the more expensive rolls, because it would really be $5 off. She told us we could use two during one visit, as long as we had separate checks…um…OK!
The service was good, our waitress was very friendly and attentive. She was so knowledgeable about gluten I really liked that. It can be hard at Japanese or other ethnic restaurants (even American restaurants) to find serves who really know what gluten it is and are that knowledgeable about the menu they can answer every question. Now, if only we could teach the rest of American’s and people in the restaurant industry what gluten is and what it’s in, we would have a much easier dinning experience.

Gluten Free Review of Kamiza Sushi in Washington Square Brookline

Kamiza Sushiwins my award for most knowledgeable and best gluten free friendly Sushi Restaurant ever!
Don’t be deceived by the small appearance, Kamiza is a wonderful sushi place with amazing and friendly staff. It is a family run business, which I prefer, and they allow you to bring your own wine or sake, and they will even heat it up for you free of charge! The atmosphere was great, looked very new and clean, with the typical use of wood/bamboo you see in sushi restaurants in Japan.
Let me start off by saying they have the best and friendliest staff. When I asked for gluten free soy sauce, thinking there was no way they would have it, they brought over a bottle of San-J’s gluten free soy sauce just for me. They knew every roll that had some type of gluten containing product in it and what was in every sauce, and weather it was gluten free or not. So when we ordered, they would leave of the “chef’s special sauce” or eel sauce out, and bring it on the side for my friend. And not only did they do this but they explained it to use each time a dish was brought over. I have never experienced such service and responsiveness to my gluten free needs.
The sushi tasted so fresh and delicious.
For an appetizer we ordered the summer roll; king salmon, tuna, avocado, cucumber and mango wrapped in rice paper, served with a sweet and chili sauce. The sauce was not gluten free so they brought me some type of hot chili sauce on the side.   I am not sure why they call the Salmon King Salmon, it seemed to be the same thing, unless I just don’t know the difference. The fish was really fresh but the rice paper was very chewy, I am not used to it being so hard to eat.
We ordered Sea Bass Sushi, two big pieces of sea bass on top of rice, so fresh and delicious!
The third item we ordered was the Eel Avocado Maki, with the sauce on the side of course.
The best part of meal was the Red Sox Maki– it was fantastic!! Spicy tuna with cucumber maki, topped with fresh tuna, layered up with house special crunchy mix (crunchy rice), fresh tobiko and scallion. There was a decorative sauce on the plate, it extremely spicy so be careful!
 (Don’t be upset Lauren is using a fork, she hasn’t mastered chopsticks yet)
I will definitely be back to Kamiza. I can’t believe this was my first time here after living in Washington Square for so long. The fish was fresh and incredibly tasty, with beyond friendly staff. They have a huge selection of Maki rolls and sushi; so many different and unique rolls I haven’t seen anywhere else. Many of the rolls are named after local favorites – Celtics Maki, New England Maki, , Boston Maki – and their list is endless.
The price is reasonable, cheaper than FuGaKyu but not as inexpensive as other “hole in the wall” places I’ve been to. The also always have great deals – Free Coupons available on the website such as 15% take out orders, or a free Maki room (choice of shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, California, spicy king salmon) or edamame with take out and delivery orders $25 or more. Kamiza also offers great lunch specials – any 2 rolls for $9.99 or any 3 maki rolls for $12.99. And it’s open late – til 11pm on week nights and 2pm on Saturdays, in case you ever crave late night sushi…


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