This piece also appeared in the Fall 2009 issue.
By Michelle Wong
Students who crave Asian food are often disappointed and disgusted with the limited offerings found at the dining halls. So, they go down Marshall Street and eat at Panda West, Oishi Sushi or the Bleu Monkey Cafe. Now, there’s a new restaurant to add to the list — Komachi Restaurant. Located between Hair Trends and What the Crepe, Komachi offers a variety of Japanese as well as several Korean entrees, distinguishing it from similar Japanese restaurants on campus.
Noticeable only by the brightly painted outer columns, Komachi is a hidden gem. Although the tightly shut blinds and dark door can deter some potential customers away, those who enter are delightedly surprised by the cozy and comfortable atmosphere. The dim lighting creates a relaxed setting, while the furniture is arranged so that customers, who are mostly people on their lunch breaks, are able to comfortably engage in conversation with each other. Asian-inspired murals and framed traditional Asian artwork adorn the walls, and small ornaments line the window sill. A large flat-screen TV hangs in the corner, showing a variety of Asian music videos. The restaurant as a whole created a very homey ambiance to customers, something that both Bleu Monkey and Oishi do not.
But the comfortable and homely environment of the restaurant isn’t what makes Komachi a hidden gem. It also isn’t the wonderfully quick and friendly service, although the waiter’s friendliness definitely contributed. It is the lunch boxes that make Komachi magnificently unique. Komachi offers four basic lunch box options, and customers can add a tuna roll, a California roll or four specific pieces of sushi to those boxes.
The shrimp and vegetable tempura in the Komachi lunch boxes can arguably be the best on campus — crispy on the outside, and completely cooked and soft on the inside. The tempura sauce was not the typical dipping sauce — it was, instead, a salty, sweet and thick sauce, similar to teriyaki sauce.
“I love the sauce on the tempura,” says junior Anna Ng, a self-described Japanese food enthusiast. “They use a different one than other restaurants.”
If this sauce is left on food for too long, however, it becomes extremely salty. Also, the sushi rolls ordered with the meal were smaller than the same rolls at Oishi and Bleu Monkey. The salmon and the chicken teriyaki, coupled with the white rice, made a delicious meal. And the salad included with the meal complemented the rest of the meal perfectly.
In short, while Komachi is great for actual entrees and lunch boxes, Oishi Sushi and Bleu Monkey Cafe are better for sushi. Go to Komachi if you want something other than sushi, and a comfortable place to eat with friends or loved ones.
“I’d definitely recommend this restaurant to other people,” Ng says. “It’s definitely worth the price, and you leave really full. I’d definitely come again some time for lunch.”
Food – 7.5/10
Service – 9/10
Decor – 10/10
Cost (for lunch) – 8/10