Enso: Kaiten sushi arrives in Boston

By Anna Ing, a food aficionado

Last month quietly heralded the arrival of Enso, a rare kaiten sushi or conveyor belt sushi, in Boston’s Chinatown. Enso, which means “circle” in Zen Buddhism, was opened by co-owner Susan Chang, who has roots in the local restaurant scene. She noticed a need for affordable kaiten sushi in Boston, a common sight in Los Angeles. After a trip to Seattle with her friend and business partner, Enso came about.

The restaurant is brightly lit with a modern and comfortable vibe. The kaiten is the focus of the dining room. Plates come in seven colors, which each plate ranging from $2 to $6.75. A plate comes with small packets of dry ice underneath and the name of each item. The restaurant uses a sensor to take off items after a certain period of time to ensure freshness. Items are spaced out and feature a variety of makimono, salads, sashimi and nigiri. There are also nonsushi options that can be ordered off the menu.

We kept taking plates off the conveyor belt that appealed to us. The simple spicy salmon was light on spice, while the white tuna sashimi was buttery and delicious. The uni was so fresh I tasted the ocean.

Orange Lotus: California roll topped with spicy salmon and fried lotus. (Image courtesy of Anna Ing.)

Orange Lotus: California roll topped with spicy salmon and fried lotus. (Image courtesy of Anna Ing.)

The Orange Lotus was a simple California roll topped with spicy salmon and a stunning fried lotus chip perched on top, which we liked. Makimono rolls varied from four to six pieces and ran smaller, but offered a great way to try a variety of sushi that would normally cost double the price.

The Godzilla was a tempura fried roll with avocado and spicy white fish, topped with masago and fried taro slivers.

Orange Blossom: Spicy salmon, crab, seaweed salad, topped with salmon and roe. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Orange Blossom: Spicy salmon, crab, seaweed salad, topped with salmon and roe. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Next was the Orange Blossom which combined spicy salmon and crab with seaweed salad, topped with even more salmon and yummy tobiko.

OMG: Tuna, salmon and avocado topped with yellowtail, jalapeno slices and a ginger-cilantro combination

OMG: Tuna, salmon and avocado topped with yellowtail, jalapeno slices and a ginger-cilantro combination. (Image courtesy of Anna Ing.)

Another stand out was the OMG, named after Susan’s sister’s reaction to eating it. It was delicious with tuna and salmon inside, topped with avocado, yellowtail and jalapeno slices. The piece de resistance was the ginger-cilantro combo that explodes in delightful flavor.

The special octopus salad used tentacles that are chopped up, marinated and then served topped with a little bit of the seaweed salad. Next we got the Tarantula with softshell crab, avocado and salmon inside.

Lollipop: Tuna and salmon wrapped in cucumber, topped with mango sauce and tempura flakes.

Lollipop: Tuna and salmon wrapped in cucumber, topped with mango sauce and tempura flakes. (Image courtesy of Anna Ing.)

The Lollipop we enjoyed was three pieces of tuna and salmon, wrapped in cucumber then topped with mango sauce and tempura flakes. The simple ingredients played up the sweetness of the fruit, fresh fish and tempura flakes, along with the refreshing crunch from the cucumber.

Overall, the standouts were the OMG, Tarantula and Orange Lotus, as well as the uni and white tuna sashimi. Service was attentive and thoughtful. The place was quiet on a weeknight and currently has a “bring your own beer” policy. Be warned: You will have lots of fun stacking up your plates to determine what your bill will be. If you want to shake up your dining experience, then head over to Enso.

 

Enso

69 Kneeland Street

Boston 02111

(617) 338-8810

This post is also available in: Chinese

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