Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hojoko, A New Izakaya in Boston, MA

When the owner of O Ya, Tim Cushman, opened up Hojoko, everyone was naturally excited about the new izakaya in the Fenway Kenmore neighborhood. The large restaurant is located inside the Verb Hotel and has a cool funky vibe. They also play anime movies on the back screen!

Food-wise, Hojoko is good, but the menu can be hit-or-miss, not for the flavors necessarily, but for the price.

One of the items I would recommend ordering is the Torched uni, soy, olive oil, shiso, parsley, nori butter, toast ($14)
They gave a good amount of the creamy uni, though the star of the dish is the umami-packed nori butter. You don't want to give that up even after you're done with the toast! This is definitely one of their more unique and creative dishes.

Funky chicken ramen (rich chicken broth, soy egg, menma, robata-grilled koji chicken). This used to be $9 which was a great deal but they've raised the price to $12 last time I returned.
It was still a lovely bowl of ramen, though, especially if you're looking for something lighter than the usual, rich tonkotsu broth. And I do love the grilled chicken that it came with.

Hojoko's cocktail list is a fun one, though. There are Asian inspired drinks like the Chiyoda G&T (Beefeater gin, ponzu, avocado oil, tonic, black sesame, $12)
No holds barred on the fun cocktail list, complete with variations of favorite frozen drinks like the grasshopper and pina coladas, or cocktails from a tap ("from the tank") available as shots or large format.

On my first visit, they gave us these wet napkins that grow when it's soaked in water. 
Oyako rice bowl, braised chicken, uni, scrambled egg, shiitake, nori ($10)
An oyakodon topped with sea urchin? I'm all for it. It's not a large bowl but I think this one is not a bad deal. At the very least I would order a rice bowl like this or a noodle dish to fill up my stomach while I taste other smaller items.

Karepan (fried shakopan dough filled with curried chicken and vegetables, $8)
This reminded me of the days I used to go to Curry House. Sure, I think the bread here is better, crispier, although Curry House's filling was more plentiful and theirs is only $2. Once again, I enjoyed the karepan here, but I don't know if I would pay $8 for another one.

Hojoko also serves yakitori and robata, and they have some of my favorite things like chicken tails.
Crispy chicken tails, black truffle salt ($7)
The tail was great - however, $7 for one skewer seems rather steep. Not as steep as $7 skewer of chicken thigh, though. Shio koji chicken thigh (wasabi, tare, scallions, $7)

If you want to get full without emptying your wallet, you should look for the rice and noodle items, like the Curry somen noodle jiru (curry dashi broth, braised chicken, daikon, shiitake, scallions, $8)
It's not a huge bowl, but it's a good amount of food and I was fine after having this along with 1-2 other smaller items.

Foie gras spam roll, robata grilled pineapple, yuzu kosho ($8 for half order, $16 for a full one)
So, I absolutely love O Ya's seared foie gras sushi, served with a sip of aged sake. This foie gras spam is pretty good, even if not on the same level.

Okonomiyaki, smoky bacon, shiitake, mountain yam, Hojoko honkytonky sauce, nori, truffle kewpie ($8)
Delicious, though it's also the smallest okonomiyaki I've seen ... Yes, I'm torn because I enjoyed the way it tasted. Plus, I've learned how to make okonomiyaki and it's not that hard.

Some may say that as long as the food tastes great, the price doesn't matter. But only the people who make a lot of money can really say that. As for me, when I return to Hojoko I will order carefully. It's not that the menu in its entirety is overpriced, but some items are definitely a much better value than others.

1271 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 670-0507
Hojoko Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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