Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wagamama, veggies, jugglers

After a day offshore, what with all the fresh air and walking and whatnot, we arrived on the mainland hungry. And as we were in the neighborhood, it seemed like a good a time as any to check out Wagamama in Faneuil Hall.

Despite the sunny weather, there were no customers sitting at the outside tables, which was worrisome, especially as the surrounding restaurants and oyster bars were doing brisk trade. But our waitron reassured us that they weren't in danger of disappearing.

"It's quiet right now," she said, "but usually there's a line out the door at lunchtime. We're doing pretty well."


We started with fresh juices: a cocktail of raw carrot, apple, cucumber, tomato and orange for me, and carrot juice with fresh ginger for The Boy, who'd been battling a summer cold for the past few days. They were nutritious and, yes, also delicious; there's something about a glass of fresh fruit and veggie juices that makes one feel virtuous without having to suffer.

Which then meant we could move on to the fun stuff: generously filled deep-fried duck gyoza with a bitter-sweet cherry dipping sauce. and grilled asparagus (see, more healthy veggies!) drizzled with citrus and finished with sesame seeds.

Actually, it's hard not to eat healthily at Wagamama; pretty much everything involves fresh raw vegetables, chicken, fish or tofu (even if these last are occasionally fried).

We'd initially intended to just sit and nibble on small plates, but were quickly diverted from that plan and went for something more substantial. The Boy had a big bowl of chili chicken ramen, which came loaded with cilantro and beansprouts and made him feel much better. I opted for the asian fish salad: a thick wedge of grilled barramundi on a heap of julienned radish, carrot and zucchini, finished with a coconut-chili sauce, the veggies acting as a nice carrier for the sweet-spicy juices.

Sitting at an outside table in a high-traffic area like Quincy Market is a blessing and a curse; yes, the people-watching is fun, even if it mainly consists of white-sneakered families clutching Cheers bags and duck-tour merch.

But you're also at the mercy of the street performers. And if one happens to stake out the spot next to your table as his stage, you can forget trying to make quiet conversation until he has switched off his mike, collected his balls and gone away to count his tips. I kept hoping our particular juggler would call me up to help with his act, but I think he could tell from the gleam in my eye that I was likely to wing a club in the general vicinity of his forehead ...



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