Union Square is well known in NYC for its outdoor markets and intersection of fashion and politics. The lesser known Union Square in Somerville, MA, is approximately one mile from Boston and poised to be an up and coming neighborhood thanks in part to the green line moving into the area and many trendy eateries and bars opening up shop. On Friday evening, I had the pleasure of making stops at Ebi Sushi and The Independent Bar.
As I had alluded to in my Five Things Friday post, I was embarking on a mission with Chris in order to try to the ever elusive Natto. Nattio is a traditional Japanese side dish consisting of fermented soy beans. Not only was the taste described to me as horrific beyond compare, but its consistency and aroma are just as notorious. Regardless, I was willing to take the plunge just to say I had done it.
We were greeted by Sushi Chef Sean, who was not only knowledgeable about both Japanese cuisine and culture, but was a gregarious, funny, and welcoming host who put me at ease about my impending doom. I sat down to a bottle of Saki in order to help dull the experience I was about to indulge in and listened to Chef Sean and Chris discuss Japanese food and culture.
I gave the Natto a good stir and then went into for the kill. It tasted…awful. So awful, bitterly awful. What was worse, was that the sticky coating from the fermentation process was all over my lips. It looked like little peanuts stuck in a spider web. It was everything that Chris described, and that employees of Ebi shuddered at the thought of. I poured some soy sauce to make the next bite go down a little better. When I decided that enough was enough, one of the servers brought over a bowl of miso soup in order for me to get the taste out of my mouth. I’m still gagging at the thought.
Chris and I wound up staying until the sushi place closed, with the two of us being the last customers in the restaurant. Thanks to the allure of the Natto, the wonderful conversation with Chef Sean and the kind attention of the staff at Ebi, Chris and I most certainly will be back to enjoy the sushi. After leaving Ebi, we walked across the street to the Independent Bar.
The drinks were phenomenal, the music was great, and the crowd was small, which is something that every 30-year-old grows to appreciate in a bar as the years go by. The prices were right, with cocktails falling between 7 to 9 dollars. I believe I had the Old Hemingway, which consisted of white rum, mint, grapefruit, lime, angostura, and cava, while Chris stuck to his beer.
Thanks for the experience, Union Square, Ebi Sushi, and the Independent. We’ll definitely be back soon (as we only live about a mile away!). As for the rest of you in the Boston area, I highly recommend making the trek to the neighborhood! Do it, even if you are trying to get down to your racing weight (whoops. Oh well, its all about balance, remember?).