505 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Strangely enough, today was my first Boston Restaurant Week experience, where restaurants in the city offer multi-course menus for a reasonable fixed price (usually around $20/$25 for lunch, or $33/$38 for dinner). Julia and I ventured out to the Downtown Crossing area to try RUKA Restobar, a stunningly decorated Peruvian-Japanese-Chinese restaurant that could pass as an art gallery at first glance. From the Chihuly chandelier that greets you overhead to the gorgeous murals painted right on the walls, we just couldn’t get over the restaurant’s interior.
RUKA just opened in December 2016 under a partnership between Ting Yen (from Oishii), and Chris Jamison, Mark Malatesta, and Tom Berry (from Lolita’s and Yvonne’s), and it’s actually the first nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) or chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) restaurant in town!
Julia and I both ordered from the $20 three-course lunch menu, starting off with the Ruka Spicy Tuna, which was a simple sushi roll with spicy tuna, Asian pear, Peruvian spiced jicama, and topped with aji panca mayo and crispy rice dots. Though it tasted mostly like a typical spicy tuna roll, I enjoyed the refreshing bites of pear and jicama in the sushi that they snuck in.
For my second course, I chose the Pressed Peruvian Sandwich with Shoestring Fries, which came with a mountain of shoestring fries covering a chili-rubbed pork shoulder sandwich on sourdough with gruyere, salsa criolla, and miso BBQ. It was slightly concerning at times that I couldn’t tell whether I was biting into a fatty cut of pork or a large chunk of gruyere, but the sandwich overall had a satisfying crunch and savory flavor that filled me up completely.
The crazily skinny shoestring fries were so fun for both of us to nibble on, Julia telling me afterwards, “I still don’t know what made those skinny fries so good — was it the potatoes, or a seasoning, or just that they were so crispy?” We’ll never know…
Julia ordered the Daily Bento Box, which came with a grilled avocado, a rice dish topped with mushrooms, a small portion of sashimi, and fish, each in a cute little compartment. “We have an avocado tree at home, so this really just reminded me of home!” she said following her first bite of avocado.
Lastly, we got Tres Leches Cake as dessert which came with a small scoop of yuzu caramel ice cream on the side. The cake is a popular South American dessert that is sponge cake soaked with three types of milk — evaporated, condensed, and heavy cream. “For a pretty common-looking plate, the dessert packed a unanticipated amount of flavor,” Julia said. Needless to say, it was a perfect small square of sweet, creamy cake to finish off our meal.
Typically, RUKA offers a tapas-style menu with prices ranging from $15-$25 a dish, so I would highly recommend taking advantage of its restaurant week lunch menu if you’d like to give Peruvian-Asian cuisine a try!