VIEW Published Article: 2019 Winter Issue of SCENE Magazine North End
Graphic Design of Photo: Mirjona Lieshaj
It’s not standard to leave the North End in search of the best food in Boston. Yet the Japanese flair and flavor at the newly unveiled Zuma in the Four Season’s Hotel is a reason to rush onto the other side of the Common.
Zuma opened this past spring within the tallest residential building in New England located right in our own Back Bay section of the city. The Hub is the fourth U.S. location after Zuma Las Vegas. Boston embodies the style and elegance of Zuma’s 11 other locations worldwide, incorporating architecture and interiors by Tokyo-based designer, Noriyoshi Muramatsu, founder of Studio Glitt.
With an aesthetic inspired by the four elements of earth, fire, water and air, the Boston location showcases elements that tie into the innovative, pulsating city of Boston such as Thai-imported Pu Fai stone boulders at the sushi and robata counters also two statement walls made of delicate Japanese rice paper. Additional interior components include Monkey Pod wood, hand-woven bamboo lanterns, granite and glass, offering a texturally rich and sophisticated ambiance.
Created and co-founded by acclaimed Chef Rainer Becker, Zuma is inspired by the informal and traditional Japanese izakaya concept, where guests enjoy a relaxed dining and drinking style that uniquely embraces every element of Japanese cooking under one roof. The foundation of Zuma’s philosophy offers an authentic yet non-traditional dining experience, where all elements are of equal importance and each complements the taste and flavor of the cuisine. Zuma has restaurants across the globe including London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Istanbul, Miami, Bangkok, Datça Peninsula, Abu Dhabi, New York, Rome and Las Vegas.
Reflective of Rainer’s admiration for the discipline, passion, innovation and authenticity of Japanese cuisine, Zuma’s menu offers dishes that are designed to be shared from three kitchens: the main kitchen, sushi counter and robata grill. Incorporating tastes and techniques true to the brand, the kitchen serves signature Zuma dishes including, maguro no tataki – seared tuna with chili daikon and ponzu sauce; ise ebi no oven yaki –roasted Boston lobster 1 1⁄2 pound with shiso butter sauce; and gyuhire sumihiyaki karami zuke – spicy beef tenderloin.
The intimate restaurant includes a sushi bar, robata grill and open kitchen, along with a semi-private dining room boasting a long glass partition that preserves the vibrancy of the main dining room with a touch of added seclusion.
Designated a hot power lunch destination, Zuma Boston offers a similar style to Zuma New York and Miami with inclusion of a three-tier, prix fixe Ebisu Business menu. Designed to have guests in and out within 45 minutes the Ebisu Business is complete with your choice of a main dish such as koji chicken with ginger soy, grilled salmon teriyaki and spicy fried tofu, each entrée is served with miso soup (crafted using Zuma’s exclusive house-made miso paste), dessert and two appetizers like avocado tempura with sour dashi or seared tuna with chili daikon and ponzu.
As one of the Back Bay’s hottest nightlife destinations, Zuma Boston recently launched a rotating DJ series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Set up at the restaurant’s chic floating DJ booth, the evenings are vibrant with deep house music. They offer expertly crafted cocktails and a comprehensive list of approximately 70 different varieties of premium sakes including the exclusive Zuma Junmai Ginjo developed by the brand’s sommelier team in conjunction with Akitabare brewery, Akita prefecture Japan.
Running the show here in Boston is General Manager Josh Kougl . With nearly fifteen years in hospitality management experience, providing exceptional guest service and unwavering attention to detail in all his positions. Before heading to Boston to open and manage Zuma’s first location there earlier this year, Josh formerly was the General Manager for Zuma Miami for two years and prior to that was the Director of Restaurants at Thompson Hotel in Playa Del Carmen, as well as the General Manager at Culina Modern Italian located inside the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in Los Angeles. Through his experiences around the world, Josh has managed and trained countless employees and supervised initiatives in all restaurant departments including beverage, front/back of house, reception/reservations, sales/events, human resources, finance, purchasing/receiving and engineering.
Heading up the back of the house is Executive Chef Helmy Saadon. His career began by broadening his experience across various parts of Asia. From 2003 to 2010 Helmy spent most of his time in Malaysia working with a variety of chefs from Japanese culinary cooks to chef de partie. From 2010 to 2012 Helmy spent time in Singapore continuing his journey. Next, he joined Ku De Ta and Suju Japanese Restaurant to gain experience as a line cook to later become a Junior Sous Chef. At the end of 2012 he returned to Malaysia to join the prestigious Marinis on 57 to work alongside Chef Federico Michieletto. By 2014 Helmy made his way to Abu Dhabi to join the opening team of Zuma Abu Dhabi. He began as a Junior Sous Chef and quickly moved to Executive Sous Chef. From Abu Dhabi he went to Zuma Duabi, Zuma London and then to Zuma New York. He began as Executive Sous Chef in New York and in one year was promoted to Head Chef beginning in June 2018. By 2019, Chef Helmy had then relocated to Boston where he now resides as Zuma Boston’s Executive Chef managing the restaurant’s menu execution and culinary team.
This Boston dining experience offers an innovative spin on contemporary Japanese cuisine with downtown chic décor to create an exceptional evening with a lasting impression. Zuma is located at the Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street in the Back Bay. For reservation you may call 857-449-2500, for private party inquires email firstname.lastname@example.org or to take a peek at the menu visit www.zumarestaurant.com select Boston location.