ON THE TOWN
Looking for a rockin' good time? How about dinner at one of Boston's several Rock'n'Roll restaurants. From Wok'n'Roll to Hard Rock Cafe to Gyuhama's Rock'n'Roll Sushi, there is sure to be one to rock your world.
Wok'n'Roll, located in Porter Square at 1908 Mass Avenue, is Chinese food and not much more. The atmosphere is about as rockin' as the Boston Philharmonic--the only audible music is the dull drone of '80s tunes from the shop next door. However, even this music is drowned out by the sounds of the sizzling wok in the open kitchen.
The decor leaves a lot to be desired, unless one is a fan of neon signs, plastic tablecloths and tacky wall murals. Don't expect to find chopsticks (without a special request) or matching silverware either. If a patron survives the steep staircase down to the basement, the bathrooms are even more repulsive, stinking of human fertilizer.
What Wok'n'Roll lacks in atmosphere, it unfortunately doesn't make up for in the quality of service or cuisine. The waitress is frightening with her icy glare and rude tactics. The tea is served cold, as are your dishes, which will arrive in the wrong order--appetizer after entrees. The chicken is suspiciously shaped; you may be tempted to ask, "Is this chicken or a curly fry?" The food drips with grease, which makes one wonder why all the disheveled, asexually-clad customers come from the two gyms across the street. Don't they know what they're eating?
The food at the Hard Rock Cafe is not much healthier, but the atmosphere is reason enough to make the trip to 131 Clarendon (next to Copley Place and the Back Bay T-stop on the Orange Line). This self-proclaimed "Massachusetts Institute of Rock" has walls covered with rock paraphernalia, including photos, costumes, instruments and even sketches from Jim Morrison's high school notebooks.
The music is loud and contemporary, and the crowd is composed primarily of tourists and families. However, there is an extensive drink menu and a bar that gets going on weekends. While it isn't the perfect setting for a romantic date, the Hard Rock is a good bet for a fun time with a group of friends or a birthday dinner; the whole restaurant will sing.
Good old American staples, generally labeled "Hard Rock Classics" on the menu, are best bets. These include a scrumptious bacon cheeseburger, chicken Caesar salad and The "Pig" Sandwich of barbecued pork. Entrees range from $7 to $12. In addition, there is an impressive seasonal menu with more pizzazz. This fall, try the Santa Fe Spring Rolls with chicken and beans, served in a large cocktail glass over a bed of lettuce and tomato, with sour cream and salsa on the side.
The service boasts Boston accents and is friendly and prompt enough to make you forget that nasty Wok'n'Roll woman they call a waitress. They will get you in and out in time to catch a movie at Copley; there is even a special deal offering dinner and a movie for $14.99 a person. The good deals don't end there. The Hard Rock Cafe's College Newsletter also offers an appetizer with the purchase of two regular entrees.
For a more sophisticated crowd with whom to rock (that is, if they deign to rock with you), check out Rock'n'Roll Sushi at Gyuhama, 827 Boylston Street (Copley T-station across from Lord and Taylor). While Gyuhama often hosts Harvard's own intro Japanese class field trips during the day, the restaurant turns "cool" at night and hosts those who ditch class.
Rock 'n' Roll Sushi satiates the palates of Euro pre-clubbers on Friday and Saturday nights at 10:45 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday at 10:30 p.m. Last call is always at 1:30 a.m. The restaurant "rocks" with reggae and upbeat tunes from the '70s to today. Adding to the excitement, the friendly non-Wok'n'Roll-like waitresses sport white and red sequined rock 'n' roll jackets and short skirts. Large parties are invited to sit in private dining rooms enclosed by Japanese paper screens, while smaller groups sit at either American-style tables or Japanese cushioned platforms, which are collectively in the shape of a boat with a carved-out floor for the dangling legs of hungry, snooty patrons.
Gyuhama's sushi is delicious and has won several Best of Boston awards. The favorites of the Japanese and American trendy twenty-somethings who frequent the restaurant are the California Roll ($5.50), Unaki ($4.70), Vegetable Tempura and Chicken or Beef Teriyaki. Entrees are between $10 and $29. The miso soup and salad are traditional and excellent as well. The comprehensive menu is complemented by a large selection of mixed drinks, not to mention the excellent tangy-sweet Scorpion Bowls and potent hot sake.
Boston makes it possible for anyone to rock around the clock, at least until 2 a.m. Wok'n'Roll is convenient and cheap and a great place for masochists or people who want their dates to hate them for life. The Hard Rock Cafe pleases those with a taste for tourists and an Aerosmith fetish. And for the true gentlemen or classy ladies who wish to please both their tastebuds and their dates, Gyuhama's got the right rhythm. Rock on.FM