As we all know, New England winters are cold, windy and a generally depressing time. Going out some days for food can mean putting on a gratuitous amount of layers which sometimes proves to be a waste of time. There’s nothing fun about a disappointing meal on a cold day. But, if you happen to be braving the cold this winter on Commonwealth Avenue, make sure to pop in to Love Art Udon for a good meal and an even better atmosphere.
Love Art Udon, which opened on 1024 Commonwealth Avenue a little over a year ago, provides the perfect blend of traditional Japanese food fused with American style service while immersing you in an aesthetic environment, creating the ideal atmosphere to be in on a cold New England day.
For those who don’t know, udon is a thick, traditional wheat flour Japanese noodle commonly served in soup. Although udon is not as well known in American society as ramen is, Love Art Udon brings a Japanese classic to the table effortlessly with their Western, buffet line style service.
Offering nine different types of udon, Love Art Udon’s menu is easy to navigate while still being unique with its offerings. For many people, udon is inherently paired with some sort of broth, but Love Art Udon steps away from that tradition with its menu featuring five sauce-based udons for those who aren’t a huge fan of soup, along with their more standard four broth-based bowls.
Once you’ve selected your bowl, it is made directly in front of you by the staff buffet style, with the option to add or take away any ingredients as you wish. We sampled the original ($10.50), spicy miso ($10) and curry ($10.50) udons while at the restaurant, but if those or any of the other nine don’t sound appealing to you, they have an option to create your own bowl tailored exactly to your liking.
The curry udon was a new concept for me, one made even more interesting with its inclusion of sweet potato tempura along with the curry. It was rich and savory, exactly what one would want from a curry udon. The original was just that: a classic. Simple in its ingredients, consisting of beef and onion, scallions, tempura flakes and kamaboko (fish cake), the original udon evokes a sense of nostalgia for anyone who has ever eaten classic udon before while having enough flavor to elevate it from being basic.
Lastly, the spicy miso udon with its chili minced pork and chili paste was certainly delicious but not for those who aren’t up for a lot of spicy flavor in their soups. The chili was slightly overpowering compared to the other flavors in the bowl, so I recommend that you consider getting a side order of tempura to cut the spiciness.
Once I had finished my bowls, I found that I did have a few critiques. Overall, it’s great to be served immediately, but because the ingredients do not spend a lot of time in the broth, they are not able to soak up the maximum amount of flavor that you might want in a noodle soup. As well as that, I found the bowls to be a little lacking in broth and were disappointed that you could not have egg as a topping.
However, the atmosphere of the restaurant makes up for any little critique we may have had. Immediately upon walking in, your eyes are drawn to two major aspects of the interior: on the right-hand wall, a bright pink neon sign reading “Tasty Noodz” over a backdrop of fake leaves, and on the left, a wall-length mural done by Japanese artist Hayato Kawaii. Kawaii’s mural, with its anime and street art fusion, is gorgeous and adds a whole new layer of ambiance to the restaurant.
Love Art Udon, through its new take on a Japanese classic, is able to create a wonderful dining experience, not only through its udon bowls but through the restaurant’s trendy, modern layout. The mix of Japanese cuisine and culture transports customers from the drab, cold streets of New England to the bustling streets of Japan, creating an experience (and a meal) that customers won’t soon forget.