There’s something for everyone at Mix-It Sushi Noodle Grill, a reasonably priced Asian restaurant with an eclectic menu. Nice decor, good service, and very fresh food make it a good spot for a date night.
The newly opened all-over-Asia eatery does not exactly instill confidence with its name. A menu that spans many pages and cuisines is usually a red flag. Forget that for a moment and forge ahead. This little spot between Harvard and Porter squares serves a mix of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and sushi, and it’s punching way above its weight.
Business partners Nancy Jitaruek and Woody Parinyawut worked together at Spice Thai Cuisine and 9 Tastes Thai Cuisine, both in Harvard Square, before striking out on their own. Everything we taste, from the tuna nigiri ($5.95 for 2 pieces) to crispy chicken basil ($12.95), is delicious and beautifully plated.
The restaurant, which opened last Thanksgiving Day, looks as if the paint is still drying, with deep red walls, modern light fixtures, a long handsome bar, and a white, wavy accent wall of molded plaster. Floor-to-ceiling windows facing Mass. Ave. will no doubt be thrown open for alfresco(ish) dining when spring blooms.
For an appetizer, ubiquitous avocado salad ($5.95) appears in a far more dramatic presentation than we are accustomed to; the crab stick, mayo, cucumber, and tempura flakes arrive wrapped like a birthday present in delicate slices of avocado, topped with orange tobiko. Vegetable tempura ($6.95) is airy, with tender-crisp vegetables and a sweet dipping sauce. Agedashi tofu ($6.95) also appears in an elegant guise — small cubes of the lightly fried tofu topped with bonito flakes and shaved daikon sit in the bottom of a large porcelain bowl; you are given a small pitcher of the umami-packed dashi broth to pour into it. Crisp pockets of chicken gyoza ($6.95) come with a decorative salad, and soy dipping sauce.
The kitchen has a way with all things fried crunchy. That Thai-style crispy chicken basil has juicy strips of golden chicken tossed with stir-fried onions, red and green peppers, plenty of fresh basil, and a sweet-hot sauce that packs a punch, served with fluffy rice. Khao soi is a steaming hot bowl of spicy yellow chicken and vegetable coconut curry, teeming with rice noodles and topped with more noodles, deep fried until crisp.
But don’t let that keep you from the sushi menu. Besides the skillfully cut tuna nigiri, an eel avocado roll ($5.95) tastes sweet and super fresh. Nonfish eaters will like sweet potato tempura maki ($4.95) and an oshinko (Japanese pickle) roll ($3.50). The only disappointment is the snow mountain roll ($6.95), a shrimp tempura maki roll topped with crabstick and tempura flakes with Japanese mayo. It’s just crunchy and creamy, with nothing to cut through the richness.
So often when a restaurant aims to please everyone, you end up with less than you bargained for. With its delicious, continent-spanning cuisine, attention to detail, and very reasonable prices, Mix-It is the exception to the rule.
Catherine Smart can be reached at email@example.com.