Located in Brighton, a neighborhood just 6 miles away from Boston proper, Yamato Japanese Restaurant is a valuable find for those with strong cravings for sushi. Given the average price of $8-$10 per maki roll in other sushi restaurants around Boston, an all-you-can-eat $16 lunch/ $24 dinner option seems like an obvious choice. To be frank, this restaurant is by no means the best sushi or sushi buffet restaurant I’ve ever had, but for the only sushi buffet location accessible by Boston public transit, this place is great for a sushi buffet fix in Boston (the next buffet place would be Minados in Natick 22 miles away). For the price, location, and all-you-can-eat made-to-order sushi, this Yamato Japanese Restaurant is hard to beat as the most economical way to binge on enjoy a wide variety of sushi in Boston.
First things first, aside from maybe Seaweed Salad and Miso Soup to get things started, I would not recommend getting any of their appetizers. You are here for sushi and Yamato is here to provide that for you; focus on your main goal. More often than not, the non-sushi appetizers are prepared sloppily and only fills you up before you can maximize your sushi intake. The fried dumplings and calamari that Yamato served, for example, were bland and tasteless.
Diving straight into the preferred sashimi selection, we had cuts of Salmon (Sake), Bass (Suzuki), Tuna (Maguro), Yellowtail (Hamachi), Squid (Ika) and Mackerel(Saba). Salmon sashimi is recognizable with its bright orange and white stripes. This sashimi was pretty average with a creamy texture, but did not contain the subtle sweetness that one would find in fresh caught salmon of the Pacific Northwest. The Bass carried a light red and white color with a smooth texture, but was served ice cold… The red-hued Tuna was pretty good with a slightly tender texture and fresh taste. Light beige in color, Yellowtail cuts had a smooth texture and subtle sweet taste. The white circular pieces of squid were as expected: rough, chewy texture, with a gelatinous, rubbery taste. Mackerel pieces have a grey skin attached to white meat and are pretty interesting. They have a slightly savory taste and texture of cooked fish.
For nigiri we got Eel (Unagi) and Salmon Roe (Ikura). Eel sushi is not served raw, but grilled with a sweet bbq sauce composed of soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. The nigiri is further garnished with sesame and bound to rice with a seaweed wrap. Without an option for Eel sashimi, the Eel Nigiri was pretty delicious. Salmon Roe Nigiri was also a good choice, as the round, bright orange salmon eggs burst (literally) with an explosion of savory flavor moderated by a piece of sushi rice.