I think of Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall as a place for tourists; it's where you grab a quick bite when you are showing an out of town guest the freedom trail. Mj, Amy and I were doing spa week appointments in the financial district and Mj suggested Wagamama for lunch beforehand. I agreed, I have been meaning to try Wagamama back when they opened their first US location in Cambridge. Wagamama is a London-based trendy Japanese noodle chain, and people in the UK seem to love it.
A couple of quirky things you should know before you go: 1) they write the order on the chalkboard table mat and 2) the food comes out when it's ready. That means you can be half done with your bowl of ramen before your friend gets her chicken katsu. I find this utterly ridiculous; every other sit down restaurant from the Michelin 3-star to the greasy diner can manage to coordinate cooking the meals so that they come out together, why can't they?
The service was neglectful, but what really put me off was when I ordered water:
G: I'll just have water
Obnoxious waiter guy: bottled?
G: No, tap is fine.
OWG: Are you sure? Bottled might be safer, it is Boston.
Are you kidding me? This is how he is trying to upsell me on the water? I insisted that tap was fine and that was the end of it. I should have really asked him what the noodles were boiled in or what the dishes were washed in, if he was so concerned about the hygiene of the water. For some reason I don't think they are using Evian.
How was the food? I had the seafood ramen. It was fine, not as good as the food stalls at the Porter Exchange. Mj has a noodle dish in a spicy coconut curry sauce. I think it had good flavor, but Mj found the heat overwhelming. Amy had a pan fried noodle dish that was topped with the saltiest picked radish ever. She didn't finish it. We also started with a duck gyoza with a cherry hoisin dip. The gyoza was dry and mediocre, but I liked the flavors in the sauce. I might steal that flavor combination.
It was a okay meal with offensive service. I don't really understand why they love it so much in London. Something is definitely lost in translation.