Last year I raved about Ruka Boston in my restaurant review, but Sergio was not able to join me so when we found ourselves at the Godfrey Hotel’s second anniversary party recently, it was an easy decision to see if we could get a table at Ruka. This restaurant is part of the COJE Restaurant Group, which also owns and manages, Yvonne’s and Lolita. The over-the top design aesthetic and embellishments that are a hallmark of their other restaurants is on display here with pan-Asian themes running throughout this space that offers a fusion of Peruvian, Japanese and Chinese cuisine.
We were lucky to have a table open in a cozy corner just as we walked in and were promptly seated with a great view of the dining room and bar but away from the bustling aisles that are filled with runners either bringing out or collecting plates. The small plates menu of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine referred to as nikkei really makes their menu unique in Boston so on this visit I opted to order some of my favorite plates from our last visit and try a few new plates.
Since Sergio and I were only ordering from the small plates menu the food came out quickly, which was good because by the time we sat down we were famished. First to come out was one of my favorite dishes from my previous visit, the plancha broccoli is served warm with curry, peanuts and topped with broccoli stem fritters. The plate was equally satisfying a second time around. The salty plate is what I would describe as a crowd pleaser and probably one I will continue to order on future visits.
Our servers also brought out at the same time the Dan Dan Noodles shown below. I had not tried this on my previous visit and it was something that caught Sergio’s eye. The plate is one of the larger portions and includes mushrooms, Chinese broccoli and peanuts over a bed of thin Chinese Dan Dan noodles. While I didn’t find any of the plates we ordered particularly spicy, this did have a bit of a kick, which I believe may have been from the chili oil.
Slightly more spicy and a pleasant surprise was the Lima Style Calamari. I rarely order calamari but it is a favorite dish of Sergio’s so I wasn’t particularly surprised when he ordered it. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ruka’s take on this classic Italian plate. “Lima Style” comes with a lot of garlic butter, red onions and chilies. If you don’t want the extra kick it is easy to pick around the chilies. This was the surprise plate of the night for me. I had little interest in it when served and found myself going back to it again and again.
Our final plate of the evening was also the most filling – the Chao Shou Pork Wontons. Served in chile oil, black vinegar, cilantro and topped with crispy sweet potato crisps, it was as delicious and satisfying as I recalled from my previous visit. Although this proved to be one of the more troubling plates for me to snag one of the slippery wontons with my chop sticks.
Consistently providing good service and creating plates that satisfy can be a real challenge for many restaurants but on my return visit to Ruka I was impressed by the attentive (but not obtrusive) service, consistency in the plates that I tried for a second time as well as the two plates I tried for the first time on this visit.
I will be back again to try more plates, and I’d recommend you check out Ruka in Downtown Crossing if you’ve never been.
505 Washington Street (DTX)
(617) 266-0102 || rukarestobar.com