Community / Lifestyle

Laughing Monk Cafe is One of the Newest Restaurants in Wellesley

The Laughing Monk Cafe, which recently opened in Wellesley on 90 Central St next to Wellesley Books, is definitely a restaurant that people should try out when they want Japanese food. The restaurant offers a mix of Japanese and Thai cuisine. Most options are around $15, which is within a normal price range for Japanese food. The restaurant is closed on Monday but open for lunch and dinner through the rest of the week.

The restaurant has a nice, cozy, semi-formal atmosphere with tables that allow one to four guests to dine together. At the bar table, customers can watch the chefs prepare their meals, adding to the dining experience. In addition, a large screen behind the chefs contains changing scenery that will make the restaurant even more interesting.

Overall, the restaurant offers innovative and authentic Japanese cuisine but a limited Thai cuisine option compared to the other Thai restaurants located in Wellesley.

I really recommend the Ika (Squid) Sashimi (right) ($12) and the Cannon Sushi Roll (left) ($20.25).

Normally, sashimi in Japanese restaurants would only contain a few pieces of thinly sliced raw seafood. However, at Laughing Monk Cafe they wrapped the squid and a thin strip of seaweed around a few pieces of cucumber and perilla, a leafy green common in Japanese food, along with small wasabi spheres made by using a method called spherification. Raw squid doesn’t have a strong taste–there would be a hint of sweetness– but it does have an interesting texture where it is both crunchy and soft. The cucumber adds to the crunchiness while the perilla leaves and wasabi add a stronger flavor. 

The Cannon Sushi Roll contains shrimp tempura, raw tuna, cream cheese, surf clam, avocado, and flying fish roe. The flavor of cream cheese was really well balanced while the surf clam and shrimp tempura added a nice crunchy texture to the sushi roll.

The Sake (salmon) Belly Nigiri ($12.5), Amaebi (sweet shrimp) Sashimi ($20.25), and Pineapple Fried Rice with Beef ($19.95) were also really tasty but very similar to those offered in any other Japanese or Thai restaurant.

Therefore, these dishes are not something that everyone must try out.

Finally, I don’t recommend the Chicken Gyoza ($8.75) which was pan fried and came with a sweet soy sauce. Although the Gyoza was said to contain “chicken, wheat flour, cabbage, onion, garlic powder, sesame oil,” I could only taste the chicken, and the texture was too soft.

There is also an omakase option, where the chef decides for the customers what they will eat, but it is very expensive with a price of $159 per person.

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