This Review of Zuma Boston at Four Seasons One Dalton is from our recent omakase dinner. Read on for photos and our impressions of Zuma Boston, one of sixteen locations of this popular modern izakaya concept started in London, which also is in New York, Las Vegas, and Miami in the U.S.
Zuma Boston Location and Hours
Zuma Boston opened in 2019, as did the Four Seasons One Dalton Street, Boston Hotel that it's located in. Both are open, post-pandemic. Zuma serves lunch Wednesday-Sunday 11:30am-2:30pm, and dinner nightly from 5:30-9:30pm.
One Dalton Street is located in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, near the Hynes Convention Center (the Hynes Convention Center T Station is the closest station) and Newberry Street shopping. The Boston Public Garden and the Four Seasons Hotel Boston is a 20 minute walk away.
Zuma Boston Menu and Food
Zuma was born from Chef Rainer Becker's sojourns in Australia, at the Park Hyatt Sydney, and Japan, at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Of Zuma, he explains that he wanted to create the informality of Japanese Izakaya (pub) dining, with its variety of small plates and the very informal, social dining experiences in Australia, but also wanted “something more elegant, incorporating the beautiful design elements I had seen in Japan.”
Zuma's menu reflects the small plate approach; while there are large plates, the menu leads with omakase choices and a number of appetizer options.
Since we were both quite hungry and wanted to try a variety of dishes, we opted for the regular Omakase Signature, which consisted of 10 dishes plus a sushi/sashimi sampler, as well as a dessert sampler. Here's what we were served:
1. Steamed Baby Spinach with Sesame Dressing
This was a simple but delicious start; the sweet sesame dressing could encourage even reluctant spinach eaters to enjoy this, although both of us already enjoy spinach.
2. Rock Shrimp Tempura with Chili Tofu
The rock shrimp tempura with chili tofu dip was excellent and one of our favorite courses, especially with the recommended squeeze of lime.
3. Yellowtail Sashimi with Green Chili Relish, Ponzu and Pickled Garlic
Hamachi (yellowtail) is one of my favorite fishes, so if anything, I wished the sashimi slices were a bit thicker for this dish. With such thin slices, the relish and ponzu were the dominant flavors.
4. Fried Softshell Crab with Wasabi Mayo
This wasn't as expertly fried as the tempura, but was still tasty, especially with the wasabi mayo.
5. Seabass Sashimi with Yuzu Truffle Dressing and Salmon Roe
The seabass sashimi was likewise sliced very thinly, but served as a great vehicle for the salmon roe and the citrusy yuzu dressing.
6. Salmon Tartare
While this was a pretty presentation, the salmon tartare itself was decidedly average.
7. Sushi and Sashimi Sampler
Again, this was a beautiful presentation on ice, but the sushi was mixed. Admittedly, spicy tuna isn't my favorite (with really good quality tuna, why would you spice it so heavily?) but the roll was one of my least favorite things. The torched salmon belly sushi, however, was delicious.
8. Grilled Scallops
These grilled scallops, one for each of us, were one of our favorites of the omakase.
9. Spicy Beef Tenderloin
Spicy beef tenderloin is one of Zuma's signature dishes. While I'm not personally a huge meat eater, it was very good, and I could see why steak lovers would enjoy this. Note that the medium is rare, so this dish isn't for those who like their meat well done.
10. Black Cod in Saikyo Miso Wrapped in Hoba Leaf / Asparagus
This was our favorite savory dish, so save room for it given how late it comes in the omakase. We saved some for my husband, who couldn't come to this dinner, and he loved it. If we were to come back and do a la carte, we'd make sure to order this dish.
Asparagus came at the same time as the cod, and while fine, it paled in comparison.
11. Zuma Deluxe Dessert Platter
While there was a significant wait for the dessert platter, it was beautiful to behold when it came out. It featured yuzu cheesecake (fine, but our least favorite); fresh fruit; mango sorbet and vanilla bean ice cream; and our favorite, the green tea and banana cake with toffee sauce.
Zuma Boston Service
Rainer Becker has noted that “service is as important if not more so than the food. Mistakes can happen but it is how it is dealt with that makes the difference.” So how did Zuma Boston's service stack up? We reserved through the restaurant's online system and specifically noted that we wanted a quiet table with a nice view, and yet the hostess was going to seat us in a louder and more crowded part of the restaurant, until I requested a seating elsewhere. I also noted that our visit was celebratory, but at no point was this recognized.
On the other hand, our server and the kitchen paid scrupulous attention to our severe allergy, so that was appreciated. We asked the server how long the regular omakase meal should take, and she said we could have it in 90 minutes. In fact it was well over 90 minutes by the time we received our dessert, so the estimate was somewhat off. On the plus side, our server was knowledgeable about the ingredients and preparation of all the dishes, and kept our water glasses filled. Some of her more junior colleagues were pleasant enough, but one one occasion was 1) uncertain whether a dish belonged on our table or someone else's; and 2) didn't know what the dish was. I asked one of the more junior colleagues about what the name Zuma means, and she had no idea, murmuring that I should “ask the server.”
Is Zuma ideal for superb traditional sushi? No. But if you're seeking a variety of delicious modern Japanese tastes, Zuma's omakase meal hits the spot, and in our experience, was paced well until the protracted wait prior to the dessert. Service from our main server was very good, although some of the other staff who serviced our table were pleasant, but not as knowledgeable. Something to keep in mind, for Four Seasons One Dalton Boston guests, is that unfortunately, since Zuma is third party owned, the Four Seasons Preferred Partner $100 credit ($200 for suites) can't be used towards Zuma dining.
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits