Dulcet & Studio | Review

The folks behind ramen institution Tampopo and this selfservice joint clearly know their clientele of expats and young professionals. Its Japanese-Western fare, soothing grey and dark wood color scheme (including a cutesy feature wall stenciled with cooking utensils) and slow pop tunes all cater to the clean-cut crowd. Service is quick and cheerful (you order at the front counter but food is brought to you) and the tight menu boasts simple, easy-to-appreciate flavors. There’s a warming mug of thick mushroom cappuccino ($5.50) and side salads with refreshing jellyfish ($4.50), but it’s the fresh pastas that are the main event here. Plates like mentaiko tagliolini ($13) tossed with salmon cubes, as well as the mild black pig bolognese fettucini ($12) have a sort of Asian-style lightness, while the generous portions make them a good deal, too. There’s also the option to upgrade your meal to a set: salad or soup and bread ($3), or a drink and dessert ($6). Sweets are familiar favorites from Tampopo, of which the faultless cream puff ($2.50) is our top pick. Wash it all down with some wines, five reds (from $32/bottle) and six whites (from $27/ bottle); surprising for a self-service joint. The best value though is the all-day, all-week happy hour with two bottles of Tiger or Asahi for $9. This is a comfy, affordable spot, and the food’s no slouch. We can’t complain.