December 29, 2013
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Tornado

A fascinating neighborhood restaurant, Tornado, has opened to serve asian-inspired tapas in the local cursed-restaurant spot. On Sunday evenings, they serve a 4-course testing menu at $35. This one’s worth a detour or more, even in ghastly weather. (And it’s right next to the Malden Center Orange Line.)

We started we a generous piece of tuna collar, nicely seasoned and beautifully sautéed. Then we had a little salad with pepper bread croutons, a bit of steak, an oyster mushroom, a piece of candied bacon, and some sweet-potato straw. Course 3 involved fetuccine (clearly fresh), a lovely miso broth, and grilled eel. And then for dessert we had a little fortress of fried sweet-potato logs seasoned with truffled honey, a dollop of homemade vanilla ice cream, and a smear of fresh strawberry bits and orange preserves. Not rocket science, I suppose, but absolutely delicious and the best possible use of truffled honey.

Shanie Leung and Michael Chang have a great space here and a very promising menu. They’re local foodies, and so the natural analogy is Journeyman. and perhaps Craigie Street Bistro in its early years. Tornado is explicitly Asian fusion, a concept that has gone from trendy to stale with great speed. But perhaps it’s not so much “fusion” as “new American home cooking, reinterpreted with dedication and intelligence.”