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Masao's Kitchen

Nestled within the Japanese-dominated food court in the Porter Exchange, Masao's Kitchen offers light, healthy macrobiotic and vegetarian cuisine -- a welcome change of pace for those of us with generally traditional eating habits.

Aside from basics like hummus ($3.50) and baked tofu ($3.50 as an appetizer), good bets for beginners are the pan-fried noodles with vegetables ($7) -- organic whole-wheat or buckwheat noodles laden with spinach, scallions, mushrooms, onions, and a touch of garlic -- or the stir-fried salmon and vegetables ($6.50), served with brown rice and miso soup.

For the more adventurous, the red snapper soup with sun-dried tomato and vegetables ($5, available only at dinner) is a spicy, savory treat. Or try the fried tempeh spiral appetizer, which consists of rolled thinly sliced tempeh (fermented soybean), sliced carrot, dill pickles, and nori.

The waiters are eager to help inexperienced diners make up their minds, and the food is prepared fresh from "95 to 100 percent" organic ingredients -- without MSG, sugar, dairy products, or preservatives.

Masao's Kitchen, located at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, in Cambridge, is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 9 p.m. Call 497-7348.

-- Katie Ellias


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