Karma restaurant sneak peek: We visit Burlington version of eatery coming to Wellesley

With Asian fusion restaurant Karma on its way to Wellesley’s Linden Square, we got a jump on things by visiting Karma at the Burlington Mall. The local chain has four locations. Wellesley will be the fifth jewel in restauranteur Iverson Guo’s crown of upscale, sophisticated eateries.

We were unfamiliar with the Burlington area, so it took a tour of the mall parking lot for us to find the distinctive red pagoda-style front entrance. Impressive, heavy doors welcomed us from the sidewalk into the dining room. The restaurant can’t be be accessed from the mall.

We were joined by Nicci Kadilak, who publishes the Burlington Buzz, an online news source that focuses on Burlington, Mass. She’d visited Karma before and was ready with her recommendations. Nicci insisted we try the scallion pancakes ($11), and indeed, they were so good that Mrs. Swellesley’s advice for those visiting Karma when it opens here is, “Don’t go without trying them.” The order of six came to the table hot, flavorful, crispy, and served with a savory sauce.

Karma burlington
Flavorful & crispy scallion pancakes

Karma has a classy, fine-dining experience feel to it that is comfortable and welcoming. Seating options include booths, tables, and bar seating. We hear the cocktails are a specialty, but since day drinking isn’t our vibe we stuck with sodas. We were there at Karma’s Friday opening time of 11:30am, and the place filled up quickly around us.

Karma’s extensive menu focuses on Japanese assertive cuisine juxtaposed with the delicate sauces and styles of France. What that means—the chefs will make your order as spicy as you want it, but spicy isn’t a default option. You have to ask for it. Fresh herbs with a distinctly French flavor to them are in use, such as tarragon in some of the sushi dishes. Then again, jalapeño peppers bring Central American flair to many choices. Russia puts in an appearance with caviar, lots and lots of it, lending its briny luxury to many of Karma’s sushi offerings. Familiar classics are on the menu such as General Gao’s Chicken, Pad Thai, Crab Rangoon, and more. A multi-course Omakase menu, all the rage right now at area eateries, is available by reservation only. There are gluten-free options including chicken, steak, seafood, fresh vegetables, and more.

One way to experience a wide variety of the chefs’ sushi creations is to is order either the Great ($19) or Grand ($25) sushi lunch option, which includes miso soup and a salad. But be sure to emphasize that you are ordering the lunch special not the $118 sushi and sashimi platter for two. (Unless you’re looking for a truly huge lunch.)

Karma burlington
Karma in Burlington (we arrived as doors opened at 11:30am)

Gyoza is my must-order item at Asian restaurants, and Karma’s offering is tasty—the pork version has a sweetness to it and the covering is on the lighter side (less doughy than some dumplings I’ve had).

Karma burlington
Beautiful sushi and sashimi presentation, Karma, Burlington.

Look for Karma to open in Wellesley by Spring of 2023. Oath Pizza is another Linden Square place that will be coming soon.

Future home of Karma in Linden Square


Wellesley Square has also experienced a restaurant rebirth, with La Toscano, Laughing Monk, and Lockheart as new additions to that area.

Where to Eat in Wellesley