Tucked into the shopping center where you’ll find Office Depot and Petco — and right next door to the Verizon store — is the compact eatery Bento Teriyaki.
Friends have told me the food is good and finally we got a chance to try it for ourselves. Greg and I met Judie and friend Harry for dinner and ordered up a storm.
Bento Terikyaki is small but colorful, the walls awash in canvases of subjects ranging from a child’s nursery rhyme to natural scenes — and all are for sale. So you can satiate your hunger and buy that gift and save yourself some time and gasoline.
Harry had his usual chicken and pork teriyaki with miso soup ($8.95) and there wasn’t a bite left when he was done. Gone too quickly for me to request a taste. Greg ordered the teriyaki prawns and chicken combo ($10.95). Both meals came with white rice and a salad of fresh iceberg lettuce in a sweet dressing reminiscent of coleslaw. There are other teriyaki dishes on the menu: tofu, prawn skewer, beef short rib and salmon.
The table got mighty crowded with all the orders arriving and the plates these meals were served on were just slightly smaller than a flying saucer!
Judie and I both ordered yakisoba; Judie ordered veggie and I got the chicken ($7.95). Yakisoba is made with fried noodles not unlike what you’d find in chow mein — but the sauce here has a hint of sweet.
Other yakisoba choices are beef, pork, shrimp and tofu.
Other dishes were ordered “for the table.” Bento’s vegetable tempura was crisp and light and served nice ’n hot. Veggies included mushrooms, onion, zucchini and carrots. Prawn tempura also mixes in some veggies. Had to try the “Crispy Seafood Pancake,” a big flat but fluffy disk of tempura batter folded with green onion and chopped squid (aka calamari) and shrimp — all for $9.95.
Cecelia, who took our orders at the counter, is not the owner. Nevertheless, she told me she has worked for many years in Asian restaurants and she was impressed with the quality ingredients.
There is a plethora of dishes left to try next time. One of the “traditional Korean food specials,” the Beef Brisket Stew ($10.95) is made with sweet potato noodles, eggs and scallions. That sounds really good! The Bimim Bap, also a traditional Korean dish, is a mixture of rice topped with assorted vegetables and egg and served in a ceramic hot pot ($9.95).
Or try the Bulgogi ($10.95), thinly sliced marinated beef served on a sizzling-hot iron plate. Choose yours with or without barbecue sauce.
There are chicken lunch specials for $6.99 every day from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., some with egg roll, some with pot stickers, and even the sweet, crispy, spicy Chinese General Tao’s Chicken — always a favorite.
For $11.99, try the Bento-A: California roll
Other side orders include pot stickers (10 pieces for $4.95) and egg rolls (2 for $3.95).
Like stir-fried or fried rice? There’s chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, tofu or veggie.
If you’re a fan of Mongolian Beef, they’ve got it ($10.95). And fried chicken, too (Chicken Katsu, $8.95).
For the healthy-diet conscious, Bento Teriyaki offers brown rice for a dollar extra. Just ask.
Bento Teriyaki is a bubble tea lover’s paradise! For $3.95 you can choose from strawberry, peach, green tea, mango, honeydew, watermelon, kiwi, lychee, green apple, taro, coconut, banana or coffee. You can customize your sweets desire by adding tapioca pearls or coconut, passion fruit or mixed jelly.
On my way out the door I asked about their kimchi ($4.95). Cecelia offered to give this uninitiated one a taste and I cavalierly accepted. Whoa! In a word: Hot! As my hands waved wildly in the direction of my mouth, Cecelia mercifully handed me a cold cup of water. After a very big gulp I eventually found my voice again. If you like hot, you’ll like this.
Supposedly, Koreans each eat about 40 pounds a year of this dish made of fermented cabbage mixed with garlic, vinegar and chile peppers (sometimes noodles are thrown in for good measure).
I’m told Koreans say “kimchi” instead of “cheese” when it’s time to smile for the camera!
Now smile and say “kimchi.” Click!
Shelley Taylor and her husband relocated to the peninsula from California. By her own admission, Taylor likes to eat. Reach her at email@example.com.
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