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Chomp!: Bento boxes are great for lunch

By by jessica rodrigo/jrodrigo@vicad.com
Nov. 17, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.


STAR RATING

FOOD: HHH

SERVICE: H

SCENE: HH

H = MehHH= GoodHHH = Great

TRY THISThe teppanyaki grill is more like dinner and a show; you get to see someone play with your food as it's cooked right in front of you. I've even gone once with one other person. Plus, if you sit with a full table, you can make new friends.

DETAILS

Address: 5006 N. Navarro St.Phone: 361-570-7227Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday

Fast Food

THE MEAL:SALMON TERIYAKI BENTO BOX

THE RESTAURANT:TOKYO GRILLTHE ONE SENTENCE REVIEW:GREAT DEAL FOR LUNCH

If Thanksgiving could be any less synonymous with a food, I think it would be sushi. Well, maybe not, but I think some might agree with me. That's why, to get you thinking about something other than turkey and dressing, I wanted to write about Tokyo Grill.

I've been there for both lunch and dinner, but lunch can sometimes be a challenge. Sushi in under an hour can be hard. Thankfully, they have other food on their lunch menu. Shoot for the teppanyaki grill for lunch, and you're probably bound to go over the typical allotment for lunch breaks. Unless, of course, you are looking to impress someone or celebrate a special occasion.

The teppanyaki cooks are good at what they do, and I do recommend experiencing being seated at one of the grills. My favorite part is when they make the volcano; it makes me feel like a kid at the circus.

Kat and I met for lunch one day and she honed in on the oyako donburi, which she said she loves. It's a chicken and egg dish served over rice.

The bento boxes are a great steal for lunch. They have three pieces of California roll, shrimp and vegetable tempura, steamed rice and your choice of entree. I chose the salmon teriyaki. I also ordered an eel roll.

We decided to order calamari as an appetizer. It was going to be a ton of food.

Unfortunately, before our food arrived - any of it - Kat got called away to cover breaking news. So, there I was sitting at the table alone and hungry. On the bright side, I wasn't going to have to share my food with anyone (Just kidding. I boxed up her food and took it back to the newsroom so she could eat when she was finished with her assignment).

The calamari was battered lightly and fried to perfection. Each little ring crispy and lightly browned. It came out with a side of spicy mayonnaise and spicy ketchup, which tasted a bit like barbecue sauce. I was trying my best not to fill up since I still had a lot of other stuff to try.

My eel roll arrived next and I was excited. I know I ordered it every time I am there (in some variation at least), but it is just so good. If you haven't had it, you will either love it or hate it - there is no in between. It's cooked or smoked and usually comes drizzled with eel sauce, which is a dark, almost syrupy sauce that has a sweet, but slightly salty flavor.

Our entrees arrived after I killed half of my roll and I wasn't sure how much room I was going to have for my bento box. Kat was still out and chances were she was going to be out for the duration of the meal.

The salmon portion was a little smaller than I anticipated, but after the calamari and my eel roll, I wouldn't have been able to eat any more than the bit they gave me. The tempura piled into the box included two shrimp, zucchini and sweet potato.

My one problem with the tempura was that they dip them in panko breadcrumbs before dropping them into the fryer, which made for a lot of breading on a small shrimp. All-in-all, the flavors were good and there was more than enough for one meal.

If you stop by Tokyo Grill for lunch, try the bento boxes. It is a great option for a little of everything.

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