Bento Box opened last week at 16th & K, on a stretch of Sacramento that might be called the Sushi Row (H/T to the Sac Biz Journal, where I first saw the term coined).
With such a crowded market, can Bento Box be successful? After my first visit there on Friday evening, I think the answer is yes.
We decided to try a couple different things on their menu to see if they could excel at their diverse menu.
First, we ordered the mixed tempura ($9).
It came with 3 shrimp, a couple spears of asparagus, and a couple pieces of zucchini, carrots, broccoli. In total, we had about a dozen pieces. The tempura was lightly breaded and perfectly fried. It had great crunch and wasn’t oily. The vegetables inside were hot, but not scalding. Turns out they could make fried food. But any fast food chain can make fried food. Time for their next challenge – sashimi.
We ordered 9 pieces of sashimi for $14. I’ll admit that I only recognized 4 out of the 5 pieces of of raw fish on the platter, but the salmon, Hamachi and tuna were excellent. The seafood was fresh and the slices were expertly cut by a true craftsman. When we go back, we might just order a plate salmon and Hamachi. That’s how much we enjoyed it.
The service was a little uneven, but it wasn’t because they weren’t trying. Our order was taken quickly and efficiently. Just as our glasses were about to be dry, they were refilled. The server accidentally charged us for one too many beers, and quickly removed it from the bill when I pointed it out. She also forgot to bring a pen after bringing me the credit card slip to sign. But those are little things that can and I’m sure will be fixed.
The owner Jonathan and General Manager Eddie worked the floor the entire night and seemed to introduce themselves to every table. (The manager says they’ll have a happy hour soon, with a late night happy hour on the weekends. Stay tuned to Cowtown Eats for details.) We happened to sit at the sushi bar and Chef Jimmy was a real treat to sit and watch. He also tipped us off to the fact that they’ll be serving a wild black rice sushi very soon.
Even though they had only been open two days, I really enjoyed my dinner there. We each ordered two beers (two draft Sapporos, a Coors light and a Kolsh for $5 each) and our bill ended up being $68, including tax and tip. It wasn’t inexpensive, but it was probably a couple bucks cheaper than it would have been at higher end sushi restaurants.
Bento Box is definitely off on the right foot. They’re already doing great lunch businesses, their food out of the gate is already top notch, and I’m sure their service hiccups will get fixed. Next time I go, I look forward to trying their udon and bi bim bap.
Read previous Instant Reactions:
- Seasons 52
- Krush Burger - The Restaurant
- LowBrau Bierhall
- New Helvetia Brewing Co.
- Tako Korean BBQ
- Bacon & Butter
- Firestone Public House
- Cheese Louise
- Blackbird Kitchen & Bar
- Fuzion Eatz
- Doritos Locos Tacos
- Red Rabbit
- Republic by Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen
- Mongo Mongo Mongolian BBQ
- Coast to Coast Sandwiches
- The Porch
- Wicked 'Wich
- Fat Face in Bows & Arrows
- Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen
- Gogi Korean BBQ
- Mini Burger Truck
- Star Ginger
- Pizza Rock, Dive Bar & District 30