Today I had my very first restaurant bento.
Since it's memorial day, BF and I had the day off. On our way to the grocery store, BF commented that it since it was lunch time, all of the restaurants would have lunch specials.
So we popped into our favorite Japanese restaurant where instead of the usual menus, they had a one page "Bento box specials" menu. Obviously, I was quite excited. I ordered the chicken teriyaki bento, BF ordered an unagi bento
Although the food was good, I was struck by two things as soon as the bento boxes were set on the table.
- There was less variety of food than I was expecting. My bento contained a garden salad, a chicken breast, vegetable tempura, white rice and an orange slice. Miso soup was served on the side.
- The boxes were huge! About the size of an average placemat. And the portions were huge as well. I felt like I was eating salad for ages, and in the end I only finished half of it. Same thing with the rice.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me, because I wasn't expecting to go out to lunch.
Overall, I felt a bit disappointed because everything I've read about Japanese cuisine has emphasized the importance of portion control and the health benefits of eating a large variety of different foods. These bentos seemed 'North Americanized' by comparison. My frustration was compounded by the fact that I know this restaurant has dozens of delicious dishes. I ended up thinking of all kinds of different combinations of their food that would make amazing bento lunches as I crunched away at my salad.
Has anyone else had an experience like this? I found myself wondering if a restaurant could do good business serving properly portioned authentic bento lunches, or whether as a city we're all too used to supersized meals.