31 March 2009

Tuesday Adventures

Obento-ya
Maguro Nigiri (Tuna Sushi)
Yakiniku Classic Bento:
- steamed white rice
- spring greens with house dressing
- Japanese creamy potato salad
- sauteed beef slices with miso-garlic sauce
Miso soup
Hot green tea

I was looking forward to trying this place. I have been to several sushi-focused Japanese restaurants in the Twin Cities
Obento-ya, however, is focused on bento.

According to Wikipedia,
Bentō (弁当 or べんとう) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine.
Shōkadō bentō (松花堂弁当) is a traditional black-lacquered Japanese bento box.

I started with hot tea and a pair of nigiri. Since I was seated at the sushi bar, I was able to watch the sushi chef prepare my nigiri. She sliced the tuna and hand-formed the rice into an oblong ball; then she added a smear of wasabi before pressing the fish and rice together.

When I had finished my sushi, the waitress brought my bento box, along with a bowl of miso soup. The sushi chef continued to work quickly and efficiently, filling additional orders from the dining room part of the restaurant. When I was nearly finished, she asked me if I had ever been to Japan. I replied that I had, about a year ago. She smiled broadly and then told me what had tipped her off: "Americans don't hold the bottom of the bowl!"
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(Thanks to Pay a bluish oak for the picture!)

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