Restaurant of the Week: Bento Box

Bento Box Japanese Grill, 12202 Central Ave. (at Philadelphia), Chino; also, 2910 S. Archibald Ave. (at Riverside), Ontario

Casting about for a local place to have ramen, friends and I found Bento Box, about whose ramen a Yelp diner raved (“Try the Ramen. Dear God, try the Ramen”). We met for dinner at the Chino location, on Central just above the 60, part of a shopping center with Goodwill and 99 Cents stores.

Not promising, perhaps, but Bento Box (its website is here) has an impressive modernist interior with parquet flooring, a gleaming bar, the requisite industrial ceiling and indie rock on the playlist: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hot Chip and Vampire Weekend among them. Definitely hip. It was a quiet night, the music was unobtrusive and the conversation flowed. There’s no sushi bar, which may also keep the noise level down; sushi comes out of the kitchen.

Despite the Yelp rave, the menu had only one ramen soup ($9), which one of our group ordered. Sticking with the theme behind the restaurant’s name, I got a bento box with sushi and sashimi ($12, pictured), and the third got a baked lobster roll ($12). We found the food average, the atmosphere notable. Thursdays, the day we visited, drinks are half-price with an entree. One of us got a raspberry mojito for $4 and liked it.

In short, this shouldn’t be your first choice for Japanese food, but if you’re in the area, it’s a comfortable, pleasant spot to hang out.

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  • Andy Sze

    What did you cohorts think about the ramen? Is it decent? Is this ramen or is real ramen? The kind where pork and chicken bones are boiled for 10 hours to make the broth?

    Ramen takes a tremendous amount of preparation and to have only 2 ramen items on the menu, it appears suspect.

    • davidallen909

      My friend, a foodie, said the ramen wasn’t any better than the instant kind, although she admits she finished the whole bowl.

      • gail tang

        A good asian always finishes her bowl.