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Best Bento?

chowbound Oct 25, 2002 12:50 AM

ISO yummy bento lunches anywhere in NYC, esp. Chelsea to Midtown. High quality, variety, more important than value (but that's a nice plus). My belly thanks you.

  1. k
    Kerry Oct 25, 2002 11:20 AM

    I **lurve** the special bentos at the new Ise Downtown on Pine Street. They can include anything from grilled sardines to sweet shrimp to ebi fry...yum yum yum

    8 Replies
    1. re: Kerry
      Minna Oct 25, 2002 03:09 PM

      What 'special bento'?

      i have a copy of the Ise on Pine take out menu right here and do not see any bento listed in it.
      maybe they do not allow take out of bento.
      then what is the point of bento,
      please advise.

      1. re: Minna
        Kerry Oct 25, 2002 03:54 PM

        It's not a take-out bento. They have bento specials every day but only for eat-in.

        1. re: Minna
          Eric Eto Oct 25, 2002 04:30 PM

          Good point. I was a bit confused about this as well. The word bento assumes portability, so I naturally assumed items packaged for takeout. In Japanese, the word bento typically means lunchbox. But I have noticed that most people think of it as a multi-sectioned tray, as in bento box specials at restaurants. It'll be helpful to specify which kind you mean. My recs are for the portable ones.

          1. re: Eric Eto
            Kerry Oct 25, 2002 04:41 PM

            thanks for the explanation. I guess I misunderstood your request.

            It would be nice if we had portable bento boxes here like they do at some Japanese railway stations. And if we could have those wonderful vending machines that dispense absolutely everything, including hot rice balls.

            1. re: Kerry
              Minna Oct 25, 2002 05:14 PM

              FYI. After initially reading your message, I was so intrigued that Ise may have bento, that I called them and asked. They said the "combination platters" are basically bento.

              But these "bento" are pretty expensive, like the rest of the stuff on the menu.
              The cheapest "bento" is $17.00!

              1. re: Minna
                Kerry Oct 26, 2002 02:03 PM

                Yes they are rather expensive, but there was a delicious special for $11 the other day with maguro yamakake.

              2. re: Kerry
                chowbound Oct 25, 2002 09:21 PM

                I meant either eat-in or takeout, so I welcome more suggestions of either type. I will try the ones already generously mentioned. I generally prefer eat-in anything because it's hottest and freshest. Tonight we ordered deliv from (the 2nd "famous original" Chelsea) Grand Sichuan (3 blocks away) and it took 45 min or so and was lukewarm and overcooked in its own steam by then... ick

                1. re: chowbound
                  radford Oct 28, 2002 09:16 AM

                  i was gonna post about this earlier, but i think i found the key to getting good take out from GSI. i was never that impressed with my delivery before but the last time i ordered from GSI i told the hostess that i was chinese and to tell the chef to make it very authentic. the food i got was ten times better than my previous orders and i could read on the check, in chinese, that she had written, "for a chinese person"
                  who knows, maybe i just lucked out and got a good chef. but i figured chowhounds would appreciate any tips that might unlock a great meal.
                  good luck.

        2. e
          Eric Eto Oct 25, 2002 01:24 PM

          Good takeout bentos are available at Yagura market on 41st near Madison. These are normally filled with Japanese comfort food items, like katsu fried hamburger, niku-jaga, fried fish cakes, kinpira gobo (burdock), and umeboshi on the rice, among other things. All for a measly $6.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Eric Eto
            Kerry Oct 25, 2002 02:14 PM

            I second Yagura, also, Cafe Zaiya and Ten Kai.

          2. t
            tuj2 Oct 25, 2002 02:51 PM

            Yodo on 47th btwn 5th & Mad. Lunch specials comes with great little side dishes. Fav-chestnut rice.

            1. w
              Wendy L. Oct 26, 2002 03:50 PM

              My best friend and I used to have the bento specials one every 1 or 2 weeks at ISE located around 49th St. betw. 3rd & Lex. It was a little pricey based on the specials (~$11-16) but it was well worth it. Great quality stuff.

              Kind of a side/related question, does anyone know where I can buy a neat bento box/compartamentalized neat lunch box? I work in LI now and I'm tired of pizza and P&B sandwiches.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Wendy L.
                hajime7 Oct 17, 2006 06:51 PM

                If you like tonkatsu, Katsuhama on 47th St is tasty Tonkatsu-centric bentos. (click here for my recent blog entry about bentos: http://misterstarfish.typepad.com/mis... )

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