Iga Bento (Honolulu, HI)
I had heard rumors about my favorite bento place, Imari (on Keeaumoku St, right across from the mega Wal-Mart building) being closed.... but when I passed by yesterday, I was very happy to see that another bento place has taken its place. The interior hadn't changed too much, aside from a wall addition, and the menu looks somewhat similar.... but the prices have definitely taken a hike.
I ordered a 2-item bento (which came out be over $9), with a selection of Japanese-style "hambagah" and chicken karraage (Japanese-style fried chicken). It came with rice, tsukemono, a small scoop of potato salad and ketchup-spaghetti.
Though I really appreciate that they make bentos to order and that it comes piping hot, I was pretty disappointed by the bento in general. Instead of grated daikon and ponzu, the hamburger was practically drowning in Bulldog sauce and the chicken karraage was all wrong. Instead of the crispy, mochiko exterior, the batter of the chicken was like the chewy exterior of a carnival funnel cake. Overall, mediocre stamp of approval.
I don't feel compelled to go back and try another bento.... it just means that I have to go on another journey to find a really good Japanese bento in town. RIP, Imari!