East Japanese’s $5 Restaurant Quality Lunch Is “Un-ignorable”

East Japanese 253 W 55th, NYCBefore we dared to stuff two fried chicken fillets between biscuits and before we knew of Franken pie, there was a time when I got excited over good deals from places I walk by everyday. The other week, I passed East Japanese (on W 55th btw 8th+Bway) which had a banner advertising its awesome $5 Hiru-Bento AKA an “un-ignorable and unforgettable restaurant quality to-go lunch with restaurant price!” I’m a sucker for hype (Momo. What? Where!), but love cheap and satisfying grub even more. (Unintentionally funny translations are just a bonus.) So, of course, I had to find out what’s inside the box…

The Hiru-Bento left no stone unturned. All food groups were represented. Sure, they were slightly on the cold side, but look at the loot: Fried marinated chicken, fried fishcake, white fish fillets, katsu and tartar sauce (which reminded me of an onion-flavored potato salad), lotus root, some plum tomatoes, pickles, lemon wedge, 1 pound of white rice and even plastic sushi box grass.

East Japanese Hiru-Bento Lunch BoxOne whole pound of perfectly cooked – sort of cold – white rice! I know this doesn’t sound that appealing until I tell you I paid all of $5.45, including tax, for the massive box. Maybe it’s because I have a very hard time cooking rice evenly, but I was thrilled with the “just right” chewy consistency of their grains. So good.

My favorite protein was the breaded fish fillets, which was even better with a squeeze of lemon juice. The fried chicken cutlets were the least impressive. Hard to chew – need I say more?

When I arrived, there were six brown shopping bags ready to go with Hiru-Bentos inside. It seemed a bit suspicious to have ready-made, supposedly hot food standing for who knows how long. Still, I don’t mind! Even the un-ignorable unchewable chicken cutlets don’t bother me because for $5.45, this filling lunch is a steal.

East Japanese, 253 West 55th St. (btw. 8th+Bway) 212-581-2240


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