Iroha Brings Decent Bentos To Times Square

Since their regular lunch sets have always been out of the ML price range, I’d only been to Iroha for dinner, mostly for sushi. However, back in April, Iroha launched take out bentos at lunchtime. While reasonably priced bentos that don’t compromise quality are found in abundance on 41st street between Madison & Fifth, they can be a little harder to come by in northern Times Square.

The good news is, Iroha is offering a handful of bentos for under $10.  The bad news? They are takeout only, and you have to pay cash.

The first bento I tried was the Kara-age ($9.50). It came with two fried shumai, broccoli, a california roll, hijiki (not kinpara, as advertised) and a small miso soup. In the entree area sat five pieces of marinated, fried dark meat chicken over cabbage, accompanied by a lemon wedge. My favorite way to eat kara-age is to sprinkle a little shichimi togarashi (Japanese red pepper flakes) on top, spritz a little lemon and dip the chicken very lightly in soy sauce. All these items came with the bento, so I was a happy camper.

The salmon teriyaki was also $9.50 and came with all the same items as the kara-age bento. The fish had a nice glaze on it, and I was pleased that it wasn’t too thick or cloyingly sweet, which is a common problem with teriyaki sauce. One thing to note is that the fish was well done, so if you like your fish cooked differently, this might not be the right pick for you. Luckily, there are other options.

The only thing lacking was a bit of rice on the side … not because I was still hungry, but because it just felt missing. I didn’t touch the shredded cabbage — I would have replaced that with rice.¬†Generally speaking, a bento from Iroha is a nice, filling lunch. The bentos are room temperature, which I didn’t mind at all, as that was the way I experienced them when I lived in Japan years ago.

Iroha, 152 W 49th St, (btw 6th+7th), 212-398-9049

1 Comment

  • I’m a big fan of Sapporo and finally got there today. I had the Kara Age Bento to go. It still costs $9.50. The fried chicken was a little bit dry, but overall the Bento was OK. The California Roll was good and it was a filling meal.

    A new chinese place opened up right next door with a $9.20 lunch special for various popular chinese dishes. They even put “famous foods” in the logos which is kind of funny. Need to shoot over there.

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