Hearty & Cheap Japanese Curry Bowls At Newly Made Over Bento Sushi

I have pretty low standards for the Japanese food I review for this site. I know it’s chancy buying sushi lunch specials for less than $10, or buying maki rolls from a pharmacy chain. Yet, I do these things because sometimes I want rice and fish in a cheap format without street meat dumped over the top, or stepping into Terrace Fish & Chip. So when Sushi By Bento Nouveau shortened its name to Bento Sushi and got a fancy new look, I knew I had to check out its cheap offerings.

The main draw of Bento Sushi is the vast array of maki rolls for around $6 or $7. They are large, and seem to be freshly made so I could see stopping in to grab one. They can’t be any worse than the rolls found at Duane Reade.

I was here for the rice bowls, though. There are several, topping out at $7.99 for salmon, and also udon soup with a variety of add ins like fried tofu, fried chicken and kimchi. Those are a little bit cheaper, topping out at $7.49.

You have to pay attention because the ordering process is a little weird. You tell the person at the cash register what you want (in my case, the vegetable curry for $6.69), pay for it, but then you have to step over to the area where the soup/rice bowls come from and tell the guy what you want. I didn’t realize that was how it worked, and stood there for a couple of minutes with no acknowledgement while the guy kept yelling “Next!”

This was a good-sized bowl of nice sticky white rice straight from a giant cooker, topped with a good portion of Japanese curry mostly involving onion with a few chunks of carrot. You also get a little cup of salad with a little too much dressing already applied. I love Japanese curry, and this was a good version although I could have used a couple more vegetables. I think next time I’d get one of the ones with meat in it just for more substance. Still, with the amount of rice I got this definitely filled me up.

When Sushi by Bento Nouveau first closed, I was afraid they were gone for good, but I’m happy they went the other direction and got fancy. Jettisoning a few words from their strange name didn’t hurt either.

Bento Sushi (formerly Sushi by Bento Nouveau), 173 Broadway (at Cortlandt), (212) 437-8744; 32 Broadway (at Morris), (212) 747-0994


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