Bento Sushi Really Needs To Up The Game Of Its Namesake
Ever since Sushi by Bento Nouveau (which is now called Bento Sushi) remodeled its store at Broadway & Cortlandt St. I’ve been going there more frequently, mostly for udon soup or one of the protein over rice dishes. The other day when a craving for sushi hit I couldn’t be bothered to go to a restaurant and wait for food so instead decided to go check out Bento Sushi’s pre-made maki rolls. The place is constantly busy which is a good thing since the sushi you grab from the refrigerated case is likely to not have been sitting there long in frigid purgatory (where good sushi rice goes to die). I grabbed a sushi combo on one visit and later went back for a California roll. Sadly, it looks like the hot items are the way to go here rather than the sushi namesake.
Most of the rolls are between $5 and $8 for nine pieces which is a pretty good bargain in the Financial District. That being said, some of the maki rolls looked pretty shoddily constructed so I instead went over and grabbed a “tuna samurai” box ($8.99) that included four pieces of tuna avocado roll and four pieces of tuna nigiri.
The goods news was that although I didn’t see the sushi rolls being made, I also didn’t get the impression that they’d been sitting around forever unlike most grab and go supermarket sushi you find on the cheap. Also, the tuna in the rolls wasn’t half bad when keeping my standards low. There was a proportional quantity of it and the avocado was fresh. The downfall was only that whoever made this maki didn’t roll it well at all leading to some droppage all over my desk. The nigiri was better in that regard with the rice well-packed into its rectangle and the tuna on top not the highest quality but inoffensive.
I am a glutton (for punishment) so I went back the next day for a maki roll and since the options were all pretty boring, went with the most vanilla and cheap of them all: The California roll ($5.29). It was actually better constructed than the tuna version I’d had the day before and tasted fine. Really, there’s not much you can say about a California roll.
Sadly, my gold standard in cheap grab & go sushi in the FiDi remains the Duane Reade flagship on Wall St. where you can ask them to make a roll for you while you wait. And then pick up a prescription.
Bento Sushi (formerly Sushi by Bento Nouveau), 32 Broadway (btw. Exchange Pl. & Morris), (212) 747-0994; 173 Broadway (at Cortlandt), (212) 437-8744