In our last outing we passed by the new restaurant in
Saigon Gourmet's Blue & Pink's old location under the HCG. Today we headed out to give Henry's Bento a try. The old Blue & Pink sign is still up. The only indication of the new name was a small banner over the door.
Programming Note: The MSG150 crew has had to slow our pace down a bit to accommodate vacations and busy work schedules, but we are still alive. We only have a few restaurants to go in the DLZ, but new ones are opening so quickly that if we don't pick up the pace a bit we may never finish. Sandie's has been replaced by a new dim sum restaurant and rumor has it that Harbor City will soon be replaced as well.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Beef Noodle Soup - $5.95
Other than the new menu on the wall and new bank of smoothie machines the interior is largely unchanged. It is not, as first assumed, a Japanese restaurant. It is, similar to Fu Lin next door, a Chinese bento restaurant, Taiwanese, to be specific. The menu has the subtitle "Lunch Box & Taiwanese Cusine". Most of the bentos consist of fried meat, veggies, purple rice, and an egg. There are also a number of what I assume are Taiwanese favorites like Hand Roll Sticky Rice, Leek Pie, and giant Pot Stickers. In addition to the big wall menu, there were a number of posters with specials listed. Beef Noodle Soup caught my attention on one of these posters and I went with that.
The Beef Noodle Soup came out in a very large bowl. It had wide rice noodles, large chucks of beef, bok choy, chopped scallions, and a dollop of what appeared to be pickle relish. Upon further inspection, however, the "relish" turned out to be minced garlic and herbs. The soup was delicious and filling. The beef was fall-apart tender and the broth was rich and flavorful.
The table next to us seemed to be enjoying the Hand Roll Sticky Rice and Pot Stickers. I'll be back soon to give those a try.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Garlic Tofu with Vegetables Bento - $6.95
Henry has some big shoes to fill. Replacing one of our favorite restaurants in the ID? This place had better be good. This seems like a legitimate Taiwanese restaurant... so it could be fun... hell, it's even got stinky tofu.
I'm sure Rob is reveling in my recent medical woes... and to be honest, I deserve it. Recently my diet and exercise has been pretty horrible and lacking (respectively). I got a wicked flare-up of Gout. You'll notice a distinct change in the foods I'm ordering for the remainder of the chinese food quest... I'll be eating (mostly) vegetarian food.
The first meatless dish -- Garlic Tofu Bento. Guess what? It's definitely got a healthy helping of garlic. There were six (I think) big chunks of really tasty fried tofu pieces. Unfortunately, even "really tasty" garlic tofu can't hold a candle to meat. The rice was an interesting color, but tasted exactly like plain ol' rice. The veggies weren't particularly interesting.
A fresh new flavor in the ID. Nothing special, but I think this will be a decent little to-go restaurant.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Chicken Steak Bento - $6.95
I'm not at all bitter at Henry for replacing my beloved bibimbob at Blue/Pink. C'est la vie. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing some new restaurateurs in the neighborhood. The space is identical to Blue and Pink, except they installed Slushie machines. Awesome.
The restaurant was surprisingly full for a new place. The menu is pretty much just bento boxes. Intrigued, I ordered the Chicken Steak Bento.
This has got to be the strangest plate of food I've ever seen. A big pile of purple rice. A bunch of greens with some beans in it. The chicken was all crusty and black. The eggs were... off-white. The plate definitely had some color going on.
Digging in, the chicken was just . . . awful. It was kind of charred, overly breaded such that the breading soaked up tons of oil and got burned. The flavor wasn't nice at all, it just had this odd burnt taste. The greens weren't bad, rice is rice.
Maybe it's just a bad kickoff for Henry but I can't see myself coming back. If I hear good things in two months, I may stop in again.
Luncher: RobLunch: Honey-Dew Fish Bento - $7.95
Ah, the ironies of life. In my last post I said my goodbyes, assuming the MSG150 train would keep a-rolling through the last few restaurants while I was off traipsing around southeast Asia. But here I am again, and there are still four or so restaurants to go. Additionally, the previous longest trackback for a restaurant was to Blue & Pink, which closed soon after. This is now our longest trackback, but to the same location where Blue & Pink used to be. Finally, veggie-hater Adam has suffered the consequences of his decadent and slothful ways, falling victim to the scourge of gout. At Henry's Bento, he ordered the garlic tofu bento, and, to rub it in, I ordered the honey-dew fish bento. The carnivore orders the tofu, and the vegetarian orders the fish -- ha! Victory is mine! I knew the fish would have a sweet taste, but cruel fate made me order it. As the waitress wrote it down, I heard Adam whimper slightly.
The large piece of fish was fresh and flaky, breaded and fried. It did indeed have a sweet taste, but not overpoweringly so at first. By the end, however, the sweetness had built up enough that everything tasted all honey-dew-ey The other bits on the bento plate were interesting to look at (purple rice, brown-edged hard-boiled egg, etc.) but nothing that really stood out, eating-wise. A had a taste of Adam's tofu, and it was crunchy and garlicky on the outside and soft and silky on the inside. Next time I'm here I'll order that. As I finished my last bite of fish, I looked up at Adam as he ate a piece of tofu, and a single tear ran down his cheek.
Luncher: Ben the InternLunch: Honey-Dew Fish Bento - $7.95
Ben the Intern's Review
Somewhat interesting flavors but limited selection and the ambiance wasn’t great.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Chicken Steak Bento - $6.95
Luncher: JaredLunch: Beef Noodle Soup - $5.95
Henry's Bento PhotosHenry's Bento
Beef Noodle Soup
Garlic Tofu with Vegetables Bento
Michael's Chicken Steak Bento
Emmett's Chicken Steak Bento
Honey-Dew Fish Bento
No MSG Sign