~Review by Chuck Bradley
Opened in July, this place has somehow escaped my attention until today.
It’s in the strip mall just north of Shopko on Rickey. It’s rather starkly appointed, as are other places of its ilk, with mottled painted concrete floors, acoustic tile drop ceilings and utilitarian furniture. It’s an order-at-the-counter set-up with the menu and helpful photos of the various dishes on the wall. Condiments and a variety of Sauces are provided at a bar near the counter. There is a self-serve machine for fountain soft drinks as well as a cooler with bottled Pop, Juices and Water, presumably to facilitate take-out orders.
My extremely youthful counter person was friendly and helpful, but very soft spoken. I had trouble understanding her. A fault which lies more in my poor hearing than in her delicate voice.
I ordered their Bento Box #2 which offered my choice of Teriyaki Chicken, Beef, Pork, Chicken Katsu or Tonkatsu plus a four piece California Roll and Tempura Combo.
The Tempura Combo was presented first and had Green Beans (with plenty of snap), Red Bell Peppers, Yams, Onion Rings and Shrimp and was accompanied by a dish of mild Dipping Sauce. I’m usually not a Yam guy, but deep fried in Tempura Batter, even the Yams were good!
My California Roll was delicious but didn’t have the tight well-stuck-together continuity that one appreciates. The Teriyaki Chicken was, as usual, all Thigh Meat and rested on a bed of Common Cabbage rather than the Japanese, or Napa, type. The Sticky Rice was beautifully prepared and was easily manageable with chopsticks. Wasabi and Fresh Shaved Ginger were provided to add a little extra kick. In addition to the usual Teriyaki and Soy Sauces, Hot Chili Sauce and “Spicy” Sauce were available. I expected the later to be a real furnace stoker, but it was fairly tame with almost cinnamony flavor nuances. A nice surprise. All in all, it was a very good meal.
Ingress and egress from Rickey is tricky. Which may, in part, explain the paucity of patrons during this Saturday lunch hour. The restaurant, food and service display no glaring faults and should be generating a lot more traffic than was in evidence today. They have no serious competition for their type of fare within about three miles in their corner of the city. I hope enough folks find Bento Teriyaki to make their efforts profitable.
Give them a try.
Then let your voice be heard!
Hours: Mon. ~ Fri. 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sat. 11:00 AM to 8:30 PM
4157 Rickey ST SE Suite #110
Salem, OR 97317