Donna Cooks


Bento Box Deals at Genroku
November 7, 2006, 6:27 pm
Filed under: DFW Restaurant Reviews

I’ve been to Genroku in the Chinatown shopping center in Richardson on a prior occasion to sample their Taiwanese fare. The beef with bitter melon and braised eggplant dishes proved authentic and tasty. However, most people frequent Genroku for their sushi specials and bento boxes. A single meat selection bento box with miso soup, small salad, vegetable tempura, 3 pieces of California roll, and rice runs from $7 to $9, while a double meat selection will range up to $13. At any rate, the bento boxes are a great steal and will not leave you hungry, making them an extremely popular lunch option.

I wanted to try them out for myself after hearing so much about the Genroku bento boxes. I decided on a shrimp tempura bento box which came with all of the above mentioned items plus a scoop of Japanese potato salad (or whatever that potato/mayonnaise side is called that is so popular in Japanese and Korean cuisine). My companion chose the tonkatsu (battered fried pork chop with special sauce). We couldn’t help but also order a volcano roll after perusing through all the tempting sushi selections (this turned out to be excessive as the bento boxes alone were more than sufficient to satisfy our hunger).

First came the salad and the miso soup.  The miso soup was a welcoming comfort on a rainy cold day. Ginger-flavored broth with tiny cubes of soft white tofu and a few strips of seaweed whet the appetite for the rest of the meal. The salad was overdressed and overly simplistic. They were basically house ginger dressing on iceburg lettuce.

Then came the volcano roll, which was basically a California roll topped with fried crawfish and a creamy spicy sauce. I was a bit disappointed, I wasn’t expecting anything traditional from the description of the roll, but the whole dish was bathed in the spicy and tangy orange sauce. It was just too much. The sauce took away from the light and delicate flavor of the sushi roll itself and completely drowned out the flavor of the crawfish. All I could taste was the batter on the crawfish and lots and lots of tangy spiciness.

genroku-volcano.jpg

Then came our bento boxes. They were huge, like bento boxes on steroids, fit for the American portion size. In my box, five large butterflied tempura shrimp and 4 pieces of vegetable tempura (in addition to the battered fried crawfish on the volcano roll) proved to be too much batter friedness for me. Though the batter was light and crunchy, I was overwhelmed by the greasiness and only ate about half of the shrimp and vegetable tempura. I think I would’ve done better if I wasn’t already feeling a little queasy from eating the overly rich volcano roll. The California roll into the bento box was a fantastic relief from all the fried greasiness, and this time, without a saucy topping, I could actually taste the ingredients in the roll!

genroku-shrimp.jpg

My companion thoroughly enjoyed his tonkatsu, especially the crunchy batter, though he did note that the batter on the pork chop was probably thicker than the chop itself.

genroku-1.jpg

At the end of the day, I think I’ll still order off of the Taiwanese side of the Genroku menu when I come back. I recall the Taiwanese dishes on my last visit to be of normal portion size and not overly heavy. The combination of the many battered fried items in my bento box plus the volcano roll left me with a food hangover, like the kind you get when you leave the State Fair having sampled every deep fried concoction under the sun. If I do decide to give the bento box at Genroku another shot (and I probably will at these super low prices), I’ll choose something a little lighter like teriyaki chicken or salmon and forego ordering a sushi appetizer.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 (due to the fact that my review is biased by my inability to handle greasy batter, and the fact that I have enjoyed the Taiwanese fare at Genroku on a couple of occasions)

Genroku Japanese Restaurant
400 N. Greenville Ave
Richardson, TX 75081

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