The Yonge and Dundas area contains a deluge of fast food and Japanese restaurants. When the old Ginger’s closed up shop at Gerrard and Yonge, Eki-Bento took over the hot spot and decided to open up a fast food Japanese restaurant. However, much like the other fast food joints nearby, Eki-Bento provides quick meals that suffer from the lack of high quality we’ve come to expect from most of our city’s other Japanese restaurants.
Not to mention, the price point is a little bit higher than expected from a fast food place (not counting the $4.99 daily specials of course – but trust me, there are better $4.99 Japanese specials within a 10 minute walking distance from the place.)
There’s two types of entrees that you can order here – a bowl and a bento box, with the bowl being the cheaper of the two but lacks a salad and a gyoza dumpling. They do have some udon bowls available too for those who want soup. We went with a teriyaki chicken bowl ($5.99) and a beef short rib bento box ($8.99). We also decided to get a salmon salad roll ($3.99) to try out the sushi. The cashier told us that for $2.25 more, we can get a refillable fountain drink and the choice of a miso soup or a salad. So we got that too for each combo and went with the miso soup considering that the bento box already came with a salad. I have to note that Monday’s $4.99 daily special was the dynamite roll but having a shellfish allergy, we couldn’t really order that.
Our food was ready about 8 minutes after ordering, in which we had to go around to the side counter to pick up. I was disappointed to discover that even though we ordered our food to eat at the establishment, it still came in very non-environmental friendly plastic and styrofoam containers!
The salmon salad roll was actually not bad. It was a little bit on the unhealthy side with the amount of sauce on top of and inside of it, but it was pretty delicious and full of flavour. The teriyaki chicken bowl was a bit too greasy for me. Some of the chicken bits were a little burnt, and the stir fried vegetables were covered in frying oil. It definitely wasn’t the healthy option I was vying for.
Everything about the short ribs were average and there was nothing special to note. The included gyoza, however, was actually kind of gross and nearly inedible. The innards of the dumpling were really dry, but drenched in oil. As for the miso soups? Well they were pretty high up there on the sodium scale and didn’t really taste like the miso soup you’d get from the nearby Japanese restaurants. They were also kind of tiny. My best advice to you is to skip on the combo. A drink is only $1.89 and you’d be better off not getting a miso soup and saving the extra 60 cents.
Another point of disappointment happened upon leaving the place. I went to go empty our tray out into the garbage and didn’t notice that it was pretty much full and went to slide the contents of my tray into the trash. Because of the over flowing receptacle and our dislike of the miso soup, the half empty styrofoam cups of soup went sliding down my tray, hitting the top of the garbage pile inside the trash, and flipped back up towards me, spilling soup all over my shorts. I spent the better half of the day smelling like salty dashi which I’m sure the yellow jackets appreciated as they followed me up Yonge street.
I understand that this place really wants to up-sell the combo to people who wish to buy a drink so here’s my advice to the owners – Package the miso soup with all the bowls and bento boxes automatically (they’re pricey enough as it is and for the size they are, they should include the soup) and then combo the fountain drink with a cucumber roll instead. Not only would it make us customers feel like we got more bang for our buck, but we’d actually have more of an incentive to combo up our meals too. Oh, and make sure you have someone take care of emptying the ONLY garbage can you have. It’s kind of important.
T.O. Bites Rating
-Close to Yonge and Dundas Square and Ryerson
-Relatively fast service
-The sushi rolls are delicious