While living in Japan, Kazumi Tsuji worked as a make-up artist. But what better place to move for that vocation than Los Angeles, the capital of the motion picture business. But Kazumi has always been interested in food. If she had not gone the make-up artist route, she would probably be a chef. I think food is just engrained in the Japanese culture and in our DNA. After the move to Los Angeles, she started making “ebisu roll” (rolled cake), began teaching locals how to make them, and started catering for weddings and parties. But she wanted to open a restaurant. What better way to try out her concept that using a food truck! Benten Bowl was born.
All bowls have your choice of white or brown rice, rice noodle, or lettuce. You also have your choice of sauces – sesame soy or spicy mayo ponzu. The bowls are a good sized portion for a filling meal.
Lemon Chicken Bowl ($10) is made with very well-trimmed grilled chicken thigh meat mixed in original lemon sauce and topped with cilantro and crispy onion. This dish is both gluten and soy free. The chicken is very juicy and tender. The lemon sauce is light. But it is the sesame soy sauce gives this dish that umami flavor. This is great atop rice noodles. Rating: 5/5
Salmon Poke Bowl ($12) is made with sashimi-grade salmon marinated in original sauce with sweet onion and scallion. This is Japanese-style poke with sliced salmon marinated in ponzu. The acidity in the ponzu almost sears the outside sort of like lomi salmon. The flavor is refreshing and great atop rice. Rating: 5/5
Grilled Salmon Poke Bowl ($12) is made with tender grilled salmon topped with cilantro and crispy onion. The salmon is grilled to perfection with a rich buttery flavor. The flavors combine nicely with brown rice. This is great for folks who do not like raw fish but would love to try the flavors in poke. Rating: 5/5
Kids Teriyaki Chicken and Rice Plate ($7.50) is made with rice topped with chicken teriyaki and cherry tomato. The chicken is tender and has a light teriyaki sauce that is not too sweet. Just the right amount of protein to rice for kiddies and even adults. Rating: 4.5/5
Strong Brewed Coffee Jelly with Himalayan Salt ($3) is a wonderful dessert. Since I’m from Hawaii, sweet and salty are perfect for snacking and dessert. Rating: 5/5
Try Benten Bowl and make sure to wish them a happy 1st anniversary!
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
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Los Angeles, CA