Monday, August 1, 2011

Wasabi House

1218 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5906
(215) 732-4790

As much as it pains me to only grant Wasabi House one cheesesteak, it pained me even more to eat their food. I was on my way to an appointment in Bella Vista and decided to stop in for some light Japanese fare on this hot summer day.

The yellow awning is a bright and appealing facade to an intimate and inviting interior. With a small sushi bar along the back wall and a kitchen tucked behind, there is only seating for about 20 people and upon my arrival, there was only one other diner. I'd noticed on my way in that they offer a "Lunch Special Bento Box $7.95" - a sign on the window, that's not listed anywhere on the menu - so, obviously I was going to order the specialty. The lone luncher sitting across the way was eating the bento box and said, "the food here is fantastic, good choice on the bento box, I eat here about 3 times a week, enjoy" and so I thought I was in for a real treat.

Well, I was unsure what the "main event" was going to be in the box, but expected the usual side components. Preceded by your ordinary bowl of miso soup, my bento box arrived about 8 minutes after ordering. Talk about fast food.

Hmmm, is that tofu teryaki? The obvious suspects were all there: 4 pieces of a California roll, 1 dumpling, 2 shumai (shrimp) dumplings, 1 pile of edamame, and 3 slices of Korean scallion pancake but I was unsure of what was sitting atop the bed of rice.

I was offered no sauce for the dumplings and pancake, only the table-side soy sauce. I would have liked some ponzu or gyoza dipping sauce to make it interesting. Everything was ordinary, well, worse than ordinary. I felt like I was eating day-old, unfrozen food that had been nuked to just-barely-above room temperature.

Not to mention the processed chicken strips that were coated in a smattering of gelatinous goo posing as a teriyaki. It was chicken. Well, barely. It was terrible and nearly inedible. Had I not skipped breakfast that morning, I would have left with a box full of rubbery shapes left on the table. Seriously, if I want a frozen bag of prepared teriyaki chicken, I'll just go to Trader Joe's.

-Posted by gabulous

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