Friday, November 20, 2009

Catered Bentos

I've had the good fortune of being in charge of catering for an office event. I get really excited at choosing food and it really didn't feel like work as I looked at menus. When it hit me. I have to feed 20 people, I have to feed 20 people and make sure that they a.) like what they were eating and b.) full. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself but I wanted to show everyone my foodie abilities.

It was a 1 hour lunch and I had a tight budget. Normally I had a few go to places I would pick up from but time was short, they had to deliver. I surfed the web and stumbled onto Nippon Bento. I wanted to test the place first but I didn't have enough time to go on my own. Looking at the menu everything sounded good, the prices were right and they delivered. I ordered to my budgeted limit and held my breath.

No need to panic. This place rocked my socks and I will be filing them away for future usage. Portions were huge, food was of medium high quality and reasonably priced. My only worry was that they were very meat and carb oriented, which for some people it's heaven on a plate. For veggies lovers I would recommend ordering the $6 vegetarian plate and getting a side order of protein.

Take a look:

Kalbi, Mochiko Chicken and Butterfish in this photo. Also had the shrimp tempura, bbq chicken and bugogi as other main courses. Sides included some pickled veg, 2 pc. california roll, inari, stir-fried veggies and fried mandoo. Every plate came with white rice. I thought it was just me enjoying this but all the men in the group polished it off, 2 women shared 1 bento and even after I was full there was enough leftovers for my dinner. Everything tasted fresh and delicious, even the tempura was good although soft from being in the container for 30 minutes. I normally hate soggy tempura but this one I ate.

The only thing I had a problem with was bbq chicken. It was a whole bone-in thigh, I had to break out a knife. Don't recommend it if you are eating beachside, in your car or on the run.

Nippon Bento, catering-wise, you killed it. You remembered to bring napkins, chopsticks and plasticware. I was impressed that you still included a 1 oz container of tempura dipping sauce while most places are cutting back on things like that. Main dishes were perfectly sauced and each bento was thoughtfully held together with 2 rubberbands, while most places would only do 1. If I had to go out for lunch (or have it catered) you would be a 'yes, let's go there.'

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