11 February 2011

Coo Bento Box. $10 lunch review

| johnboy
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coo bento box

In a Bento Battle it’s obvious to compare Coo’s bento box with Tasuke’s just around the corner. Both sell for $8.50

So let’s start with the points in Coo’s favour.

    — It’s faster. The boxes are pre-made and racked.
    — You get free miso soup, either made up or dry so you can make it back at your desk by adding boiling water.
    — The lady working the counter is absolutely delightful.
    — The dipping sauce is really tasty

But then there are the things Tasuke does better.

    — They make up the box fresh, so the hot things are hot and the cold things are cold.
    — The meal is not dominated by a hamburger patty
    — The Coo bento had a hunk of salmon on it that had been cooked far too long.

On the subject of the hamburger patty drenched in a dark sweet sauce we have consulted RiotACT’s Tokyo Bureau which fired back this response.

Yeah, that’s a demiglace sauce which is strangely popular here (one of those things the Japanese took and then made there own and now is very different from a demiglace sauce anywhere else). And they love hamburger patties here – regularly appear at cheap pensions in their dinner, cheap convenience store bentos, cheap nasty teishoku places (teishoku = fixed menu, normally served on a tray – one bowl of rice, one miso soup, some pickles and a plate with some kind of meat/fish) etc

Which as you can see from the photo puts the Coo bento firmly in the land of “cheap nasty teishoku places”.

Which might seem a bit harsh, it’s a pleasant meal (the salmon aside)

So here’s my decision making guide.

If you’re in a blazing hurry and/or really like miso then Coo is probably the go. Also if friendly service is really important to you it’s a big plus for Coo.

On the other hand if you’ve got 5 minutes in your lunch break to stand around, and miso doesn’t excite you, then Tasuke’s probably ahead for mine.

(For more sub $10 lunches in Civic check the tag, if you’ve got recommendations let me know.)

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