520 Robson Street, Vancouver
Price: Expensive (for the portion)
The Olympic is well underway, I thought I finally head downtown to join in the festivity. Since many venues were around the Granville area, we decide to find somewhere to eat around there. We thought to check out the new Japa Dog store, but it is still closed. However upon walking up that street, we noticed a new take out place that sell Japanese rice box.
If I am not mistaken, Kushi Box is a sub-branch of Zakushi. Since it's take out only, the shop is tiny with no tables or chairs. They had a menu board similar to Donburiya (blogged here), therefore I can't help but to compare the 2 Japanese take out restaurants. Just upon first impression, I prefer Donburiya, because even though they are small too, but at least you have a choice to dine in. Kushi Box offered BBQ skewers ($1-$1.40), oden ($1.20/pc), and several different rice boxes ($5.99-$7.99).After studying the menu, I decided to get the Onion P-Toro Box which is $6.99. But you can also get combos to go with your box. Combo A is chicken karaage with miso soup or pop, combo B is 2 pc of kushi with miso soup or pop, and combo C is Gomae with miso soup or pop. The funny thing is that although all the sides for each combo never change, but they don't consistently add the same amount of money to each box to make the combos. Anyways, I chose Combo B, which added $3 to make my total $9.99. However with tax, that was over $10 for the above meal.First, I understand this is a take out place, so for convenience reason, their miso soup is actually prepackaged inside a Styrofoam cup with lid, but to me, that felt cheap. Also I don't like the use of Styrofoam. I mean their meal is packaged in a nice cardboard box, but why Styrofoam for the soup. The soup was not bad, but I guess because we didn't put enough water in, therefore it was a bit salty. But keep in mind, we are also limited by the cup on how much water we can add.
The one layer of topping you see is really what you get. There is nothing underneath there except rice. So how does this single layer of pork cheek taste? Well, I admit the meat was good, as the pork was soft and chewy, but it was slightly salty. The half boiled egg was great, as it was just the right consistency (liquidity yet cooked). However the minced onion sauce was extremely salty, maybe it was intended this way, so when you ran out of pork, you can eat the left over rice along with the onion.
For my kushi (grilled items), I chose the quail egg and grilled mushroom. The mushroom was not very good, it was rather dry and tasteless. The only taste was on the skin, so they probably just brushed on some sauce when grilling. The quail eggs was another story, it was actually pretty good. They wrapped the egg with pork, and since the pork had flavor it enhanced the other wise tasteless egg. The pork was a bit dry, but in comparison with the grilled mushroom, this one was actually good.
As I mentioned, it's take out only, but it was raining that day, so we had to find somewhere indoor to eat it. Since H-mart food court was close by, we decided to go there. Because we didn't want it to seem like we just bought outside food, we decided that one person should order from the food court. Just for comparison purpose, the above meal from Wang Ga Ma(blog previously here) was under $7; a much more worthy meal in my opinion. I mean the Kushi combo (Over $10) would probably be enough for me (a girl who eat modestly), but for R, that is definitely not enough if he was hungry.
Between Donburiya and Kushi Box, I have to say I think Donburiya wins hand down. First Donburiya have the option of dining in. Their meal is cheaper with equal if not better quality. The portion size is bigger and personally I think Donburiya had a better location, because I usually head towards the West end more than the East end of Robson. In my opinion, I think the biggest problem for Kushi box is that it's over priced for the portion and that it's take out only. I guess if you are not really hungry and have somewhere to eat it at, then maybe it worth checking it out.