100 Favorite OC Dishes, #29: Bentos at Tenkatori

You get all of this in a bento.
You get all of this in a bento.
Brian Feinzimer

The chefs at Tenkatori are masters of karaage, Michelangelos of the chicken-fry arts. The Costa Mesa location is new to OC, opened about a month ago, but the chain landed in Gardena earlier this year with a story that started in Oita, Japan, circa 1962. And though nearly every ramen shop in Costa Mesa already makes excellent karaage as side dishes, Tenkatori's specimens are a different species altogether. Every piece of karaage is cooked to order.

Although I've seen customers order a big box of karaage and eat it plain, the best way to enjoy Tenkatori's karaage is to take advantage of the generously portioned bento boxes, which are immaculately constructed despite the Styrofoam container. For every bento, you choose a main protein from a list of different karaages, teriyaki chicken, or stir-fried strips of beef called "BBQ." Included are plenty of rice and a miso soup, and then a choice of either two more karaage, two mashed-potato croquettes or a serving of tempura. But the box doesn't end there: There are still two rolls to pick from and a brisk salad or steamed vegetables that features perfectly crisp yet tender broccoli, carrots and baby corn.

They're almost way too much food for the-less-than-$10 price levied. Almost.

The List:

30. Pork Belly Bites at Coastal Kitchen 
31. Pizza Omelet at Old Vine Cafe 
32. Gorgonzola Bacon Burger at Zov's
33. Falafel Taco at Falasophy 
34. $10.95 Lunch Special at Istanbul Grill 
35. Aporreadillo at El Picante 
36: The Big Mike at C4 Deli 
37. Crab Jalapeños from Carmelita's Kitchen 
38. Combo Plate at Punjabi Tandoor 
39. Crepe Cakes at TeaArias 
40. Bacon and Eggs at Break of Dawn
41. Combo Platter from The Halal Guys 
42. Sunflower Salad from PIE-NOT 
43. Watermelon Salad from Barley Forge Brewing Company 
44. Breakfast Burrito from Pedro's Tacos 
45. Salmon Toast from Haven Gastropub 
46. Croque Madame Sandwich at Café Beau Soleil 
47. Dean's Thai Curry Chicken Pizza 
48. Aguas Frescas at Mar and Terra
49. Bocatas at Olé! Spain Delishop 
50. Pan Con Pollo at El Divino Salvador Del Mundo 
51. Tacos al Vapor at Tito's La Especial 
52. Knafeh at Knafeh Cafe 
53. Yakiudon Nikkei at Aji Limon
54. Yakitori at Electric City Butcher
55. Tsukemen at Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai 
56. Ten Zaru Soba at Tanakaya 
57. Pink Cloud Sandwich at Alicia's Cookery 
58. Homemade Super Nachos at Taqueria Los Santos
59. Strawberry Banana Croissant at Cream Pan 
60. Pla Duk Phat Phet at Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant 
61. Risotto Con Burrata at Taverna 
62. Pineapple Float at Jollibee 
63. Szechuan Fries at Wok N Tandoor 
64. Banh Xeo at Quan Mii 
65. Chanko Nabe at Torizo 
66. Hamshuka from Hummus Bowl 
67. The Reuben at A Market 
68. Everything Cake from Slice Deli And Cakery 
69. Spicy Shrimp And Eggplant from Brio Tuscan Grille
70. Crawfish Mac & Cheese from The Wharf
71. Malasadas from Dough Doughs Hawaiian Cafe 
72. Salsas from Salsa Bandolera 
73. Chorizo Breakfast Bagel at Spigas Bakery and Cafe 
74. Whole Chicken Combo at Falafelo  
75. Toothpick Lamb at Sichuan Impression 
76. Hainan Chicken Rice at Baos Hog 
77. Fruit- and Ice Cream-Topped Waffles at Crave 
78. Garlic Shrimp Poke at Costco 
79. Chimichurri Fries at Piaggo on Wheels 
80. Torta Cubana at Cancun Juice 
81. Adobo Bowl at Irenia 
82. Garlic Noodles at Krave Asian Fusion 
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill 
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House 
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi 
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor 
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls 
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen 
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole 
92. Biscuits at James Republic 
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade 
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana's Gelatina Goddess 
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead's Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin' Donuts

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Tenkatori

3001 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

714-641-7004


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