Short Order: Tensuke Market
These days, Tensuke Market is more than just a cool grocer. It’s part of a monolithic lifestyle area in Kenny Center, a mini-mall that features acclaimed eateries such as Akai Hana and Belle’s Bread, along with a place to buy cultural knick-knacks, and an outdoor court with a mini-lawn where people sun themselves (or, at least they were doing that this weekend).
Like any good grocer, in addition to lots of fresh meat and produce, along with shelves of dry goods, Tensuke Market has a convenience cooler of meals you just can grab-n-go. Once you get past the analysis-paralysis of choosing a meal, it’s hard to beat the value, convenience, and entertainment of its bento boxes.
Case in point, the Shrimp Cutlet Bento. Plucked from a sea of various equally attractive bento boxes, this one is centered on four long fingers of shrimp, well-encrusted in miraculously crunchy coating. It’s miraculous, because you wouldn’t expect cold fried shrimp to be crunchy at all, but there it is. Alongside the seafood sits tightly packed rice with a few little compartments for vegetables. In one section, you’ll find floppy baby corn with blanched broccoli and carrots (the latter of which is cold, soft, and surprisingly pleasant). In another section sits okra coated in a savory, paste-like sauce. Actually, the shrimp itself sits on a bed of feathery white cabbage, so there’s one more vegetable in the mix.
For those who like to read, the ingredient list is long, and probably a little creative. Items such as tomatoes, shitake mushrooms and sweet potatoes are listed, but they don’t seem to be anywhere in the box. They’re probably in some other box, for next time.
Guests can grab their boxes and cash out at the register where the clerk will offer chopsticks for the road. It’s a solid lunch for less than $10. You can find it at 1167 Old Henderson Rd.
For more information, visit tensukemarket.com.