"Flame Broiler or Kush Bowl?" he offered, as my friend double-checked the Entertainment Guide I'd given them for Christmas. "There's a coupon here for Flame Broiler." Being the frugal bunch we are, why did he even give the option? Both locations were a five-minute drive. We've ordered take-out (but not dine in) from both at some point. It would've, no should've been an easy choice. Our factors were the following:
Company - We had a 2-year-old in tow. Anybody with children of their own understands this trumps pretty much anything else. Would the little man (whose vocabulary of the quarter was the ever popular "NooooOOOO!!") remain in his stroller long enough within tight quarters? Exploring the larger, enclosed space of the second option sounded appealing in theory, at least to us. But would the boy approve?
Price - Typically this would end the discussion. I'm all for saving a few bucks. Ok, it could be because my friends know I have somewhat picky taste. Let's get something straight -- hitting up a fast food or drive-thru joint is fine with me. I prefer walking inside, actually (saves some wear and tear on my ride). I read about Kush last year and shared food previously, so they knew cost and quality involved. Plus, they were treating for a favor I did. As a 'guest', they exercised unnecessary politeness. I was thankful, but didn't
Stay or go - In the end, we left the decision to the fourth person -- my gal pal and wife/mother to the males in our hungry group. She wanted to sit down and relax. It was settled. We were headed to the car wash.
There was no crowd. Only a couple of guys already seated, awaiting their meals. We ordered and settled in a table, as father accompanied son around the retail wares of floor mats and air fresheners. Soon after, our neighbors received their plates. Ties flipped over their shoulder and they focused on digging in. When our meals came, I was taken aback by the clink the square plate made as it was put down in front of me. I expected black Styrofoam, not dinnerware.
At first glance it looked more Asian fusion than teppan. The flourished drizzle of sauce visually enhanced, not seemingly coated my meal. Thin carrot slices and a couple of broccoli florets found their way to one side of my square, grounded by cabbage. I opted for chicken and brown rice, and it was finished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and spoonful of cooked scallion. All that was missing was the cloth napkin and glass of tea. Seriously. This was a chicken bowl?! It was maybe a buck more than where we almost drove to. I was eating with my eyes, and it bamboozled me.
Grumbling took over, so our senses inhaled the aroma and went to work on lunch. A pile of protein and rice is about as exciting to me as a ham and cheese sammich. Yet I was loving it. Wasn't just about sauce, but the dark meat mixed with oniony and sesame flavors played well together. They were having a party. And it wasn't just me. My friend, born and raised in Hawaii, remarked that it was some of the best teri he's had on the mainland. It validated my thoughts. I never expected to find fulfillment in a bowl of chicken, but I was won over....at the car wash.
5890 Lincoln Avenue
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