A brand new virtual restaurant devoted to bento box lunches will soon make its debut in Montrose.
Called Hako Bento, the restaurant is a project of Naoki Yoshida of Shun Japanese Kitchen and Yosuke Motozawa of Japanese supper club Powered by Rice, and will start taking orders for delivery and pick-up on November 9. The project reunites the two Japanese chefs, who first worked together at Yoshida’s family restaurant Nippon more than a decade ago. “Back in the day, he [Yoshida] ran the sushi bar and the kitchen,” says Motozawa. “I was the front end. His dad was the one that trained him, his mom is the one that trained me.”
Hako Bento takes inspiration from the ekiben style of bento box that’s sold at major train stations in Japan. The box that Hako’s bentos are served in was custom-designed and ordered directly from Osaka, and it’s a stunner. Embossed with gold-leaf lettering, it resembles an expensive box of luxury chocolate.
“Hako is authentic Japanese bento,” Motozawa says. “It’s not about being the best, it’s about representing what I remember to be, what he [Yoshida] is proud to be — in our story, in our box, through food. Food is after the fact. Hako is more to me than just the food, it’s everything that I am in that box.”
Inside, the compartments are filled with the classic components of a bento lunch: rice, a fried item, protein, and salad. When ordering a Hako bento, diners start by choosing a type of rice (white, brown, or fried rice) and fried options like veggie tempura, chicken karaage, pork katsu, or takoyaki. Proteins include teriyaki beef, grilled salmon, and Japanese hamburger, along with salads like kimchi, edamame, and spicy cucumber. Altogether, more than 200 unique combinations are possible, and all boxes are prepared fresh to order.
The price for each box will depend on the choices diners make, ranging from $15 on the low end to $30. “If you want go lower cost, you can. You want to spend a little bit, you can,” Motozowa says. “You want to go heavy on meat, you can. You want to go full vegetarian, you can.”
Hako Bento launches its virtual kitchen on Monday, November 9, 2020. When it opens, orders can be placed at www.hakobento.com from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday for pick-up at Shun Japanese Kitchen, or via delivery via UberEATS, Grubhub, Chownow, and Doordash. Follow @HakoBento on Instagram for updates.