Jul 24, 2012

Review: Yoshinoya - New, Improved Combo Bowl

Yoshinoya fairly recently made changes to their bowls to include more chicken, vegetables, and rice plus a new, savory vegetable sauce, crispier vegetables, and sesame seeds and green onions as toppings.

Their bowls were a good size before, but now come in a bigger square box (rather than the old rectangle) that's enough for two (or two meals!). I picked up a Combo Bowl which comes with their trademark simmered beef, teriyaki chicken, and vegetables for $5.89.

For those of you who never heard of it, Yoshinoya is a Japanese gyudon (literally "beef bowl") chain with over 1400 international locations and was started in 1899(!). Here in the U.S., locations can be found in Calfornia, Nevada, and Arizona.

I've reviewed both Yoshinoya's beef bowl and chicken bowl before the changes.

As for the new, improved bowl, the chicken and the beef were much the same. I prefer the beef for its unique, lightly sweet flavor. I also like the thin, sinewy texture with a mix of beef and tendon. They use USDA Choice beef which is a big step up from the USDA-inspected at most fast food joints. I've tried making the same type of beef myself and never got it quite right.

The chicken is okay, they cut it to be a bit more squarish now. It's thigh meat so dryness is not a problem. The skin was soggy from all the sauce; it might as well not be there (you can get it skinless). I'm not super fond of the sauce which they over apply. My dad tells me the chicken is much better if you ask them for the sauce on the side so that the skin is crispy and you can use as much or as little as you want. I haven't remembered to ask yet though.

The green onions and toasted sesame seeds are a nice touch and add some subtle flavors to the bowl.

The most significant and positive change to the bowl has to be the vegetables though. The previous veggies were overcooked in a yellow sauce that left them mushy and salty. The veggies are now lightly sauced and are cooked to an even crispy doneness.

On the whole, I like the new changes. I'd just get the beef and veggies and skip the chicken next time though.

Nutritional Info - Yoshinoya Combo Bowl - Large (800g)
Calories - 1190 (from Fat - 330)
Fat - 36g (Saturated Fat - 14g)
Sodium - 2340mg
Carbs - 151g (Sugar - 19g)
Protein - 67g