by Kat Robinson
Sushi is such a pretty thing to shoot... its clean lines and simplicity coupled with the bright colors of fresh fish and vegetables on contrasting and complimenting plates make it some of the best "food porn" out there. This tempting little platter is the Spicy Tuna Roll Lunch Box ($9.95) from Eastern Flames, a small Japanese eatery on Cantrell Road next to Crazee's. Comes with all you see plus a salty miso soup and a light salad with that ginger-peanut dressing that often accompanys Japanese meals around these parts. We were mightily impressed by the freshness of the tuna, whitefish, salmon, and shrimp offered (of course, Krab is Krab).
Because the sushi craving is strong with this one, we also went for a couple of lunch-sized rolls -- four pieces instead of the normal six or eight. I rather enjoyed the Spicy Crab Roll ($2.50)with its pile of Japa-mayo spiced crab on top, while my companion dug on the Salmon Roll ($2.25) pictured to the right.
Lunch boxes aren't limited to sushi. This Chicken Katsu Lunch Box ($6.95) also comes with soup and salad, along with edamame and spring rolls. My companion rather enjoyed the fried rice with its bits of toasted sesame seeds and vegetables. The Katsu itself and accompanying Hoisin sauce were a good combination, if a little chewy. Still, beats a chicken sandwich most days. And sake? Well, my companion's $10 bottle of Sho Chiku Bai Ginjo was 300ml of "hey, I only had a half day of work today" with a fruity yet flowery flavor. Sake runs as little as $3 for the smaller bottles. You may not have heard of Eastern Flames before, but that's okay -- it keeps the crowds small. Let the lesser informed head to the Japanese-esque sushi-and-teppanyaki chains. You'll find Eastern Flames at 7710 Cantrell (north side of the road, across from McDonald's). (501) 227-7222.