Teriyaki California Plus - Irvine
California Teriyaki Plus is one of those food court mom-and-pops that ply the usual bento boxes to the cube farm lunch crowd not because it wants to provide any epiphanies about Japanese food, but because it knows that what it does it does just as good or better than Flame Broiler and the like. It's main purpose is to fill you up today and hope that you come back again tomorrow. And the fact that I'm here at this food court nearly three times a week, alternating between Thai & Chinese Express' pad see ew and their California rolls, must mean that I think they're doing quite well, generic name notwithstanding.
I've recently decided that the California roll they serve here is one of the better bargains in this food court, perhaps Irvine. For $3.95, you are given eight made-to-order cut rounds, each creamy of avocado, crispy of cucumber, and stuffed with a core of imitation crab minced to bits, the foot-long span sliced to pieces thicker than the usual California roll. It's become a noon-time staple for me. Like I said, I eat this almost twice weekly. I'm sure by now I've eaten more of those California rolls than any other in my entire existence.
If you try it for yourself, do not expect to be somehow instantly enlightened or be lifted to some higher plane of sushi nirvana. C'mon. It's just a California roll. But it is cooling, soothing, and you don't feel like you've consumed something unwholesome or unhealthy afterwards.
I often pair it with their "small" salad, which in itself is kind of a meal, and also one of the better side salads I've ever seen any restaurant produce for $1.95, food court or otherwise. A whole half an avocado is sliced to be fanned out, a few apples are cut, and some cucumbers go in as well as a half-moon of orange. I'm not sure if the Asian-style dressing is homemade, but it tastes like it. The salad is peppy, fresh, and somewhat citrusy because of this vinaigrette.
Another reason to like the place is the owner, a woman who also owns and manages the Baja Fresh in the same food court. She is never without a smile. Seriously, I've never witnessed a day when she doesn't appear to be happy to be there, and that, in turn, makes me happy to be there.
Teriyaki California Plus
2540 Main St. Ste. H
Irvine, CA 92614
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