Matsuoka - San Diego Japanese Bento Box

Dinh Lee

Matsuoka just opened in Convoy not long ago and is actually sharing their restaurant-front with The Yasai next to Raki Raki Ramen, all of which are owned or co-owned by the same person, Chef Junya. Chef Junya is passionate about creating and serving traditional Japanese food to the public, and his newest restaurant, Matsuoka, really shows that!

The premise of Matsuoka focuses on the traditional kaiseki bento box which combines the Japanese tradition of serving nine courses (also known as Kaiseki) and the convenient bento box we are familiar with. Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course meal where nine dishes of great variety are served one by one to create an enjoyable experience. The bento box at Matsuoka brings the details and traditions of Kaiseki to a convenient bento box filled with many small and diverse dishes to create a well-rounded experience. The quality of the fish and all the other ingredients is guaranteed to be top tier as they are all specifically sourced from the best providers. These bento boxes are great because it is so easy to transport and bring the full nine course meal with you for work or anywhere else.

For my visit, I ordered their Super-Premium kaiseki bento box which came with so many different side dishes and main courses. The box comes with Yakizakana. Fire-Flamed Wild Salmon (or a different catch of fish). Steamed Octopus, Super Jumbo Panko Shrimp, Crispy Gyoza. Matsuoka Potato Salad in Crispy Panko, Gomoku Sushi Rice topped with Sliced Custard Egg, Ikura, Sushi Shrimp, Steamed Edamame, Goma Satsuma Potato, and Caramelized Apricot. This bento box is packed with unique recipes and flavors and I could definitely tell that there was a lot of thought put into crafting such an intricate box.

First and foremost, I want to say that everything in the box was very enjoyable, there was nothing really off-putting or surprising in it. I know it can be intimidating to order a box filled with so many different components, most of which, you're not super familiar with. But there was truly nothing unexpected or peculiar about anything of the small dishes or courses and overall, the flavors were very cohesive and it was a great experience to eat a little bit of each dish. Even if you're more of a picky eater (like I am), I would say this bento box is still a safe option. The only things that might be unappealing to some are maybe mushrooms and octopus.

For my bento box, I did not get salmon, but instead I got a different type of fish (I'm going to be very honest, I have no idea what the fish was that I had). However, it was still really delicious, it was silky and soft and had a lovely texture to it, also very tender. I'm personally glad I didn't get the salmon because salmon is more common and easily found while this fish was more unique and had a great texture. I really liked the gomoku sushi rice, it had a light but tasty flavor to it and the mushroom is a nice touch. The octopus was very surprising. Usually, when eating octopus I would expect a little bit of chewiness or some sort of resistance when biting into it, but this octopus was super soft and you could easily bite right into it. It had a very unique texture that was quite surprising, but in a good way, and the flavors were great.

We also tried their crab roll which was made with real crab (not krab) and it was hands down one of my favorite menu items from that day. I feel like a good crab roll can really go a long way and I really found myself enjoying theirs. The crispiness and the crab flavor was such a delight and overall, the roll was made perfectly!

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San Diego, CA

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