Food Porn: Dancing Chopsticks

A new place has opened in the UB commons…sort of?

What was once Japanese restaurant Oh Bento! is now Japanese restaurant Dancing Chopsticks. With a new menu posted all over the place along with “Grand Opening” signs everywhere, it was confusing to walk into the restaurant and still see the same heavily remodeled decor, the same wooden furniture and even the same menu pictures. It turns out that the new owners are friends of the family that owned Oh Bento! and opted to buy it from them, keeping more or less the same menu.

A little background on Oh Bento! What started out as a really promising restaurant kind of died down after about a year of business. In the beginning, they had delicious udon topped with large flanks of tempura shrimp, hearty rice bowls with tender strips of eel and well put together bento boxes with a decent amount of food. When it started to slide was around the time I would order a stir fried beef bento box and instead of dumplings and cabbage salad as sides, I would get mashed potatoes and lil’ smokies, sometimes watery coleslaw and hardened pieces of sushi. Or when my the broth in my bowl of udon had flavor tantamount to hot water garnished with some onions and the shrimp was suffering under an overzealous shock of chili powder. The bubble tea tasted too strong and the tapioca bubbles were shriveled and cloyingly sweet. There was no longer a bustling crowd in there, in fact they were empty just about any time I was in there.

Well, Dancing Chopsticks seems to have brought the crowd back. The place opened maybe two or three weeks ago, and they still don’t quite have all their supplies (I have been trying to order one of the fish ball skewers ever since I saw them on the menu. Still don’t have ‘em!) Finally, yesterday afternoon I sat down for lunch.

I wanted to order something that the old place didn’t have (which is a little tough, most of the menu is the same) so I ordered the Tokyo Chicken. The girl taking my order described it as sort of like sweet and sour chicken. She was sort of off, thank god.

Tokyo chicken seems to be their sort of invention, I’ve never had anything like it. The chicken does come in a brightly colored, almost blaring red sauce, similar to sweet and sour chicken, but it’s slightly different. The sauce is sweet, but not corn syrup sweet, rather pineapple sweet…because there were chunks of pineapple thrown into the mix. The chicken was tender and moist, not a dry piece of breast meat struggling against a crispy prison. The pineapple, cooked together with the chicken along with chunks of baby corn, tasted amazing: hot, sweet and coated with the sauce. If I had any complaint, I would just say that there seemed to be a little bit too much sauce.

It came with a cute mound of white rice specked with toasted poppy seeds, half of a hard-boiled egg and a tiny salad. Not bad for roughly $6. I also ordered one of the skewers they actually do have, which is the chicken skin. For $1, you get two skewers of flavorful, almost curried chicken skin that’s grilled until it’s slightly crispy, but still chewy and juicy.

Their bubble tea is also a change for the better. The lychee tasted exactly like it should, not horribly sweet; no tannic, over-brewed tea here.

I’m definitely planning on going back. I would still like to give one of their bento boxes a try (they come in real dishes! Actual bento boxes and not just styrofoam containers!), and I still really want a fish ball skewer.
Dancing Chopsticks on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “Food Porn: Dancing Chopsticks

  1. Well, that was a tasty little morsel. Well done.

    Psst, isn’t it macchiatos?

    • Ann

      Thanks! and…yes. Ahem.

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