Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Worst Teriyaki in Eugene

Not too long ago, G pointed out to me that neither Jenn or I had written a negative review of a place we'd eaten since we started the blog. I'd said some things about particular dishes I hadn't liked (pasta salad at the Bier Stein, for instance), but on balance, I hadn't had a bad eating out experience in a few weeks. I've certainly had bad food in Eugene, but we're careful with our eating out dollars these days. The blog was at least partially an exercise in forcing ourselves to try new things.

It was with that purpose in mind that we went to Ron's Island Grill. We'd thought about trying it before, but always managed to be pulled into Burrito Amigos or Quiznos instead. There are several of these around town, it seems, all with the same menu. I ordered the Huli Huli chicken (the number 3), in part because their menu proclaims it to be their MOST POPULAR DISH! in huge bold letters. G ordered the Kalua Pork (the number 10). We ordered it to go, with some trepidation about how much styrofoam that would entail, and we were pleasantly surprised that the answer was none.

So we took it home, and found out a couple of things. First, G's pork should have been dressed at the condiment bar at the restaurant. It was tasty, but it was just plain, shredded, roasted pork served over white rice. He liked his coleslaw and the slice of pineapple it came with. Second, I should have ordered something else. The teriyaki sauce in which the chicken had been marinated tasted like nothing so much as the chemical flavor additives used to make teriyaki beef jerky. It came on a bed of pleasantly sticky rice, but the flavor of the chicken was nothing like mirin or even soy sauce, just that weird jerky flavor. I had some of G's pork after we swapped trays for a while, but eventually he wanted his pork back (and rightly so) and I was forced to finish what I had ordered.

I don't know if I will go back. Certainly if I do, I won't order the Huli Huli Chicken. There are way better places to get teriyaki in this town.

Location: There are a couple in town. 1677 Coburg. Also, near campus on Alder. Others.

Hours: 11 - 8:45 Monday through Friday; 2 - 8:45 on Saturday; 4:30 to 8:45 on Sunday.

Ron's Island Grill on Urbanspoon

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