At the beginning of the school year, I immediately noticed the
arrival of Teriyaki Grill on East William Street, where employees
were often seen taking cigarette breaks at one of the card tables
on the sidewalk in front of the establishment. I finally decided to
scope out the place, especially after noticing that there were
actually people eating inside.

Laura Wong
Though Teriyaki Grill qualifies as fast food, dishes bear some resemblance to authentic Asian cuisine. (Joel Friedman/Daily)

I was struck by how small the restaurant was; only about five
card tables and some folding chairs form the seating area. Despite
the compact kitchen and dining area, the establishment still
appeared to be very clean. A few artificial plants and posters of
geishas decorated the space, and a radio quietly played innocuous
songs by John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band.

Opening two and a half months ago, Teriyaki Grill is located
near two other downtown restaurants that serve Japanese food,
Sushi.come and Totoro. But this place is very different from the
other restaurants. No sushi is served here; instead, the menu is
limited to rice-based entrees. Teriyaki Grill is a fast-food
restaurant, as opposed to the other establishments, which are
sit-down.

At Teriyaki Grill, emphasis is placed on speed as opposed to
quality: Customers receive their entrees within five minutes of
ordering. This is a good thing for students on the go, but
it’s not so good for diners looking for authentic Japanese
cuisine.

Aside from teriyaki chicken (strangely, a white meat version
costs $1.24 more than the regular), beef and vegetables, the
restaurant also serves curry, bacon fried rice and oyako, a
combination of chicken and egg served with rice. In addition to
these rice-based entrees, the menu offers udon (thick noodles in
broth), teriyaki chicken salad and gyoza (pan-fried dumplings
served with a dipping sauce).

The fact that a distinction is made between the regular chicken
and white meat reveals that the quality of Teriyaki Grill’s
ingredients isn’t exactly top-notch. An employees even
admitted that the restaurant buys frozen gyoza as opposed to making
it fresh, further stressing the convenience factor. However, the
employee added that the restaurant makes its own dipping sauce, a
blend of red wine vinegar, soy sauce and spices.

During my visit, the teriyaki beef was tender, but the teriyaki
glaze was salty to the point of nastiness. The teriyaki chicken and
veggies consisted of chicken with steamed broccoli, cauliflower,
cabbage and carrots with teriyaki glaze. Although the chicken was a
bit tough, the vegetables had just the right amount of crunch to
them. There was too much cabbage, however, which, to me and one of
my fellow diners, is a cheap vegetable used as filler.

The chicken curry was an appetizing, filling dish that came with
potatoes, carrots and onions in a thick curry sauce. While the
sauce definitely tasted and smelled of curry, it was also very
mild: People who are accustomed to eating Indian curry would
probably want the dish to be spicier. But my roommate, who had been
to Japan before, deemed it “a very authentic-tasting Japanese
curry rice.” Like the teriyaki chicken, the chicken curry was
a little tough, but the tasty sauce and crunchy vegetables made up
for it.

Side dishes included salad and miso soup; unlike most other miso
soups, this one did not contain seaweed. However, there was plenty
of miso (a paste made from fermented soybeans), soft squares of
tofu and chopped green onion, making the miso soup a tasty (but
very salty) side dish. The rice itself deserves recognition as
well; instead of using long grain rice (typically eaten by
Americans and thus served in many Asian restaurants in the U.S.),
Teriyaki Grill serves short grain rice, which is used in Asian
cuisine and is slightly sticky (and therefore easier to pick up
with chopsticks, for all of you who ever wonder how people are able
to eat rice with chopsticks).

Teriyaki Grill is cleverly situated among sandwich shops and the
newly opened Noodles & Co., making itself the closest
restaurant to campus that serves rice-based entrees. Overall,
it’s a decent place to go to if you’re craving a quick
rice dish that’s moderately priced (between $4.49 and $6.25).
But if you want to stretch your dollar further, a better bet would
probably be Dinersty’s $3.99 lunch special.

 

Teriyaki Grill

619 E. William St.

Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday noon – 9 p.m.

Closed Sunday

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