When is teriyaki not teriyaki? When you put it on a skewer and call it Asian grill. When does a restaurant that serves teriyaki transcend teriyaki? When its menu includes fresh and attractive sushi and a smattering of Japanese and Chinese entrees.
That's the menu at Fusion Bento Asian Grill, which opened in April in the kind of location usually associated with teriyaki: behind Shari's and between Albertson's and Big Lot.
Fusion Bento is a comfortable mom-and-pop-type restaurant done up in attractive earth tones and pretty plate presentations. Lunch entrees and bento boxes are $4.95-$8.95, dinner entrees and bento boxes are $6.95 to $12.95. Sushi rolls, heavy on the imitation crab, are $6.95-$9.95. Two-piece sushi orders are $3.95-$5.95.
Skewered chunks of marinated and grilled beef hovered, enjoyably, between tender and fatty, served in not-too-sticky, not-too-sweet sauce. Thigh-meat chicken was tender and flavorful.
On the Chinese menu, Szechuan beef stood out. The strips of chili-spiked beef were tender, accompanied by ginger, peppers, onions and a medley of tender mushrooms. Other Chinese dishes include kung pao and sweet and sour (chicken, pork, tofu), chow mein and fried rice.
Fusion Bento Asian Grill: 2315 N. Pearl St. Suite A16, Tacoma; 253-759-2222. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.