In the fight to win teriyaki bowl fans, Yaki's is a strong
competitor. They lead off with healthy ingredients such as skinless,
boneless chicken, lean beef, fresh vegetables and nonfat sauces. Add
masterful grilling and dish creativity, and you get tasty creations
that just might knock you out.
The main event is, of course, the chicken teriyaki bowl, steamed
rice and cabbage set with charbroiled chicken, all topped with
teriyaki sauce. What makes the basic bowl stand out is the chicken.
It's marinated, nicely grilled and delicious. You can also have the
bowl topped with steak if you like, and you can choose between
several sweet or spicy sauces. Once you know how to make great
grilled chicken, why stop at a bowl? Round two at Yaki's features
sandwiches. The Aloha Chicken Sandwich, which, as you no doubt
guessed, showcases a Hawaiian-style sweet sauce, comes on a French
roll with hand-torn lettuce, fresh tomatoes, sliced onion and is
finished off with Yaki's secret sandwich sauce, a Thousand
Island-based blend. They serve it to you wrapped in deli paper, since
it's pretty sloppy to eat.
A little pineapple might have been a nice addition, but I found it
quite good. The roll was soft, the tomatoes firm and the chicken
For round three, it's cheeseburgers. Offered in quarter-pound or
half-pound sizes, these burgers are impossibly thin but large in
diameter. At first, I was a bit put off, being a fan of more meaty
burgers. But once I set aside my prejudice and dove in, I found there
was plenty to like.
The burgers are lean and feature the ever-present Yaki sauce,
melted cheese, lettuce, tomato and raw onion on a large, fresh,
sesame seed bun. The burgers' additions include avocado, bacon and
even pastrami. If you think that's unusual, try the Yako Cheesebuger.
It's topped with onion, sauce and a quarter-pound of charbroiled
chicken! When was the last time you had chicken on your burger? I
mean, on purpose? Well, it was a new experience for me, and I have to
say I thought it was pretty good. All that melted cheese really helps
to marry the beef patty and chicken together.
"Creative" is an attribute I appreciate in a restaurant as long as
it's good, and this qualifies. So with Yaki's terrific chicken, fresh
ingredients, creative menu and reasonable prices, I find them a
worthy contender in any food fight. After all, you know they're
attracting fans when you hear customers say, "See you tomorrow!" as
they pick up their food.
* BILL SCOLLON is a Burbank resident and president of Scollon
Media Arts. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.