Remember lunch you guys? It’s that meal that falls around midday, every day, and I believe that it even used to happen on weekends, before the advent of all-things-brunch. It’s an atavistic concept, but, by golly, it just might be worth a shot.
For you, and for me, and for all of the forgotten lunches of our past, I went to lunch on Sunday [gasp] by myself at Japonica, a Japanese restaurant near Union Square.
This endeavor was one fueled by pure courage; it was the mission of a true maverick. I, and I alone, would revive the efficient weekend lunch! Countrymen, we are not obliged to slouch in our seats, eat bacon, and drink vodka at 11:00am! There are other ways, other avenues to fill our bellies and our hearts.
After much deliberation, I got the sushi bento lunchbox, which came with miso soup, salad, edamame, pineapple, BBQ Eel bowl, and a piece of white tuna, yellowtail, and salmon sushi respectively.
The fruit was ripe and sweet, the eel savory, the fish fresh and flavorful. In this symphony of foods, each note was hit in perfect pitch and timing, and rang out beautifully.
The Japanese lunchbox is one of those perfect little meals that leaves you full, not stuffed, and has enough going on that you don’t get bored. The story behind these perfectly portioned treats is that they were developed as early as the fifth century, when hunters, fishers, and soldiers would leave their homes for the duration of the day, and would pack food to take with them on their journeys. From its original rustic roots, the bento box evolved to become both a casual, portable, eating experience, as well as the more refined version that I encountered at Japonica.
This lunch had everything I could hope for: variety, prompt service, visually enticing food, and great eavesdropping due to closely placed tables. I was seated immediately, ate quickly, I didn’t chat or gossip, and all was said and done in a short thirty minutes. I didn’t linger, or eat myself silly; this was not the leisurely brunch to which we’ve all become so accustomed to and spoiled by. No, this was lunch. And it was damn good.