BY NANCY KALAJIAN
For the uninitiated, a " lunch box " listed on the menu of a Japanese/Korean/Thai restaurant may evoke something kids carry to school full of snacks, a sandwich, and possibly liquid refreshment. The six-month-old Sushi King, located among the mostly Armenian shops of Watertown, taught me otherwise. On my first visit, the salmon combo lunch box ($6.95) arrived on a shiny black tray, with a stunning array of delicacies divided into attractive, neatly defined compartments. Worthy of a Gourmet photo shoot, the meal offered tastes just as appealing, at an enticingly low price; I lovingly devoured every bite. The grilled teriyaki salmon was tender, and came with a salad of mixed greens with grated carrots and a wonderful bright-orange dressing made of ground carrots and oil. Small portions of delicate egg noodles, pad Thai, and crispy pad Thai filled the other three compartments.
Since the restaurantís name is Sushi King, on my second visit I decided to sample its specialty, though I have never been that fond of sushi. Let me stand corrected ó the sushi combo ($6.95), offered at lunchtime, won me over: six pieces of California sushi, consisting of cucumbers, chunks of fresh avocado, thin slices of crabmeat and tiny tobiko, plus oval slices of tender tuna, salmon, and yellowtail over rice. Lots of pickled sweet and sour fresh ginger added tingle.
All the lunch boxes and sushi combos come with salad, rice, veggies, and your choice of three soups made fresh daily. The addictive udon and miso soups, both served piping hot, feature chunks of tofu, sliced scallion, and small pieces of seaweed. Nearly 90 types of sushi are on the regular menu, along with many tempura, rice, noodle, and Thai dishes. Cheh Yoon Bak, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Johng Wan Bak, proudly says that although they have roots in Korea, they studied the fine art of sushi-making for many years in Japan. No need to explain ó itís obvious from their handiwork.
Sushi King, located at 600 Mount Auburn Street, in Watertown, is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Call (617) 972-8580.Issue Date: May 24-31, 2001