The Place: The Teriyaki Bar
Where: Downtown Bellingham
119 W Holly St,
Bellingham, WA. 98225
When: 10:30am - 8pm (depending on business) closed on Sundays
Ah, The Teriyaki Bar! One of my favorite places to eat in Bellingham. Honestly I think they must put something addictive in their food because I get a craving for them about once a week or so most months and when I get a craving for it there is nothing else that will work instead, I have to get some of their food to make it go away. I don't know what it is, something about that teriyaki sauce just really hits the spot for me and makes me want it again and again.
I can tell you right now that The Teriyaki bar is not a nice sit down restaurant that serves gourmet food or exotic dishes but it is some place to take a friend when your craving some good, filling food. The decor of the restaurant is all over the place and well kept with a lot of fake plants all over the place but, the teriyaki sauce is soo good and its always clean. To order you just walk up to the counter and if you're eating there you gather your own utensils and pick a table. They also have a drive through and you never wait too long for your food. The pictures on the wall make it seem like it would be pan-asian food but it seems like most of the food is centered around Japanese food with teriyaki dishes, udon, katsu, tempura and more. There are some vegetarian dishes too like tofu and vegetable tempura.
Try as I might to eat something different there I always end up getting my favorite dish the teriyaki chicken. The beef teriyaki is good too and a lot of my friends prefer the beef to the chicken but I find that the teryaki sauce becomes too strong and overwhelming for me when paired with the beef, so if you're looking for a nice strong teriyaki flavor then go with the beef. No matter whether you get beef or chicken the meat there is always tender and soft. I think that's one of the reasons I love it, the mixture of the warm salty sauce against the tender yielding of the chicken, mmmmm. If you try both the beef and chicken you'll see that the beef is even more tender it practically melts in your mouth. I haven't tried the pork or shrimp since I'd gotten so hooked on the chicken but I'm sure their just as good . Also if you ever try the breast chicken it is more tender than the regular chicken and worth the extra dollar for a try but not something I want to pay for every time or I'd get it more often.
This time my outing was with my fiance since I was having a craving a few days before we decided to go and eat there after seeing the new Batman, which was awesome in my opinion. I got my regular, the teriyaki chicken and my fiance got the beef teriyaki and a side of gyoza which are chicken.
I always eat inside so I can walk off my food afterwards because they do give you good sized portions for what you pay for, about $7-$8 per meal. Half the plate is always meat unless you get one of the daily specials which are half plates for a lower price and still more than enough to satisfy most people. However you can take it to go or even go through the drive thru. If you're looking to feed a family this might not be the best place to go as it can get pretty expensive compared to other asian takeout food but if you guys are light eaters or younger children then you can probably get away with splitting some of the meals up.
When you order any teriyaki dish it will come with a salad with thousand island dressing and two scoops of steamed white rice with a little bit of seasoning on top (I believe its furikake? I know it has at least some sesame seeds and dried seaweed). The salad comes with shredded carrots and purple cabbage, some cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumber. The rice is slightly sticky rice and always done well which is another reason why I love this place, its a great place to go if you want some really good plain rice which I admit I get a craving for now and again.
I was a little disappointed this time with my chicken teriyaki because it was a little dry and that has never happened to me before eating there, I saw a few new people there so it might have been because of them. The chicken gyoza was right on point though, I had forgotten how good they are, very well seasoned and flavorful. The dipping sauce they serve tastes kinda vinegar-y on its own but brings out a slight sweetness when paired with the gyoza. They complement each other quite well and these came out sizzling hot, plus you get five for less than $4 which is a decent amount I think. The chicken teriyaki is usually tender and has a very slight charred flavor from when they grill it which goes well with the sauce and they always leave you a bottle of sauce at the table in case you want to add more which I never really need but my fiance likes to put on his rice. One thing that I lover personally is that the meat always seems to have some fat still on it, only a little here and there, and the fat always has a ton of flavor and melts when it touches your tongue. I think I'm having another craving right now just thinking about it. *drool*
If there was one thing that I could say was negative about this place it is that they meat never comes out piping hot but always nice and warm. That just tells me that they grill the meat a head of time then reheat it with the sauce as people order it which is fine by me and means you don't have to wait long to get your food, the wait is normally less then ten minutes. Other then my slight disappointment with the lack of tenderness from this time I scratched the itch I was having and I would recommend trying this place to everyone. It may not be gourmet or everyone's cup of tea but its one of my favorite places to satisfy my craving for teriyaki and good food.
Good teriyaki and tender meat with well made rice and flavorful qyoza. They have many different dishes to choose from and a few vegetarian options. Decent price for their meals.
Bonus: they have a drive through if you're on your way home or don't feel like eating inside.