BO’S FALAFEL BAR

Food: () Serviceable falafel are made better by an impressive condiment bar.

Service: () Counter orders; quick turnaround; fill up at the self-serve condiment station.

Atmosphere: () Basic decor is complemented by a spacious patio.

More Info

Location: 1366 NW Galveston Ave., Bend

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Monday

Cuisine: Falafel sandwiches and bowls

Price range: Main dishes $9, fries $2.50

Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa

Kids’ menu: On request

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: It’s all vegetarian, and most is gluten-free and vegan

Alcoholic beverages: Beer and wine

Outdoor seating: Spacious patio

Reservations: No

Contact: bosfalafel.com

TERIYAKI MADNESS

Food: () In recent weeks, I have found most food orders to be dry and overcooked.

Service: () Counter orders are usually delivered within about 10 minutes.

Atmosphere: () Modern space in a strip-mall location with lovely patio seating.

More Info

Location: 2680 NE U.S. Highway 20, Suite 340, Forum Shopping Center, Bend

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day

Cuisine: Japanese fast food

Price range: Starters $1.99 to $4.49, Bowls $6.79 to $11.99

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Junior sizes

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Tofu teriyaki and veggie-noodle dishes

Alcoholic beverages: No

Outdoor seating: Spacious patio

Reservations: No

Contact: teriyakimadness.com, 541-797-0261

Two new fast-food restaurants, both drawing upon cuisine of Asian ethnic origin, have opened in Bend in recent months. Neither Teriyaki Madness nor Bo’s Falafel Bar is the best in Bend at what it does — namely, Japanese teriyaki and Middle Eastern falafel. But there is something to like about each of them.

Teriyaki Madness started business in March, opposite the Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Forum Shopping Center on Bend’s east side. Its local owners are franchisees of a Las Vegas-based company that has expanded to more than 50 restaurants nationwide since 2012; they have eventual plans to add two other Central Oregon stores.

Bo’s Falafel Bar, privately owned by a Bend couple, has moved into the former Sip Wine Bar at the Galveston Avenue and NW 14th Street roundabout. The attraction here is that its ultrasimple menu is bolstered by a condiment bar of two dozen items, encouraging guests to be creative in building their meals.

Bo’s Falafel Bar

At Bo’s, you can make your own pita-bread sandwich or salad bowl with falafel. Either costs $9. Or you can get an order of fries for $2.50. That’s the full extent of food choices.

Falafel (pronounced “fuh-LAH’-fuhl”), thought to have originated in Egypt, is widely enjoyed as a street food throughout the Arab world and eastern Mediterranean. Made of ground chickpeas (garbanzo beans) blended with onions and parsley, then deep-fried, it is a meat-free protein embraced by many vegans.

Falafel can be made as a fritter or a patty. At Bo’s, the popular food comes in globes the size of Ping-Pong balls with a crispy crust. Personally, I prefer the falafel served for a slightly higher price at Joolz ($7 appetizer, $13 meal) or Kebaba ($11).

But it’s served faster at Bo’s: You simply order at the counter and wait for your name to be called fewer than five minutes later. You will be presented either with a sandwich (four falafel in a thick pita-bread pocket) or a bowl (the same number of falafel on a bed of mixed spring greens).

Then you make your way to the falafel bar. This is the highlight, even though I find some of the items here mislabeled — a “parsley salad” was actually a diced cucumber salad, sprinkled with parsley; a “pomegranate slaw” was a carrot salad with pomegranate dressing, and a “blood orange slaw” was basically a white-cabbage slaw dressed with a blood-orange vinaigrette.

There are plenty of vegetables here: heirloom cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, pickled beets and cabbage, chopped romaine lettuce. There are olives, pickles, pickled onions and pepperoncini.

There are a variety of sauces, from two types of sesame tahini to tangy Moroccan harissa (made with roasted red peppers). Vegans are alerted that garlic and sumac sauces are made with egg, that creamy yogurt tzatziki and feta cheese are dairy products. I was pleased with the delicious hummus, made from the same root ingredients (garbanzos) as the falafel itself.

Decor is decidedly basic. Many visitors grab a draft beer with their meal and head outdoors to enjoy it on the spacious patio.

Teriyaki Madness

The first time I ate at this east side location, shortly after it opened in mid-March, I was pleased with my spicy chicken bowl ($8.49). The meat was moist, the sauce savory and only mildly piquant. Freshly cut vegetables (including cabbage, carrots, zucchini and broccoli) were nicely steamed, and white rice was perfectly cooked.

Since then, however, I’ve had occasion to drop in a few more times — and I have never again been satisfied as I was on my first visit. In fact, three separate times in recent weeks, I have found dishes overcooked and dry.

I noted this in particular with an order of chicken katsu ($8.49), a breaded and sliced cutlet. The panko crust was thick and overdone. The brown rice and veggies were far too dry.

I had naively expected that an order of beef teriyaki ($9.99) would feature thinly sliced strips of a basic flank or skirt steak. Instead, the beef was diced and gristly, not to mention dry and relatively flavorless, even with extra teriyaki sauce.

Hoping for redemption, I returned for all-white-meat chicken breast teriyaki ($8.49). I was pleased with the size of the grilled and sliced breast, but again disappointed that it was dry and bland.

A side cup of macaroni salad ($1.99) was tasty enough but so tiny, it contained no more than two forkfuls. An appetizer of chicken potstickers ($3.99) had a nice mousse-like filling, but the pockets were again overcooked.

I have a sense that the restaurant has an issue with staffing and training. I have seen the same people cooking on the rear grill as are minding the counter for orders, which might suggest a lack of expertise in either area. Some are delightfully friendly, but others are clearly hesitant and inexperienced.

Teriyaki Madness is fine for a quick teriyaki fix, but for a more quality teriyaki meal, I can recommend either Bend-O Bento (teriyaki meals: $12) or Big Island Kona Mix Plate ($9).

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached janderson@bendbulletin.com

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