I had an early lunch today so right after work I grabbed my camera and headed off to Teriyaki To Go. This business is located in the SaveMart/CVS shopping center at the corner of Foothills and Junction. I went in with no knowledge of this place and no expectations.
As I approached the storefront I could see a man sitting by the window reading a newspaper. Once I rounded the corner and found the front door (which faces Foothills) I stepped in and saw that I was the only customer. The man reading the newspaper promptly got up and greeted me. I am going to guess that this guy is the owner/manager. He was very friendly and asked me what I wanted. I only briefly scanned the menu as I walked up to the counter when I decided to go with the “what do you recommend?” angle. “Chicken noodle” he said, without hesitation. I looked up at the menu to see what this was and confirmed that he meant the teriyaki noodle bowl. I added a fountain drink and $8.58 later I headed down the counter to grab a tumbler and fill it with soda. Only Pepsi products here it seems, no Dr Pepper. There were some bottled drinks in coolers on the other side of the room, so it’s possible he had some in there.
The dining room is small-medium sized, although one wall has a big mirror from about table-height up to the ceiling, so it really makes it feel a lot bigger. In addition to that, most of the front is all windows which makes it’s a pretty nice and bright space. Outside there are a few permanent tables with umbrellas that are shared with ToGos. I don’t want to say it looks or feels dirty, that doesn’t quite describe it, more like well-used. Nothing seemed to be broken or in poor shape. At the same time nothing looked new either. It seemed like the type of family owned joint where they were very cost-conscious and thus took good care of everything to make it last as long as possible, rather than replacing something when it got scuffed up to keep up a specific shiny image. That said I’m not entirely certain this is not a chain since there seems to be several others in the Sacramento area under the same name. There are J street and E. Bidwell locations mentioned right on the menu, but no others. I’m not really sure what the deal is.
Anyway, immediately after I had paid he called back my order and a cook popped out from the back and got to work immediately. The man went back to his newspaper and I took a seat opposite the room of him. My bowl was ready in just under 5 minutes and I went up to the counter to pick it up along with a fork and some napkins. It was a good sized bowl with some heft to it. Piled up inside and still steaming from the wok were thick, heavy noodles mixed in with lots of good sized chunks of chicken and various veggies and all coated with sauce. The chicken was fantastic, and there was no shortage of it. All the way to the bottom of the bowl I found plenty of chicken and didn’t have to do any rationing to make sure I had some for the last couple bites. The teriyaki sauce was wonderful and savory. Not as sweet as others I can think of. The vegetables consisted of lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts and a little bit of broccoli, which did an excellent job of soaking up sauce like a sponge and hitting you with a full-flavored bite.
I was really impressed with this bowl. I enjoyed every single bite from start to finish and as I’m typing this I kind of wish I was still eating it. The owner was super nice and asked me how I liked the noodle bowl from across the dining room once I was a few bites in. He seemed to be very happy that I was enjoying it. This is one of those places that I never even looked at in all the years I’ve been driving/walking by it and now I can’t wait to return. It’s exactly the reason I set out on this mission. I’m really glad I tried it out.