Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop

I was so looking forward to eating here. People I know eat here and swear the food is good. Even the Culinary Detective went here on an episode, and being the local he is, should be in the know.

I should have known how things were going to be right from the get go. That's called "FORESHADOWING" people. A nice elderly woman was the host, and directed us to a table near the corner. Only problem was that she didn't give us any menus. After waiting for about 10 minutes, with still no server in sight, I had to get up and get some menus. Perusing the menu for a couple minutes, our server finally came over and asked us if we were ready to order. We weren't and another long period, about 25 minutes, of waiting was in order. We tried flagging down a busser, waved at the waitress and almost set off some signal flares to grab somebody's attention. After all that, we were finally able to get our order in.

Yes, more waiting was in order. Funny, but I didn't see this item anywhere on the menu. Glad it was gratis, otherwise the amount of waiting we endured would have cost us a small fortune. Our food finally arrived, well, at least one dish did. The other, saimin, didn't arrive for another 10 minutes. You would think something simple like saimin would be ready in a flash.

The tonkatsu was actually pretty good. Nice and crunchy on the outside, and moist and tender on the inside, this dish was very good. The tempura on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. Yes, it was a nice golden brown and crunchy, but it tasted like it was cooked in oil that had been used a few too many times. The accompanying salad was one of the most pathetic I've ever seen. Filled with almost all iceberg lettuce, each and every single piece of lettuce was red around the border from being old and withered.

Getting back to the saimin, it did look promising. At first glance it looked like the noodles were made by Maebo, but sadly they weren't. They were still good noodles, nice and chewy with some elasticity still in them. The broth was rather bland and had a slightly salty taste, like shio ramen. The wonton were horribly overcooked, just very soggy and doughy.

I'm not sure I would try this place again given the amount of places that have Hawaiian food in the surrounding area.

Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop
15707 S. Vermont Ave.
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-0820


Chris said...

Wow, very surprised to hear that you didn't like it. I've been eating here for years and have never been disappointed.

Vegasbuff said...


I may have to swing by and try it again in the future. Everybody I know keeps saying that the food is good here.

Anonymous said...

you have to forgive the old mama. :) the servers - another story. they're not so old and fragile, they should know better than keeping folks waiting for the menu/ordertaking

- kaiskeebeat (from yelp)

Vegasbuff said...


I do forgive the old mama. She gives the place some personality. I'm pretty sure this is a family owned business, and my server wasn't one of the family members. Maybe that's where the problem lies.

Anonymous said...

I've been eating in this restaurant since i was in 8th grade and us locals usually grab the menu before we sit down... mama's been really good to us since we were little..try the portuguese sausage mix ..oh yeah!!!!

Vegasbuff said...


I definitely will give it another shot. And I'll make a note to try the Portuguese Sausage Mix