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Originally published Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:07 AM

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Dining Deals

Mondo bento: Georgetown's Daimonji dishes up generous portions of Japanese food

Head to Seattle's Daimonji — located in a Georgetown strip mall — for bento boxes overflowing with Japanese specialties.

Seattle Times A&E editor

Daimonji

Japanese

5963 Corson Ave. S., Seattle

206-762-7820

Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; dinner, 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; closed Sundays.

Etc: Credit cards accepted; free parking in lot; beer and wine; no obstacles to access.

Prices: $$

Tucked away in a corner of an unassuming Georgetown strip mall for more than 20 years, Daimonji is nothing fancy. But the lengthy Japanese menu and Mount Fuji-sized portions — delivered by a brisk, friendly staff — are a powerful draw for South Enders looking for value.

The menu: Daimonji has a sushi bar and a long list of Japanese standards: teriyaki, katsu, yakisoba, karaage and so on. It is also known as one of the few places in Seattle that serves okonomiyaki — a flour and vegetable pancake topped to make something approximating a Japanese pizza.

What to write home about: The restaurant's massive bento boxes are well worth the $18.95 price tag and perfect for indecisive diners stymied by the vast menu. Each lacquered, partitioned box comes loaded with six or seven items — easily enough to feed two people. Our party of four split the Makanouchi bento (featuring chicken katsu, a tuna roll, sashimi, and shrimp and vegetable tempura) and the Mariners bento (grilled salmon, chicken karaage and tako-su — that is, sliced octopus). Both included carrot and seaweed salad, miso soup and rice.

What to skip: The night we visited, the kitchen bungled some of the basics. The miso soup was bland; the tempura chewy instead of crisp. But there were more hits than misses.

The setting: You read that right: It's in a strip mall. So don't expect swanky. But a few rice-paper screens and a blond-wood sushi bar give Daimonji a suitably traditional feel.

Summing up: We started with gyoza (fried dumplings, $4.95) and a California roll ($4.95). The two bentos brought our total to $47.80 plus tax and tip — and provided plenty of leftovers for the next day.

Lynn Jacobson: 206-464-2714 or ljacobson@seattletimes.com

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