Bento Box Chicago, Inexpensive Asian BYOB | Chicago

Creative pan-Asian bento boxes at Bucktown's new BYOB

Rick Spiros jokingly refers to his bento boxes as "upscale Asian TV dinners."

If only we could tuck into his brightly flavored pan-Asian dishes every time we sat in front of the tube.

Spiros's menu at his new, 12-seat Bucktown BYOB, The Bento Box, is as fresh and bold as it is short, with only three bentos, a soup–currently Duroc pork-miso ramen ($13)–and a simple side dish or two.

But with each lacquered bento containing four dishes, a single order supplies an ample meal. On a recent visit, a Thai-inspired kaffir lime curry covered cubes of sweet potato, zucchini and eggplant ($12). Its box-mates–cucumber-cabbage salad with toasted rice powder and fish sauce dressing; vermicelli with pomelo, Thai basil and scallions; and jasmine rice–made for a meal that traversed sweet, salty and sour before leaving us at satisfied.

A Korean bulgogi bento ($13) with house-made kimchi, rice and a side (sautéed Chinese greens and pork belly-potato stew have been in rotation) is the menu's single constant.

Keep an eye on the restaurant's Facebook page for menu updates and the occasional appearance of Spiros' steamed buns (2 for $5), fluffy pillows of dough stuffed with five-spice- and soy-braised pork.

And for the TV junkies, Spiros will pack your meal to go.

The Bento Box, 2246 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-278-3932 or