Expect deals galore at Tensuke Express, an efficient little restaurant tucked inside a terrific Japanese grocery store. You can also expect crowds at the popular eatery, but crowds that rarely have to wait long for good "everyday" Japanese food.

Expect deals galore at Tensuke Express, an efficient little restaurant tucked inside a terrific Japanese grocery store. You can also expect crowds at the popular eatery, but crowds that rarely have to wait long for good "everyday" Japanese food.

Part of the commercial complex called Japanese Marketplace at Kenny Centre encompassing (and sharing ownership with) Akai Hana and Belle's Breads, Tensuke Express is located in the rear of Tensuke Market. Visiting the restaurant entails walking through the impressively stocked market and eyeballing some of the best pre-made sushi in town.

If this instills a craving for sushi (or a bento or any other ready-to-eat item), grab it and head to the restaurant where you can pay for it and dig in - because Tensuke Express doesn't offer sushi. But it offers many other reasons to warrant repeated visits.

Although modest, Tensuke Express is tidy and lively and sports a pleasant, aquatically themed decor that includes shades-of-blue tiles, a white wall decorated with waveforms and the room's standout feature: a 400-gallon, cylindrical aquarium in the center of a large round communal table. If you prefer a booth or two-top, there are some of those, too.

Before queueing up, get a paper menu at the counter (left side) and scan the whiteboard specials. Tea ($0.75) and bottled soft drinks ($1) are available, or you can fetch your own styrofoam cup for water, along with paper napkins and condiments from a caddy packed with appropriate sauces (right of the counter).

Yes, the beverage selection and dining accoutrements are limited, but who cares when you can score big, sweet and crisp Tempura Shrimp for only $1.70 apiece? Other fantastic deals on not-too-greasy fried treats: Karaage ($4) - tender, juicy lumps of garlic-scented chicken thighs in a light batter; Croquettes ($1.30) - hefty, semi-sweet discs of panko-crusted mashed potatoes punctuated with peas and corn; and Gyoza ($4) - six simple, crisp and enjoyable pork dumplings served with the expected tingly sauce (vinegar-and-soy-based).

Those bargains are hard to beat - unless you order the massive platter of Japanese comfort food called Pork Cutlet Curry Rice ($8). Two golden-brown slabs of breaded, deep fried boneless pork (tonkatsu) arrive conveniently pre-sliced, juicy, almost tender and paired with dark, tangy and salty tonkatsu sauce (think Japanese ketchup). On the side is rice swamped with beef stew flavored by thick, rich and spicy curry gravy. The size of this meal alone would guarantee leftovers - but it comes with decent miso soup, too.

Miso soup accompanies a lot of the entrees, most of which use sticky rice or noodles as a foundation. A recent, characteristically large two-course special of Vegetable Udon and Chicken Teriyaki ($9) involved two starches: delightfully thick and slippery udon wheat noodles (in a light, slightly sweet and delicious kombu-based broth) and a bowl of rice generously topped with tender chicken (thigh) teriyaki.

If you've only tried eel in sushi form, Tensuke is a good place to try a whole fillet of it seared and served atop warm rice - a delicacy called unadon in Japan, where it's been popular for centuries (Eel Bowl, $15, and that's a deal). The large, tender and rich freshwater fish is glazed in a traditional sweet-and-salty, barbecue-type sauce and served with miso soup.

If ramen is calling, go with the Chasu version ($8.25). This isn't the artisanal ramen that provokes ecstatic prose in books, blogs and magazines - Tensuke's tonkotsu broth (pork-based) is understated and not homemade. But with fatty and delicious marinated pork slices, a wealth of springy-enough noodles, hard egg, bean sprouts and other veggies, it's what you can expect from Tensuke: a quick and easy, good and inexpensive Japanese meal.