Thursday, March 12, 2009

ichiban japanese restaurant cuisine - edmonton, ab

ichiban japanese restaurant cuisine
8750 149 St

It was one of those days where you are already talking about what to eat later in the day, and you haven't even finished breakfast. Thinking of something casual and relatively fast, we ended up deciding to have sushi for lunch. This meant I was going to be venturing out again into the sushi unknown as my new regular go-to place, sushi wasabi, isn't open at lunch and I would be running errands on a different side of the city. Let the sushi adventure begin.

As I don't dine out very often on the west side, and never for sushi, I was a unprepared for what options were available. So before heading out I checked a chowhound thread and saw a few mentions of ichiban japanese restaurant. With this new information I looked no further, and three of us met up at 11:30 for a little lunch.

The restaurant is located in a strip mall and occupies a tidy little space. Walking in, the place was empty and we had a choice of booths. I'm not surprised considering the time, but it filled up relatively quickly with the lunch crowd giving us that 'good, it seems popular' feeling. My standard go-to 'test' dish has become a chirashi bowl, what better way to see preparation, and with this on the menu the choice was an easy one to make. My fellow diners ordered a super spider roll, sunset roll, maki maki roll, and white tiger roll.

There was still nobody else in the restaurant when we placed our order, so it was a bit of a surprise when another table started receiving their food before we did - maybe because they ordered bento boxes, or maybe this was a sign. When our order arrived I was instantly bummed out. They say we eat with our eyes first, and this is unfortunate because the chirashi dish looked very weak. After digging in, it didn't get better; not one part of the dish did anything to shine. The rice was tasteless and very clumpy, the fish was poorly cut with torn edges and it had a distinct fish smell. Besides two large chunks of imitation crab and very dismal sashimi portions that was their offering. There was no other garnish, vegetable or greenery of any kind in the bowl. I'll eat my way through most things, but I actually gave up with this dish.

Hoping the rolls couldn't be any worse, I sampled a bit and didn't see much improvement. The spider roll was the star of the group, too bad there was only 4 pieces, because the other three rolls were below average. The rice was packed so tight that it ended up being gummy and you really had to chew to get the rice to separate.

Unfortunately something happened to my memory card, as it's now giving me a corrupt data message, so the only photo I have is the above...maybe it's better that way, I won't have to relive the meal again. I really don't know what to say about this experience. It was just plain bad. I feel more let down by this 'established' sushi place then I ever have at a Tokyo Express. The restaurant was doing steady take out business, and like I mentioned it filled up quickly, so they must be doing something right. On this day however, none of what we got was right.


shokutsu said...

Without even clicking the "read more" link after seeing the exterior of this place, I knew what was coming! :) Call me psychic.

Sounds like a disappointing lunch. Mind you, a reason why the other meals came out faster is that if it is a lunch-heavy place, many of the bento items are probably already cooked and in warming pans in the kitchen, so its just a matter of plating.

I think your memory card is protesting against you for having to record such a brutal meal on its precious body. :)

KimHo said...

I think shokutsu said it all - I had almost the exact same thoughts when I saw the initial picture! Although I don't usually order it, I think chirashi-don is a good litmus test. I myself go for sushi combos, mostly because I want to check how to chef prepares nigiri sushi.

Chris said...

shokutsu - I often wondered if the bento boxes could be prepped to some extent to make serving the lunch/supper rush more manageable.

Kimho - You guys both have some sort of foretelling 'sushi eyes'. I need to develop mine. I like using the chirashi dish as an opener to a new place, and with success of that I usually branch in the menu. Come to think of it though, I could use a nigiri platter as well. I would get to see presentation, fish quality, and rice in both I suppose. Next time, I might change it up.

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