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Anniversary, and a review of Ichiban

My beloved and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary yesterday. Well, we celebrated a little bit: our big celebration will come this weekend when we try Trois. For our mini-celebration, we stayed a bit closer to home and went for sushi at Ichiban, in honor of the fact that our first date was at a sushi restaurant.

I have mixed feelings about our dinner there. The food was good, but a lot of little mistakes kept the restaurant from reaching its full potential. The space was very noisy, service was poor and inattentive, and the sushi menu completely lacked prices! Additionally, they had no combo dinners (the sushi menu didn't even list soup), and they served hot water with tea bags for the tea. The maki were looser than they should have been, and they don't have their sushi rice quite right. At first I thought this was just because the kitchen was backed up and rushed (which I don't quite understand because the majority of their business was for the hibachi tables), but after receiving my disappointing order of nigiri (served well after my entree, instead of coming as an appetizer like I requested), I began to wonder if the sushi chef was new: he or she completely overpowered the delicate ika with large daubs of wasabi. I like wasabi, but it's potent stuff, and it ruined the squid.

However, despite the numerous problems, I have to give them points for trying to do Midtown-level sushi out in the 'burbs. The fish was fresh and delicious.

The sushi menu is about as anti-traditional as you can get. It's very California-fusion-anything goes: one roll, called The Orthodontist, even included American cheese! I had one called the Siberian Tiger which incorporated spicy salmon, pine nuts, and soy bean pseudo seaweed as a wrap. Believe it or not, it was excellent.

I'd be willing to try their hibachi menu, but I'd want to do it on a night where they weren't so busy.

So many of these small issues could be easily remedied: get the chef familiar with the fish he's preparing and teach him how to roll properly; reprint the menus, coach the wait staff a bit, hang some attractive cloth banners from the ceiling to help buffer the noise, and so on. As it is, though, I'll keep searching for the best sushi on the north side of town.

Where we ate didn't really matter, though: this anniversary is special regardless because it's the first one we've ever had in our own house. :)


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 19th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
Happy Anniversary!
Sep. 20th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
Sep. 20th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
High levels of noise are actually commonly *intentional* in the restaurant industry... the idea is that if your place is noisy, it's sensory input that leads to a feeling of excitement and intensity that your patrons will react to positively. So lots of restaurant interiors are deliberately designed for the greatest amount of echo, along with stereo systems that have the volume set pretty high.

Personally I'm in total agreement with you - if I can't hear my dining companions, it's too loud, and I should NOT have to listen to a bunch of dish clatter and screaming from the servers.
Sep. 21st, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Based on what you're saying, it appears that industry analysts tend to be extroverts, and design their restaurants for other extroverts, instead of those of us who would like to be able to focus on our meal and our immediate companions. :p Excessive noise makes me tired. I care not a whit for seeing and being seen, and I'd suspect that most folks my age have grown out of that as well (although some of us never cared to begin with).

I can see a diner like me becoming suspicious that an intentionally-noisy restaurant is trying to distract from the food, which means they must want to hide its inadequacies.
Sep. 24th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
You're blogging again! Yay!!

And Happy Anniversary. We just hit the five year mark last month. It's amazing how fast it goes.
Sep. 24th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and congratulations to you, as well.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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