Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Charleston Edition: Ichiban

After having pizza for lunch, Brittany and I decided to spice it up and try some sushi for dinner. On a recommendation, I decided to try Ichiban. The parking for this restaurant was a little more hazardous, and that was multiplied by the torrential downpour that we were swimming in to get to the restaurant. As soon as we got there, though, there was a place for our umbrellas and we tried to catch our breath. The tiny restaurant was packed - mostly by people in lavish outfits and perfectly placed hair. We opted to sit at the sushi bar - a good decision considering the small tiny area was packed, and I'd rather not eat with a stranger who just happens to be basically sitting at my table.

It seemed pretty standard - we placed our drink orders with the lovely waitress and opened both the regular menu and the sushi ordering sheet. I decided the prices were too high for me to order a lot, so I stuck to the sushi ordering sheet. I was kind of surprised when I saw that many of the sushi rolls contained eel or eel sauce. That's not something I'm used to. I admit it - I go for the more Americanized sushi rolls. They're excellent, though, and I do venture outside of my comfort zone, but I can't deny the deliciousness that is crab. I decided to try two different rolls: Archie Maki, with avocado, crab, crunch and sesame seeds; and the Crunch Maki, with crunch, crab, smelt roe, and mayo. What I didn't realize is that I essentially ordered one roll with crab, avocado and crunchies, and another roll with crab, and crunchies. I was under the impression these two would be different.

Anyway, we waited for a little bit, but it was neat to see the sushi chef making sushi right in front of me.When he finished making ours, he asked if that was all we ordered. I said yes, and he went to hand it to me, but the waitress came over and took it from him to hand to me. It was pretty awkward, and I really wouldn't have minded taking it directly from the chef. Anyway, I was handed a long plate with six rolls on each end. I was a little disappointed once I realized they were essentially the same roll. But, I shoved the first one in my mouth. The first thing I noticed - they are warm. Warm sushi? This was a first. I assumed maybe because of the crunchies, but it was weird to have warm avocado and warm crab. The crunchies were also very bland, not a crunchy, tasty tempura, but more like I was chewing on tiny bits of cardboard. I was disappointed, and I looked to Brittany. She said she also found it strange that her rolls were warm - not normal for Ichiban.

Maybe I set my hopes too high for this place, but this sushi didn't impress me. It wasn't bad, but I was hoping for some really vibrant flavors. Guess I'll have to go for something else next time. Luckily, the rolls themselves were fairly cheap (I didn't go for the fancy raw fish), so I wasn't out much. But I want to try again in the future.

Grade: C
Ichiban on Urbanspoon

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