Seriously, people. This is getting ridiculous. I am getting so desperate for material that I sat on this post for almost an entire week. I can’t wait until I get back into the “groove” of my job so that I can get back into a regular posting schedule!
Anyway, Ichiban was my birthday dinner with my family. My mom gave me that option of getting a birthday cake or going out to eat, and since I knew that there would be cake at my in-laws’ when we ate with them the same day, I opted for dinner out. We were actually supposed to go to another restaurant, but my sister called called me and told me there was an hour-and-a-half wait so we were going to Ichiban instead. Fine with me. I like Ichiban better than said other restaurant anyway. Plus it gave me blog post material….
If you’ve never been to Ichiban, it’s the whole hibachi experience with the chef that puts on a big show, tossing knives and setting things on fire. I am under no illusions that this is in any way “authentic” Japanese food, but you can’t argue that it’s fun to watch and the food tastes good. We hadn’t been in quite some time because you also get seated around a large hibachi so you often end up sitting with people you don’t know, which Philip hates, so we only go if we are with a group (which isn’t often). My family took up our entire side of the table, though, so we didn’t need to worry about that. In fact, no one else was even seated in the same room as us. Hmmmm.
When you order, you are brought a cup of chicken broth with a couple of scallions floating in it. It’s pretty bland (and not just here…universally so, at least in my experience) but for some reason I slurp it down anyway. Next, an iceberg salad with a bright orange ginger dressing. I like the dressing okay, but the whole combination is a bit watery and I despise iceberg in every form except a wedge salad. I have a great recipe for ginger dressing (which I should share sometime) that I like a lot better than this one and that has the added bonus of the fact that you can use it to top whatever greens you wish.
I decided to get the shrimp and steak combo with fried rice. Philip decided on the filet mignon, also with fried rice. As is usual for us, we asked for our steaks medium-rare. The meal is served with steamed rice, but I always add fried rice for $1.00. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone order it with just the steamed rice! I wonder how much money they make from fried rice??? Anyway, the meal also comes with mixed vegetables-onions, zucchini, and broccoli- that are cooked on the hibachi as well as very finely shredded cabbage that they only give you if you want it (I did). You get the rice first, then the vegetables, and the meat is last. Everything is doused with soy sauce and ginger sauce and cooked with oil and butter (at least I tell myself that the gigantic yellow block they use is butter, not margarine. Please don’t tell me any different. I eat there about once every 4 years and I don’t want to know.). It’s amazing how much the chef can have going on and still get every detail correct, cook the food just right, and crack jokes. Our chef asked my (picky-eater) nephew why he wasn’t eating and if he was on a diet….then he asked my mom how she liked her steak and if he could have a bite. Funny guy. He told us he had been doing the job for eight years.
Ichiban is not an inexpensive place. Meals range from about $13 (I think) to around $25 for the steak and lobster. As with many places that I’ve written about, I consider it a special occasion or once-in-a-while restaurant. Anyway, who wants to go watch that show on, say, a weekly basis (maybe my 5-year-old nephew, who had a gigantic smile on his face the entire time, although he wouldn’t let me take his picture)? Still, we got two nights worth of meals out of it. Speaking of paying…you get fortune cookies when you pay. I learned this week that fortune cookies, though mostly served at Chinese restaurants, are actually a Japanese creation.
Ichiban is located at 5035 Hixson Pike, Hixson, TN 37343. You can call them at 423-875-0473. Visit their website at http://www.yourichiban.com.