8750 149 Street NW, Edmonton
Ichiban literally means number one, in the sense of, “the best”, and I’d have to say it is near one of the top places in Edmonton for sushi in my books. It’s located kind of West-ish (149st) and around 87th avenue, near Bon Ton Bakery. It recently got renovated and the entire complex actually looks very nice. It’s a bit out of the way for me, but every time I’ve been there, I’ve never left disappointed.
The inside of it is low and narrow, with booths on one side, and tables on the other. There is a small bar in the back, but usually they just put orders for take-out here for when people come in to pay. I actually really like their booths because it’s nice a cozy and it’s a good place to relax and chat with your friends. I usually get pretty good a prompt service here, even when it’s relatively busy. One reason why I like this place is that their specialty rolls are modestly priced so you can always get a few and share!
The first thing you’re usually asked if whether or not you want complimentary miso soup. It’s kind of a nice addition to start off your meal, especially if you come here starving because it kind of tides you off and holds down your hunger. It’s nice and hot, and isn’t too salty! It usually comes with a decent amount of tofu and seaweed, and nice to sip and eat while waiting for your meal.
I wanted to try something new that none of us have ever had. We ordered the Okonomi Yaki. This is a Japanese pancake that can come with a variety of different ingredients. Ours was stuffed with shredded cabbage, onions, and shrimp. This was actually quite good. Compared to the Tonpei Yaki at Izakaya Tomo, this was very starch-ey. The filling was actually quite good and flavourful, and there was generous amounts of cabbage. This is definitely a good dish to order to share. It’s pretty big and filling and comes modestly priced. I do have to say though that the Tonpei Yaki at Izakaya Tomo was really meaty and full of pork loin, and if they added this to their Okonomi Yaki it’d be even better!
One of the things I always like to try, or get other people to try, is the assorted sashimi. I know that raw fish may not be for everyone, but there’s so many different kinds! And they each have their own flavours and different textures so it’s good to have a little bit of everything to try! I find that the sashimi here is relatively fresh and pretty consistent during all my visits. I do think that the sashimi at Sushi Wasabi may be a little bit better, but their lack of options, maki-wise, tips the scale to Ichiban for myself personally. Another thing that I find almost always amazing here is their white tuna. It’s one of my favourite fish for sashimi. It’s so tender and buttery and literally melts in your mouth. If you don’t quite want to commit to a whole assorted plate of sashimi, I recommending getting a half order of this to try!
Two appetizers that we tried was the fried soft-shell crab and the Yaki Hotate. Yaki Hotate is a baked scallop in a missonaise sauce. This was very rich and good! It came out pipping hot and was pretty good for 3.95. Definitely tasty and good every once and a while. The other appetizer was the soft-shell crab. This not bad. Very soft and easy to eat. It is a little bit heavy though, and about the same price as one of their specialty rolls, so I might have opted to get a roll instead, but still very good.
The two rolls we decided on for this occasion was the Lava Lava roll, which is one of the ones I always get, and a new one, the passion maki. I find that their rolls are so reasonably priced here, with many at 9.95. The Lava Lava roll is said to be one of their best selling rolls, and for good reason. It’s softshell crab, tobiko, layered with unagi and avocado. It’s definitely very flavourful. You get a lot of eel on top, and just the right amount of sauce to give it the extra amount of flavour. The other roll, passion Maki, was the first time that I’ve ever gotten it. It’s cooked snapper and eel layered outside, with cucumber, avocado, egg, tobiko and mayo on the inside, topped with green onions and teriyaki. This was also very good. I love avocado and I love eel, so this was also a very good combo. Again, all of their rolls are at most 9.95 so don’t be afraid to get multiple and try lots!
At the end of the meal, we ended up getting an additional chop chop cone just because we didn’t quite satisfy or craving for scallops. Cones are a great because they’re relatively cheap, and give you lots of the main ingredient all nicely wrapped in a cone!
I’ve been to Ichiban a number of times now, and this place, and Japonais Bistro is what I use to compare other Japanese restaurants. Ichiban is really great for its price, and I definitely recommend coming here to try their specialty rolls. The ones I definitely recommend are the Lava Lava maki, Volcano maki, and super spider maki. I also really enjoy the atmosphere in here. The staff are all very friendly and it’s definitely a place that you can go to hang out with your friends and enjoy a nice and relatively cheap meal!