Sunday, 9 November 2008

26.10.08: Sushi Ichiban, Portland, OR

A top tip from friends of a friend led us downtown to Sushi Ichiban (formerly Sushi Takahashi), a snug little treasure of a sushi joint where pricing is by the plate and it's hard to eat more than $20 worth (even for deux).

The usual suspects: salmon, tuna, and unagi nigiri
We were so dizzy at the prospect of good, affordable sushi after going so long without - have you noticed, not so much sushi for din-dins, except when we make it? - that we kept forgetting to take pics of everything, managing only a few. Here's the rundown as best we recall.

- Miso soup
- Nigiri: salmon, tuna, unagi (eel), tomago (egg),
- Rolls: spicy tuna, spicy something else ('cho-cho'?).
- Oddity: 'jalapeno popper', rice and a strip of bell pepper wrapped in a soybean strip with some creamy, spicy sauce on top to emulate the typical frozen delicacy.

'Jalepeno popper' style sushi. Exotic, yes; Advisable, no.
SHE SAYS: For the price, it was all marvelous. And the escolar was a revelation: smooth and almost juicy. (It wasn't even on the menu, so we must thank our F.O.F. for that one.) Tuna and salmon were both good; had we been on our own, I would have ordered up some more salmon, sashimi-style, but we ahd a lot already to share.

Rolls, quizzically, were served in three pieces, not ideal for sharing. All were ok, but none impressive. The jalapeno thing was ho-hum, but v. clever in mimicking its namesake so closely. I didn't like the mayo-ish spicy-sweet house sauce so much - except for unagi and the hallowed Ninja crunchy roll, I much prefer my sushi lean and clean. But all in all, an excellent deal worth repeating if we're in the area again.

Stacked! That's a little over $30, for four people.
HE SAYS: From the decor of the place you would not necessarily think of fresh sushi being an option, but looks can be deceiving. We have not eaten that much sushi this year, for good reason: most sushi restaurants in London are extremely overpriced and hit-or-miss on quality. We also like to indulge ourselves when we have sushi, and I find that hard to do when two pieces of raw fish cost more than new pair of shoes. (Almost.)

I agree with Her that the escolar was fantastic. The salmon was also very tasty, soft and buttery with no fishy aroma or taste. The roll portions were a little stingy, but that's a very small quibble. So after gorging ourselves on sumptuous amouns of sushi goodness, we left having spent around $15 for both of us. You can't beat that with a stick, or crunchy roll.

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