Ichiban: my new favorite sushi restaurant.

Yes, Benkay, you have been usurped. Mostly. Let me get my apologies for Benkay out of the way first. I will concede that Benkay has a better and more comprehensive Japanese food menu (i.e. not just sushi). This is the place I would take someone to get a real introduction to Japanese food in Nashville, and their sushi and sobas are on par with Ichiban. That said, Benkay has two major factors working against it:

  1. They are not 1 block within walking distance of me.
  2. They are owned by Moonies. (No joke. Search for Benkay.)

But enough about Benkay. Let’s talk about Ichiban. I love this restaurant. It’s not the cheapest place in the world, but I love it. It’s small, cozy and warm. On a cold, blustery December night, there’s no place better to wind up than at the spacious wooden booths at Ichiban, ordering some sake while you wait for a giant piping hot bowl of tempura soba. That, my friends, is fat-man’s heaven, and it’s my little downtown refuge from the cold hard world.

Anyways, the menu is small but solid. The sushi chef is great – everything is fresh and tasty. I usually get the soba with a few rolls of sushi, but they were out of soba the other night so we had the udon, and it was just as good.

Also, I am fairly certain that they put something in their unfiltered sake. I even asked them what brand they used, and verified it’s just Momokawa Pearl unfiltered sake (god’s gift to man) that I buy. But no matter how many times I drink this stuff at home, it’s just not the same as it is at Ichiban, either served in a masu (a presentation that is growing on me) or a wine-glass. It always seems creamier and tastier. A testament to the euphoric effects of atmosphere, I suppose.

Anyways, do yourself a favor and check out this restaurant. And while you’re at it, call me. I’ll meet you there. Seriously, I can be there in 5 minutes.