Mommy, I Want The Eel!

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Dave’s View:  I was expecting more from Ichiban Noodles & Sushi in the Castleton area.  Okay, so the outside of the restaurant looks run down, but that usually means the owners don’t have that much free time so they invest whatever leftover  time they have into the food.

Actually, when you do enter the restaurant, it’s not as run down as you think.  It has more of a “handyman” feel to it than anything else.  The walls are painted with sandy, gritty semi-muted yellow and the bar is made of various  2×4 lumber, also, painted in the same color: yellow.  There are no base boards and the flooring comes in squares.  As in dark green carpet squares.  It will remind you of the basement remodel project that you wish you could have done.  Or maybe you have done.

Now to food:

Looks tasty doesn’t it?  Unfortunately it’s not.  The Yaki Udon is what it’s called.  It’s crispy pork  with thick, soft wheat noodles.  They noodles are made well, but the taste is very subtle.  The noodles are thick, but they don’t pick up much flavor from the surrounding ingredients.  Even the crispy pork can’t help this meal.  The meal, all in all, is very bland.

On the hand, the service here is impeccable.  Our waitress was very kind and helpful.  Another server, who looks like one of the owners, was also pleasant.  She was an older Asian woman who looked like she has worked many hard years.  I wanted to get up from the table and hug her and tell her to take a vacation.  Even if I could convince her to take a vacation, her vacation would consist of spending time serving food at this restaurant.

Even though the food is lacking, there is one aspect of this restaurant that most restaurants do not have.  That is spirituality.  I’ve never seen so many different types of patrons enter a restaurant before.  You have people on their first date, gay couples, bikers, runners, construction workers, you name it, they have all been here.  This place is the mecca for families.  All different types of families.  One child, single parents, five kids, three parents.(Yes, I’m counting the grandmother.)  The children that we saw were extremely well-behaved and quite odd.  I mean,  what kid raises their hand and says, ” Mommy, I want the eel!” It is a testament of exemplary parenting skills.  This kid was “pigging” out on eel sushi and he wanted more.  I kept asking myself, “Am I in Indiana?”  No, you entered the Ichiban Noodles & Sushi restaurant.  You may not like our food, but damn it, we’ll make you a better person when you leave.

Food:  5   Service  9   Ambiance:  7   Total:  21 out of 30.                      Spirituality:  12 out of 10.

$40-$50 with adult beverages.

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Andrea’s View:  I have always been aware of Ichiban Noodles and Sushi on Bash Street, but I never thought about it as a food adventure until just recently.  Last week, as I was trying to get to Castleton from Fishers, (a difficult task with all the construction), I passed by this little restaurant and thought to myself, “Why have Dave and I not eaten here?”  I mean it is housed in what looks like a shack.  And I mean that as a good quality.  And Dave and I have never reviewed a Japanese restaurant.  AND, it has both noodles and sushi.   I love sushi, but Dave is not a big fan of it, but he could get noodles here.  So I suggested it to Dave and two nights later we arrived in the parking lot.  When I entered the restaurant, I must say that I was a little disappointed.  It looks like a shack on the outside with its hand-painted sign, so I expected it to look like a shack on the inside too.  I was looking forward to eating my sushi on a picnic table on top of dirt floors.  Oh well, it actually looks like a real restaurant inside.  We were seated by a very nice hostess and promptly given hot towels.  And so you don’t have a blonde moment like I did, the bamboo holder in the middle of the table is not for resting chopsticks, it’s for discarding  your hot towel.   Dave ordered his noodles and I ordered my sushi.  This menu consists of a wide variety of both noodles and sushi.  I ordered the yellow tail nigiri, the salmon roll, and the eel and cucumber roll.  I don’t like a lot of sauces, spicy mayos, or cream cheese with my sushi, I like to taste the fish itself.  The two rolls were sauce, mayo, and cream cheese free, in fact the salmon roll was just salmon, seaweed, and rice.  And it was perfect.  The yellow tail was served on a bed of rice.  Perfectly simple.  The eel roll  was my favorite.  I cannot express to you how much I love eel.  This roll had eel, cucumber, rice, and seaweed.  Simple.  The eel was sweet and “carmelly” and the cucumber was crisp and cool.  I probably could have eaten two more rolls, but then my stomach would have exploded.  One other thing I must say about this restaurant.  This place is busy.  When Dave and I first arrived, I chuckled to myself over the size of the parking lot.  It just seemed a little ambitious to me to have so many spaces.  When we went in, there was just one other family in the dining room.  When we left however, the dining room was full with a mix of couples on a date and multi-generational families sharing a meal.  Good for these owners of the sushi shack.  They obviously work hard and they put out a good product.  It does not matter what the outside looks like, people go here for great food.  And obviously the word has spread.

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Ichiban Noodles on Foodio54

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