Ichiban Sushi Bar and Asian Cuisine is a sushi sensation on Indy’s Southside. Countless exceptional reviews tell the story of Sammy and his wife Bonnie who opened the restaurant in 2006. Sammy (who was born in China) is a very friendly and outgoing person and seems to know everyone and he also knew it was important to have an easy to pronounce American name!
A Family Affair
At the time Sammy started Ichiban, Jason and Ivy started a take-out restaurant in Long Island, NY. Sammy is Ivy?s brother-in-law and he invited Jason and Ivy to join him in the business in 2009 along with two other partners and family members. David is Sammy?s brother and is the main chef in the kitchen and his wife is Annie who also works in the restaurant. Lenny is Sammy?s brother-in-law and handles the business side of the restaurant. Lenny?s wife Mandy works in the restaurant. Ichiban represents four close knit families who work 7 days per week serving an exceptional selection of lunch and dinner specialties.
Ichiban enlarged the restaurant in a dramatic way in 2010 adding 3000 s.f. of dining room and bar. The d?cor is stunning and offers sushi bar counter seating, booths, tables and traditional Japanese seating which is a low table with a recessed floor beneath. Sammy and Bonnie retired in 2016 and Ichiban continues to thrive.
For those who are new to sushi, here is an introductory lesson. Sushi is a Japanese dish of specially prepared sticky rice flavored with vinegar, sugar and salt. It is combined with a variety of raw or cooked fish and vegetables, topped with a variety of sauces and served with sides of pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.
Sushi Safety and Freshness
All the raw sushi is frozen for the purpose of ensuring no parasites. When fish is frozen for 7 days, any parasites are killed.?Salmon comes in fresh, it is cut and frozen for 7 days.The rest of the fish comes in frozen. On a typical day the restaurant might go through?10 pounds of tuna? and 15 pounds of salmon. All fish is used within 48 hours.
Ichiban is meticulous in their preparation of the rice used in sushi. They use a gas fired rice cooker and while this cooker will hold 12 pounds of rice, they prepare the rice in 6 pound batches. They start with medium grain rice. It is cooked until the rice cooker says ?done.? Jason says, ?we let the rice sit 20 minutes longer in order to get it to the perfect consistency. It is then flavored with the rice vinegar, sugar and salt while the rice is still warm. It is allowed to cool and then it is ready for making a variety of sushi rolls.
Nigiri Sushi is made by forming a roll of sticky rice in the palm of the hand. It is topped with thin sliced raw fish, usually tuna, salmon or yellowtail. Nigiri can be made with cooked fish. Ichiban offers 21 selections of raw and cooked Nigiri Sushi.
Maki is a roll of sushi that starts with a paper thin seaweed wrap called Nori. Sushi rice is spread on the Nori. A variety of fish and vegetables are added. Ichiban offers 21 selections of Maki? Rolls including a vegetable roll.
Hand Roll is made of a rolled cone of seaweed wrapped around rice and fillings.
Over the course of a month, The Story Teller, sampled an incredible array of delicious food. During these many visits, I learned some interesting tales.
Ichiban offers over 40 Special Sushi Rolls and many of them are named after regular customers who requested special combinations. Hats off to Jim, Liz, Angie and Toni. The Saturday Roll was named after Colts football player Jeff Saturday. The Kate Roll is spicy soft shell crab topped with spicy crab stick and two kinds of sauce. The Liz Roll is great for those who want to skip the rice, it includes cucumber, salmon, crab, shrimp (cooked), egg (sweet and cooked), avocado with ponzu sauce. Big Mike is named after, you guessed it, a big guy named Mike. You might not guess Ukte Roll, which is named after a sushi chef and the special roll he created.
A recent visit found me sitting at the sushi bar next to Matt Scheib, the creator of the Dream Roll. This is a wonderful creation of tuna, salmon, spicy crab meat, tobiko and spicy sauce over shrimp tempura.
The Story Teller Creates a New Roll for the Menu
This was so much fun and I wanted to create an original roll for the menu. So the Story Teller created the Storyteller Roll. It is a Paleo friendly, low carb roll of cucumber wrapped around asparagus, avocado, and green onion. It is topped with Tobiko which is flying fish eggs, a bright orange fish roe. Jason made half of it with raw tuna and the other half with raw salmon. This is how you order:
Storyteller Roll Part 1 is with Tuna
Storyteller Roll Part 2 is with Salmon
Storyteller Roll Part 3 is half Tuna half Salmon
I also learned you can ask for the rolls to be cut in thin pieces and for me it made it a more manageable size.
Most Popular-Most Labor Intensive
The Crazy Roll is the most popular sushi roll on the menu and is a shrimp tempura roll with spicy crab meat drizzled with 2 kinds of sauce.
Jason made a Dynamite Roll. It is spicy shrimp and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and rice. It is topped with avocado, onion and a layer of salmon. A flame torch is used to lightly cook the salmon. It is topped with Tobiko, the bright orange eggs of the flying fish. It is topped with spicy mayo and a sweet eel sauce. So delicious. So labor intensive.
Miso Soup is a broth soup made from Dashi (a Japanese soup stock made from bonito flakes, kelp and anchovy) and miso (a fermented paste often made from soybeans) topped with green onions and seaweed.
Clear Soup is a broth with green onions and crunchy tempura flakes.
An Ichiban specialty is a Thai soup called Tom Yam of clear lemon grass with shrimp, carrots, tomatoes with spicy and sour flavors.
The most unusual appetizer was Grilled Hamachi Kama. It is fish neck with ponzu sauce. From the Yellowtail fish, the section right below the gills is cut and grilled. This is a meaty fish grilled and lightly smoked to perfection. It is a huge serving and I took the leftovers home and made a tasty fish dip. There is only one of these cuts per fish, so check for availability.
The Ichiban Salad is thinly sliced cucumbers, crab sticks, topped with seaweed salad sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Jason knows how much I love raw Tuna and he served a delightful bowl of tuna topped with a thick rich brown sauce topped with green onions and sesame seeds. It was perfect, even more perfect than the tuna nigiri and when I asked what it was called he said ?tuna salad.? Not your mother's tuna salad for sure.
Lunch specials are served every day from 11 am ? 2:30 pm.
This is the perfect time to try a variety of Ichiban's specialties. They serve Teriyaki salmon, shrimp, chicken or steak and this includes miso soup, house salad with ginger dressing and steamed rice. There are a number of Sushi specials also including miso soup, and house salad starting at $8.25.
Try any of seven Chef?s Specialties to include the popular General Tso?s Chicken or Mongilian Beef $9. Sample lunch in a Japanese lunch box called a Bento Box. This is a beautifully lacquered box with several sections to hold a combination of teriyaki, shrimp tempura, a California roll of sushi and steamed rice. It includes miso soup and house salad starting at $11.50.
Dinner is served daily from 5 pm ? 9 pm and on Friday and Saturday until 10 pm
Specialties include Don Buri a Japanese rice bowl consisting of fish, meat and vegetables simmered together and served over rice. Ichiban offers six different Fried Rice dishes. They serve a variety of noodle dishes. Chef specialties include General Tso?s Chicken, Mongolian Beef and Steamed Red Snapper to name a few. Teriyaki is available in chicken, salmon, shrimp and steak. Special Bento Boxes contain a slection of tempura, Terikai, sushi, California roll and Gyoza-pan friend pork and vegetable dumplings.
Half Price Sushi Monday Night from 5 pm ? 7 pm Dine In Only
Enjoy 12 special sushi rolls at half price. California Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Spicy Salmon Roll, Spicy Shrimp Roll, Vegetable Roll, Salmon Skin Roll, Unagi Roll, Kappa Roll, Mango Roll, Avocado Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll and Tuna Cream Cheese Roll. Prices range from $1.38 – $2.65. Get there early, plan for a wait and enjoy an outstanding bargain.
Full Bar, Beer and Wine
Ichiban offers a full bar with beer and wine. Drink specials nightly.
After months of sampling new and exciting dishes, I pondered how the two young American hosts become part of the Ichiban family. Pierce Callender explained that his step-mom taught English to Mandy. They had an opening for a host and the rest is history. Pierce brought his Whiteland Highschool friend Brock Harris into the fray when a second host was needed. So now you know the whole story!
Ichiban Sushi and Asian Cuisine
8265 US 31 South
Indianapolis, IN 46227
Polly Riddell is writing under the pen name of G. Polly Jordan and is The Story Teller. She is a freelance journalist writing business spotlight promotional stories and positively in love with telling the God stories.
? The Story Teller 2018 Please share in its entirety with link back to story.