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Ichiban on Eglinton E. - not bad!

So this place was highly regarded in some Japanese resto threads and I happened to be there the other night with a large party so I thought I might post a review.

Service - very good. Waitress was prompt, pleasant, didn't make any mistakes with our orders and was very attentive with the removal of dishes and whatnot. Also, our group had a mix of payment methods so she had to break the bill down into about 4 or 5 parts, this was done quickly and accurately. Based on the size of our party we also received some complimentary sweetened fried chicken to start with.

Sushi/sashimi - very good. I had the 25pc boat (all to myself!) and the fish was definitely fresh and presented well. There was shredded daikon served with it, and that was a nice authentic touch. Shiso leaf would have really added to it, as many enjoy wrapping their sashimi in shredded daikon and shiso leaf before dipping. I have no idea whether that's readily available here but as I say it really would have added to the authenticity overtop of lettuce.

Gyoza - so so. Deep fried dumplings, nothing more. The process of boiling and then lightly frying should give gyoza both a soft and crispy side without drying out the shell. By contrast these were completely dried out and crunchy, not really what I had hoped for. No chili oil in the dipping sauce either, but then again I didn't bother asking since I gave most of them away.

Edamame - very good, hot and salted as it should be.

Takoyaki - so so at best. Deep fried balls of mayonnaise/fish-flavoured stuff. Not authentic, don't bother. See: the takoyaki thread.

Rolls - I didn't have any myself but several others did and they were all presented well and no one complained. Quite a few Japanese among us too. Portions were good.

Miso - not bad, flavourful and not watered down.

Price point - Reasonable. For two of us the total was around $90 and that's with some non-alcoholic drinks, three appetizers, my 25pc sashimi boat, her 15pc sashimi set, tax and tip. I left feeling satisfied stomach-wise and wallet-wise.

Overall - definitely a place I would return to and I will keep it tucked in my back pocket for future occasions. They also have private booths and dining rooms, I wouldn't hesitate to book a small gathering there if the occasion called for Japanese food.

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  1. You were fortunate with Ichiban's Eglinton Ave. branch. I had the GTA's worst Japanese food at the Ichiban on Kingston Rd. west of Midland. Awful! A suggestion - don't go there. Ever.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bob Catt

      Bob Catt, you mean you were at Kingston & Midland and you didn't just shoot over to Zen? How come?

      1. re: Googs

        Oh yes, I've often shot over to Zen where we get real food, not like Ikky ban. And to JJJ Jerk for jerk chicken takeout, and to the Bo Peep where the burger special is rather tasty, if nutritionally naughty.

        1. re: Bob Catt

          Bob Catt, have you ever tried Channaman's on the north side of Eglinton just west of Midland for the roti? I haven't been in quite a while, but they used to be very tasty.

      2. re: Bob Catt

        All the Ichiban's are completely different. Even the menus are not the same. It's important to identify which Ichiban you're talking about (as you've done).

      3. 50 - is this the Ichiban on Eglinton just east of Yonge (at Dunfield?) ... If so, I walk by there everyday. I've been wondering what it's like.

        6 Replies
        1. re: rbc

          Yes this is the place on the south side across from the Dunfield club.

          1. re: rbc

            I think Ichiban at Eglinton&Dunfield is the best sushi place in Yonge/Eg area right now. Sono (just a bit north of yonge) used to be the best, but sadly it sort of "retired"... I have tried most of the sushi places around yonge/eg area including Sushi Rock, Sushi Garden, Sasaya, Sushi Kai, Sushi Star, Sushi Supreme...etc, but all of them disappointed me. After Sono closed down, I wouldn't go to any sushi restaurant in this area until Ichiban opened. Ichiban makes beautiful and very tasty sushi and maki (they did their sushi rice pretty well and the fish is always fresh), but some other non-make/sushi items I've tried were not as impressive and authentic....

            1. re: shinchanchan

              I also miss Sono, but agree that Ichiban is the best in the neighbourhood. Fresh fish, great presentation and service make for a great experience there however I don't like sitting near the windows there in the winter. It's far too chilly!

              1. re: eller

                They used to be really good when they first opened and may have slipped a little within the last 2 months but would agree that Ichiban is the best in the area for sushi.

              2. re: shinchanchan

                i eat lunch there regularly, and but when i got there on Dec. 15, but there was a note on the door saying that they were temporarily closed due to water damage. When I went back to check on Jan. 2, there was a strongly-worded letter from the landlord on the door. It seems that they may have gotten into some sort of dispute with the landlord, and I wonder if they will be re-opening at all. This is quite sad to report as I agree that their sushi (especially the nigiri sushi) was the best that I've sampled in the area.

                1. re: 0ntar10

                  i hope they re-open. i have mostly eaten at sushi kai and enjoy it, but am interested to try ichiban based on t he positive reviews. i'm not in that area as much as i used to be, so any update on the situation would be appreciated. thanks!

            2. Meh...I ate at the one near Shepphard and Yonge...

              I ordered Sashimi on rice (it was different from what I was thinking, I thought it would be minced sashimi and you mix it with the rice like those rice dishes in Japan?) and I had to take out half of the contents. The rice was over seasoned and too um..sticky and stiff. There was white tuna which I threw out, along with a LOT of zucchinis, carrot shavings, and this white vegetable stuff. All that left was a tamago which was not soft, and definitely not cake-like except for the fact it was sweet (too sweet...). Salmon and tuna were typical, hamachi was dry and stringy (which is most places I tried so...meh).

              And my meal came with dessert, it was like four really small pieces of fruit...I got the least out of my table to wth?

              1. Walking past this place twice a day, I noticed that they are now in fact closed.

                They have a typed document on their doors, something regarding a legal issue with a total dollar amount of $96,000 or so, I was not able to read the entire thing as it was behind their sand blasted glass doors, but it looks like these guys are in some deep shit!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sadistick

                  I can confirm this. It's too bad that its fate was sealed so soon, as I can really go on and on about the lack of great sushi in the Y/E area.