Friday, July 26, 2013

Bowie Restaurant Project: (70) Ichiban Sushi Asian Bistro

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

Ichiban Sushi Asian Bistro, 3921 Evergreen Pkwy.
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 7/23/2013
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 2
Pre-Foursquare Visits: Yes
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I was really hoping to like this place better than I did. My previous visits were all in the days before they annexed the former Dunkin' Donuts location next door and added "Asian Bistro" to their name. At the time it was one of the few place in the area to get sushi, and I remember liking it a lot.

On my first recent visit, I got some takeout Thai curry. I had been disappointed in the blandness of East Moon's Thai food, so a colleague's tip that Ichiban now served Thai food seemed like a good excuse to see if I could do better. Unfortunately, the meal was similarly bland, until the end, when I hit a pocket of heat.

To confirm that I wasn't just misremembering what Thai food is supposed to taste like, the next day I got a similar meal from Lemongrass in Crofton. It wasn't super-hot, but it had more of a kick, and the flavors just tasted correct. I hope to visit Thai of Waugh Chapel soon in my quest for a Thai place to recommend, but my top recommendation definitely isn't going to be in Bowie.

For my second visit, I went with five co-workers. The service was pretty good, although our waitress seemed to depart the table fairly quickly. I had to ask twice to get water along with my tea.

I couldn't put my finger on what I didn't love about the miso soup, but one co-worker said, "not enough miso" and another described it as "watery."  The salad was fine, but the sushi was underwhelming. There was nothing wrong with it, but I didn't get that, "Oh boy, I'm eating sushi" feeling I usually get.

I was tempted to give it 3 stars on the basis of my memories from a few years back, and the fact that my co-workers were more enthusiastic than I am, until I thought of another element. Prices. The sushi lunch special at Ichiban is $13 for five pieces of sushi and a California roll.  At East Moon, it's $10.95 for seven pieces and a California roll. At Golden Pavilion, it's $11 for the same.

I'd recommend either East Moon or Golden Pavilion over Ichiban, with a slight nod to East Moon. The area still doesn't have one sushi place I'd drive past all the others to get to. Christina and I really enjoyed our meal at Fuji in Waugh Chapel recently, but it wasn't better than East Moon. I still have to try Sakura, and a few other non-Bowie locations before I can definitively say there is no "go-to" sushi place in the area.

So 2.5 stars.

Bowie Restaurant News

This review begins a countdown of sorts for me (at number 10). After this, I have 9 more reviews to write to complete my goal of reviewing every Bowie restaurant. (Of course, at least three new restaurants will probably open before then.)

Bowie Living reports that the Olive Grove continues its extensive renovations to the former Outback and expect to open in the fall.

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