Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ichibei, Suisha, Genji, Wasabi, Takara, and other Jap Restaurants, or the ones that want to be Jap vs Korean!

2007 11 11.. or thereabouts...

I went back to Ichibei for lunch recently and dropped $30 for lunch! The part I wanted to share was my chat with the sushi chef.....

Apparently he was the main sushi chef at Suisha Gardens! But wanted to start his own place... he was grumpy, but with a few enticements, divulged what he thought of Ramen and that the new center town place that has that great ramen that is so close to Japan, as some of the folks on Ottawa foodies have suggested....

As suspected ramen is fast food, like hamburgers, in Japan... I knew this, but to charge $17 a bowl... god forbid, where is the 'eating sense' in Ottawa.

Probably the only Jap rest I have not visited...... even forgotten it's name.... (Totoya)

and fish comes in twice a week, Tuesdays from east coast and Thursday from the west coast... uni actually comes in from Boston and toro... forget about it.... go to Tor.

2007 11 28.

Let me start by saying that there is an inordinate amount of interest in the Jap restaurants in Ottawa, & on the web... don't any of you know how to eat Jap food? ..... (I will give a tutorial as part of this piece....!!!)

I also noticed that the names of the restaurants in the title gets more hits.. shows how much you guys know about food... try or the yellow pages....!

revised.. 2007 08 25.

Ichibei @ 197 Bank

At $50-$60 pp all in for dinner, and no booze, this place is medium priced; as are all Jap restaurants run by Japs. That's why the chinks (I am a chink and I know the margins!!!) have gotten a hold of the margins!.

Over $100 for dinner, without booze and tip and taxes is expensive...., ok?

Now Ichibei...

At least the raw fish is fresh... OmaKasi (sushi chef decides on what’s fresh and he sets it up for you) ...Toro, Sable fish, Mackerel and Salmon. Extremely fresh... just about as good as it gets on a Thursday night in Ottawa. Especially the Saba or Mackerel, which is a challenging nigiri sushi fish at the best of times. At a buck a piece, it was cheap... 3 x 4 pieces... (They didn’t have uni, alas...) ....... And you know my opinions on salmon sushi.... it is always fresh... snicker...

The dinners were pretty standard; steak, trout and eel.

The trout was the most interesting, unfortunately ordered by a transitioning vegetarian, so the crispy skin was not appreciated, nor the head and cheeks of the fish. Nicely de-boned.

The eel was nice and moist and ‘fatty’. I kind of like it a little more dry and crispy, but this had an interesting flavour to it. (humility here... more later...)

At $25 a shot/dinner, a little expensive. Each dinner came with miso soup, rice and a mayo based appetizer, the last of which was nothing to write home about.

(Have stories about service (sukiyaki), good, (and humility about the eel!) and the sushi chef, grumpy, .... but will add these later..... keep in touch.... and try to read the rest of the site for the 'basis' of my opinions.....!)

Another $12 for a steak appetizer that was also expensive and 'good' tasting. That, with three green teas and no dessert came to $150 for the group of three.

All you can eat sushi (Sushi Kan) may not be as fresh, but a heck of a lot cheaper! (see other parts of this site) ...

Is it better than Genji, the fish is fresher, but it is more expensive, so there is less ‘value’. (see Genji review on this site, I liked them for trying, in a chinese way, so hard....). Compared to Suisha Gardens (baseline) ... I would say that it is a little more expensive than necessary. And they didn’t really provide amuse bouches....

So I would say, traditional, fresh fish, but little creativity in changing with the times...

(I personally know the manager of suisha, my kendo assistant coach, so I know he has been trying very hard to make it THE definitive Jap restaurant in Ottawa. He is doing a great job! But alas innovation is the new holy grail....)

And yes I have been here at Ichibei, many times before, for lunch and dinner, but not in the last couple of years or so.... My opinion has not changed and they have not improved. Only prices are slightly higher.

Will have more later on the other two parameters.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Foodies Sites and a Good Read

Now this is a site to visit for an interesting read about food and travel. (I am not a writer nor a food reviewer, so I can be sloppy in my comments, but they are all 'tongue in cheek')

Perhaps all those anal retentive folks on copyright laws, malaprops, puns and other things to do with language and its usage, can get an education on what it means to be a writer as well as a lover of food and life.

This is the context that my stuff should be read in!

And just for the record, right here, I have nothing against chinese chefs or cooks, as long as they can cook. Copying Thai, Italian, Indian or other cuisines and doing a bad job is what I would rail against as a 'place run by chinese'.... I am fully aware of Susur Lee and others as well as the funny ones like 'Wok with Yan' and 'Yan can cook', whom I do admire and have the utmost respect for. But stick with what you know.... (An average to good 'chinese' cook that has potential in Ottawa is the viet at 4 cuisines. Try them out.....)

That's the way I call them..... in all my blog notes here.....