Tag Archives: Ichiban

Jpan: 8126 Main street, Lakewood Ranch, FL

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AH! Finally, A great place for sushi that isn’t ridiculously overpriced AND has excellent quality fish, creative rolls and great service. The bonus here is that it’s less than 5 minutes from my condo AND they are open for lunch with great deals for around $10.

Gabriel and I went for dinner with another couple here a few nights ago and were really happy to have tried it. We shared a bowl of perfectly cooked edamame, some awesome cold sake (they do not have a full bar which was the one downfall) and 6 different maki rolls. We also ordered some tamago sushi and some scallop sushi. Everything was spot on. This is the first sushi place in the area that I will definitely go back to aside from my current favorite, Ichiban. (https://bigforkinmouth.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/ichiban-2724-stickney-point-rd-sarasota-fl/) This was only slightly more expensive- but we did have drinks here, so I felt that $30 per person for dinner was totally reasonable. I left feeling full and happy 🙂

The service was fantastic and we all really appreciated that no one seemed to mind that we lingered to chat long before we ordered and long after we finished eating.

Hooray Jpan! Just another reason to love living in Lakewood Ranch. Give it a try!

 

Matsuri Sushi: 8209 Nature’s Way #111 Bradenton, FL

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On a quest to find out if there’s anywhere else worthwhile, (aside from Ichiban’s awesome all-you-can-eat sushi for $20)  Gabriel and I decided to have dinner at Matsuri a few nights ago. It’s literally one mile from our condo- which is pretty darn convenient, and because of that, paired with the fact that there were lots of good reviews online, we thought we’d check it out. I should mention that we’d stopped in once before when we were heading to a wine tasting across from the restaurant, but we left because it had a very off-putting smell of sulphur. Staying true to my “I’ll try anything twice” motto, we gave it a second chance and were pleased to walk in this time and find no such returning offensive odor.

We sat immediately in a comfortable booth and the waitress brought our menus and water. We ordered a salad to share, a steamed gyoza appetizer, some assorted rolls and my standard, tamago sushi. In a sushi class I took a long time ago, I was taught that one of the true marks of a good sushi chef is well-cooked tamago. This basically means that there are no brown striations through it, and that it is fluffy and seasoned just right. In the same way that I choose a plain slice of pizza when I sample a new pizza place, or a pad thai when I try a new Thai place, I always get tamago when I go for sushi.

The salad and gyoza were both about average. The salad was not just a pile of boring iceberg lettuce, but actually nice dark mixed greens and other veggies. The dressing was not the classic ginger/carrot one that usually comes at Japanese restaurants, but a more unusual sweet and tangy vinegar based one. The gyoza was super fresh and really delicious, filled with fresh meat and veggies- it was different than what restaurants often serve, presumably right out of the freezer.

The rolls were pretty good but nothing to write home about. While the ingredients did seem fresh, the seaweed didn’t have the tell-tale fresh snap to it, and the rice seemed a bit too compressed and overcooked. The tamago, however, was awesome and done perfectly. I could have eaten about 4 more of those.

This was a decent amount of food for a decent price- but when it comes down to it, unless it’s blow-me-away good quality, I will have a hard time letting anything win out over Ichiban’s amazing deal. $20 for all you can eat AND the choices are creative, varied and numerous. Yup. That’s still the local winner for me.

 

Ichiban: 2724: Stickney Point Rd. Sarasota, FL

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My new job is about 3 minutes from Ichiban and when I saw that they offer all-you-can-eat sushi for under $20 (if you pay cash. It’s $23 with credit cards) I couldn’t wait to check it out.

Gabriel picked me up from work yesterday and we headed straight over. We were seated right away and given paper check lists on which to make our choices. One menu included teriyaki and tempura options and the other was all sushi, maki rolls and hand rolls. There were 5 specials also included on the list and the waiter also informed us that we could also add salad and or soup. Wow. I was already impressed. The lists were very extensive. We are used to AYCE sushi in NYC that has only the most simple and basic choices and were really excited to see how far our $20 was going to go here.

We both started with a salad. The dressing was awesome, but the iceberg (blah, boring) lettuce was not fresh– brown pieces everywhere. We were both happy enough with the dressing that we ate it anyway, and I would quickly come to see that this first course was the ONLY negative thing about the whole meal.

Next, the waiter brought out our tempura and teriyaki choices. The tempura was pretty good- though not super light and flaky like it should be…but it was hot and fresh and the flavor of the sauce was perfect. The teriyaki beef was surprisingly good- tender meat with tons of sweet and tangy flavor. It’s cool that when you order from that hot cooked food list, you order by the bite sized piece, so it’s perfect for just having little taste samples of whatever sounds good without committing to huge portions.

Next we got our first plate of sushi. (I actually completely and totally forgot to photograph round 2 of our teriyaki, tempura and sushi choices..OOPS!) We had about 10 total rolls and 5 pieces each of very tasty fish. Some of the standouts were the scallop roll, the Sarasota roll (tempura shrimp topped with lobster and eel sauce, YUM. This was my favorite) and the alaska roll. The sushi here is very good. It is not the ultimate, top quality fish you find at some restaurants, but it IS definitely fresh and very very good. If you want to spend triple the amount for fresher fish, than by all means go for it. I’d personally MUCH rather spend $20 for ridiculous quantities of very good quality fish here.

When we were full-as-can be, we got our check and realized that we didn’t bring enough cash. My bad. So, we got one of the $19.95 deals but had to pay $22.95 for the one we used a credit card. Including tax & tip, we spent around $50 for this awesome meal, and calculated that we’d most likely eaten WELL over $100 worth.

We will definitely, positively, absolutely and certainly be going back. Frequently. Soon. Yay! BRAVO.