Recently, I was told that Ichiro's had been renovated. During my last group of visits, the place was starting to look its age. Which is over 30 years old. Ichiro's (though Ichiro is no longer at Ichiro's) is kind of a dying breed; the uncorporate looking, concept free, family owned joint.....I will often use the term "Japanese-American Diner" when talking in terms of places like Ichiro and Yoshino. Fairly inexpensive, by the book, Japanese style dishes. Not quite super gringo, but safe enough for the unadventurous.
I decided that I should do one of my circling back posts on Ichiro's and recently revisited for several lunches.
While the exterior looked pretty much the same, the interior had been upgraded or at least freshened up a bit. And while the tables and chairs were of pretty typical quality, the booths looked quite nice and the walls clean.
We've been going thru some see-saw weather recently. On this day, it was pretty cool outside so I went with the Nabeyaki Udon.
The broth was too salty, like something from a base. The noodles were a tad overdone and starting to get mushy....speaking of mushy...that sad looking shrimp tempura was it. This was disappointing.
I thought of just writing the whole circling back thing off, but decided to play it out.
On my next visit, I went with a basic dish that any Japanese Restaurant serving it should do well. Katsu; in the case Chicken Katsu. When it arrived, the first thing that went thru my mind was, "man, this thing need to spend some time in the tanning booth".
In spite of the very light color, the chicken katsu was done pretty well; it was light and crisp, the chicken moist, and unlike a version I'd had the weekend before, the breading was not falling off the chicken. Everything else was pretty much by the book. The miso soup was actually a bit better than what I'd had before......it actually had some flavor to it.
Not bad overall.
Which meant that I had to complete the trifecta of visits. By this time the weather had turned; well quite warm. In fact, we had a few days of record high temperatures. I looked thru the menu and saw the Reimen, basically Hiyashi Chuka.
This was ok; the noodles were standard issue and the sauce tasted like it came from a package. The crab mixture tasted a bit off.....sadly, the item I enjoyed best was the corn, which kind of says a lot.
During my visits to Ichiro, I noticed a couple of things. during my three visits, there was not a single Asian person other than yours truly eating in the place. I also saw a couple of interesting, well, humorous things. One guy had a salad for his entrée delivered to his table. He didn't know how to use chopsticks and asked for a fork. When they went to get it for him, he just proceeded to eat his salad with his hands! Yikes! And then there was the guy on the table next to me who looked at my reimen and asked the very nice server what it was......she told him, "it is cold ramen, called reimen." Apparently he couldn't hear very well because he said real loud, "OK....I'll have some of THAT SEMEN!" I almost spit my food out!
So while the food just wasn't what I was looking for....at least the nice folks here, and the customers gave me a good laugh. I'll never look at reimen the same way.......I'm not sure that I can even order it again!
Ichiro's Japanese Restaurant
4344 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111