I love going out to eat Japanese food. A – because it’s really good. B – because I can’t recreate a lot of Japanese food at home very easily. I’ve tried making sushi before and it didn’t turn out nearly as good as when a trained Sushi Chef makes it (no surprise there, it takes years of training to become an itamae) and I don’t even want to think about deep-frying tempura at home.
I have a couple of favourite, go-to places for Japanese in Edmonton. I really enjoy Ichiban, it’s reasonably priced and pretty close to home. I also discovered Sushi Wasabi this summer, which is close to Southgate Mall. It seems to be quite authentic and all of the sushi that I have ordered there has been very delicious.
The last time I went to Ichiban was for my mom’s birthday dinner in August. I almost always get the bento box when I am there, as I like to be able to try a little bit of everything. I really like the way Ichiban has the bento boxes on the menu; you get the standard miso soup, salad, and rice, and then you get to pick 3 main items off a list, all for $18.50. This way you can personalize your bento box and really pick and choose what you like. Additionally, Ichiban always seems to be pretty good about allowing substitutions and changes, which I really appreciate.
I started dinner with some green tea and miso soup. I love miso soup broth, however I am not a fan of tofu… so the tofu chunks always just end up at the bottom of my soup bowl when I am done.
I chose the assorted tempura, chicken teriyaki and sushi (I substituted tekka maki instead of a California roll).
Everything was delicious. The tempura and chicken teriyaki were hot and crispy and the tuna in the tekka maki was pretty good considering Edmonton is land locked. The bento box is a good amount of food, enough, in fact, that I had some of the rice and chicken teriyaki for lunch the next day.
This summer I discovered another great Japanese restaurant, Sushi Wasabi, which many seem to consider Edmonton’s best Japanese restaurant. A couple of weeks ago, I visited twice in one week. Once with my friend Jenn and then later that week I treated my mom to dinner. Over the course of the 2 dinners me and my dining companions tried out a few different types of sushi.
I had the shrimp tempura roll, which was quite good. My only complaint is that I found each piece of sushi to be a little big. I had trouble eating it in one bite and then when I bit it in half it would start to fall apart. Minor complaint (and maybe it’s just me).
I also had the kappa maki, which was good, but really pretty standard kappa maki.
Jenn had an assorted sushi plate, that included salmon and tuna sushi and maki. She said it was very, very good.
My mom ordered some tamago (egg) sushi and she also really enjoyed her meal.
Overall, I would say that Sushi Wasabi is the place to go if you are looking for more authentic Japanese food. If I just wanted sushi or sashimi, I would head to Sushi Wasabi. Ichiban seems a little less authentic… I would go there if I was looking for a little more variety, like my beloved bento box. Also, my mom and I both decided we prefer the green tea at Ichiban… the tea at Sushi Wasabi almost had a bit of weird vinegary flavour. Strange.
I really like both restaurants, but if I had to choose, I would go for Ichiban.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Sunday!