Ichiban Sushi - Downey
If you ever find yourself in Downey, the first thing you should do is go to Porto's. But if you ever find yourself in Porto's, and somehow still have a space in your gut after all gorging on the wonderful pastries and Cuban goodies, you should walk across the parking lot and locate the dilapidated-looking green building you see above, especially if it's around lunch time.
Ichiban offers a good bento box for $6.50--a bargain, if you ask me.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you're reading this from anywhere outside a 10-mile radius of the place, I wouldn't advise trekking out of your way for it. What Ichiban offers some other restaurant near you probably offers. Their prices may be low, but your effective savings will dwindle the more you have to burn precious gas to get here.
It still must be noted that a bento box of equivalent size would go for twice as much in Irvine. Believe me, I've paid for it.
In this $6.50 lunch, Ichiban gives you everything you need, and nothing you don't. The rice is hot, the shredded cabbage salad cooling. The California rolls are luscious and creamy, and the teriyaki chicken appropriately smoky even if it's slightly pedestrian.
The best part of the meal, in my opinion, are the panko-breaded planks of "fish". I use quotes around the "fish", because as thin as these swoops already are, the breading accounts for what I gather is almost the entire girth and thickness. There's only a mere suggestion of any sort of ocean-dwelling protein; but it's one that I'll buy into only on the strength of its slightly oily, but raucous crunchy crust. A drizzle of katsu further bolsters it with flavor.
Pure and simple, I liked this bento box and I liked what I paid for it. This, above all, is a lunch that starts paying out dividends the minute the obligatory bowl of soothing miso soup (not pictured) arrives. In the two times I've been to Ichiban (the first visit was years ago before Porto's even existed), I have not tried any of Ichiban's actual sushi, nor do I think I really need to.
Besides that, these days, if I'm ever in Downey, there's usually a stash of Porto's desserts in the car awaiting consumption.
11020 New Street
Downey, CA 90241-3715
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