Sunday, February 27, 2011

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.

Ichiban Sushi
11020 New Street
Downey, CA 90241-3715
(562) 869-3082

Taco Asylum - Costa Mesa


At 4:11 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I too have not been to Ichiban in years due to other destination places, i.e., Sambi (RIP last month), Habana Cafe and now Porto's. It's a good thing I read your blog before I left for All American Hardware in Downey 'cause you reminded me to re-visit Ichiban even though I had planned on a Porto's lunch. I usually get the same lunch special and since I just exhausted my 26 weeks of unemployment I didn't splurge 'cause Porto's pastries were on the "to get" list. Lunch Special is everyday at Ichiban.

Walked over to Porto's and though I have a family of four, I bought about 30 different pastries, and yes lots of the cheese rolls. I don't have a sweet tooth so just got a few spinach croissants. Have you tried their sourdough bread? It toasts very nicely and PBH says better than Panera.

So, yes if you're within 10 miles of Downey, need to go to the hardware for specialty items and
Porto's for pastries, Ichiban is a deal--I even brought home leftovers. Talk about the triangle offense or trifecta to borrow your description.

So, Edwin, where are we eating next? With gas at $3.49/gal and no job, I like these types of inexpensive restos wherein I don't feel buyer's remorse afterwards.

I'll send you a separate note about the other part of my meal at Ichiban. Just in case the couple reads your blog, I don't want to post my comments.

Thanks again for the reminder. I'm staring at leftover fish and California rolls as well as four Porto's boxes.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Aren't those cheese rolls the best? After this Ichiban lunch I ate three and washed it down with tea. Now that's a dessert. I'm glad you didn't go too far for this. As I said, it's a bargain, but not if you have to drive to get it. But $6.50 for a bento box of this size with soup is a deal! Now I'm wondering what you thought of that "fish"!

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I wish Ichiban is closer so I can go more often and get two meals for $6.50. Problem is, not so inexpensive when I go to Porto's and spend close to $40 on pastries.

Best way I can describe the fish is, as thin as Jimmy Choo wanna-be soles but in a good way. I had the smaller piece for lunch and hours later the other piece. Even with the two rows of tonkatsu sauce, it remained crispy without reheating which probably would have ruined it. It's like salmon skin with a thin layer of salmon, breaded with panko and deep fried. I forgot to take a pix of the miso soup but it's the same as other restos, not bad and it helped warm up the soul with the $1hot tea.

No cheese rolls for me -- gone baby, all gone. My dessert was the spinach croissant, the fam has the sweet tooth. Still have to try Valerio's cheese rolls. Last time I went I got the banana turons instead.

take care...

At 9:58 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I actually ate here again this week! This time, I noticed the fish was thicker; but not by much. You described it exactly right!

This time though problem was that they didn't bring out my bento box after they brought out my date's. It never came out even as we finished off my date's while waiting. Good thing we did. Turned out, this was just the right amount of food! What's better than the $6.50 price tag? Saving the other $6.50!

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Ah, and you didn't invite me? I've been wanting to go there but I know Porto's is too much of a bad temptation. Oh well, we'll just remain mysterious for now.

I did notice the slow service but glad I was the 2nd customer cause the other customers who came in groups had to wait. I noticed the others who ordered from the sushi bar got theirs faster -- maybe two sushi chefs vs. one cook at the back?

Since you shared the bento, how many cheese rolls did you have for dessert? take care, Edwin...

At 1:32 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Ah, it was a spur of the moment decision since we were in the area.

But yes, we should try to meet up though. Name the time and the place! Send me an e-mail!

Since you shared the bento, how many cheese rolls did you have for dessert?

Out of the box of a dozen, I ate one right away, followed by a tiramisu cup. The rest of the dozen became about 4 by the next morning.


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