Not too long ago I was heading out for dinner. Since we were in the Westhills area, I though I’d try out Sushi Bar Ren which is located right beside the walk in clinic and Canadian Tire. Unfortunately, it was a Monday and they were closed. Boo.
So, since my favorite MomoYama is also closed on Mondays, and it was evening (so I wasn’t interested in going to Sushi Hanami), we headed instead to the Westbrook Mall area and Sushi Ichiban.
This is the same restaurant as on MacLeod Trail – which is well-known for it’s all-you-can-eat menu. Despite the website featuring the AYCE menu – don’t be fooled.. this location doesn’t offer it. Boo.
This is located near the mall, on the opposite side from Spa Lady, facing 37th Street. You can see it from Bow Trail as well, but need to enter through 37th.
One problem I’ve had with it every time I’ve been here, is the temperature. It’s VERY cold inside – bring a sweater or a jacket, even in the summertime. I’ve also found the service to be less-than-impressive. The staff I’ve been served by have not been very attentive in the past, and this visit was similar, until it came time to pay. The furnishings are 50/50 – some of the decor is really nice – with interesting partitioned walls making it easy to accommodate big groups or smaller groups. However some of the furnishings are also really worn – the seats across from where we were had split vinyl in the seats – never fun to sit on.
There isn’t a lot of parking on the restaurant side, and on the other side where Spa Lady is you’d be lucky to get a spot when the gym is open, but I’ve never had a problem finding parking when I’ve gone here.
So, onto the food!
My companion and I split the Gyoza order – and other than the cute way they had cut the orange, neither of us were particularly impressed. I found the exterior to be thicker and more batter-like than I normally like, and I found it over cooked. The filling also had too much onion in it for my taste. I really like Gyoza when it’s done the way I like it, but I’m starting to get tired of ordering Gyoza and being disappointed…
Next I had the Salmon & Tuna Don bowl. This is just a bowl of rice with salmon and tuna sashimi on it. The rice was good, and the flavours of the fish was good, but the cuts weren’t sashimi-grade in my opinion. They selected the part that would normally be in a roll I think; the fish was chewy/ribbony. I don’t know the specifics – I just know when it’s good, and when it isn’t. When it’s good it practically melts in your mouth, and you could cut it with ease with a chopstick. When it’s not cut well … well, you can’t do those things! However – this was presented in a lovely fashion – with the fish forming a rose on top of the rice, and there was a fair amount of everything which was great. (I was really hungry!)
My companion had the Teriyake Beef, and said that it was “good” and that the rice was really good…. But that Edo of Japan did it better. There weren’t very many vegetables which she would have liked as well. I don’t think that coming in second after a fast-food joint is really a ringing endorsement – though she admitted that since Edo of Japan is what she is used to… it could just be a matter of preference.
I also had my favorite special scallop and Ikura (Salmon roe) sushi pieces. The scallop was underwhelming. There wasn’t anything bad about it, but it wasn’t great. It was a very small piece too. The Ikura on the other hand was very good, but also very small.
I could imagine this location would be nice to come to with a group – because of the expandable seating area – but I think I’d rather go with friends to the MacLeod Trail location where with the AYCE option the bill might be a bit lower. Their website does have a menu (which is great for comparing prices or seeing if they’ll have what you want) and the Calgary Foodies blog gave Sushi Ichiban a good review.
1002 37 Street Southwest,