Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar
I really like Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, a real upgrade from their place up the street. The Ichi Sushi scene is lively with a fabulous mural on the west wall, different areas for food, and some bouncing music to keep the scene perked up. Tim and Erin Archuleta are the successful, hard-working owners of Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar. Although a caterer since 2006, the original Ichi Sushi opened in 2010. They’ve recently moved to a post down the street which is two-thirds larger than their previous location.
A buddy of one of my Giants’ season ticket holder neighbors knows Erin and Tim well and told me to be sure to sit at the bar as Tim is normally there, and to order omakase (chef’s choice), so we did both. Tim was indeed behind the sushi bar, and he is a gregarious and engaging young man. He has to be so proud to be listed as one of the best sushi bars in the city.
We were served by Ichi Sushi’s only Japanese sushi chef, at least this night. Tim, the owner, explained that the omakase menu is a collaboration amongst all of the sushi chefs. I found it unusual for such a popular sushi place to have so much sushi coming from Japan. In places like Mitch’s Sushi and Sasabune in Honolulu, sushi is sourced from all over the world. I don’t recall going to an upscale sushi place and having so much of the fish sourced from Japan. This is not a bad thing, however – just worth noting.
You’ll see our sushi servings in my picture gallery with titles for each. The ONLY item served with shoyu, aka soy sauce, on the side was the spicy tuna roll. This is the case in Japan where clientele eat the sushi the way the chef wants it eaten. You’ll find this with most upscale Japanese restaurants that serve omakase. The problem I had this night at Ichi Sushi was that most of the individual sushi portions served had shiso leaves or shiso content. Shiso is a very strong leaf/herb, much like epazote in Mexican cooking. It can be overpowering – I remember the first time I cooked with epazote, I thought their miniscule portion of epazote was far less than should be used, so I tripled it only to create an inedible dish. That certainly wasn’t the case at Ichi Sushi. The sushi was excellent, but I wish there was more variety in the offering, and not standing behind shiso in so many of the dishes.
The sake list is extensive, and there are two Japanese draft beers available. I was surprised how little I liked Asahi vs. Sapporo. I found the Asahi to have far less taste than the Sapporo.
We asked for pork belly izakaya, and I’m so happy we did. Crispy and fatty, the mustardy sauce really worked. The shrimp heads were deep fried, and I let the hub eat them. I really need to work on trying that kind of stuff.
I was so pleased with the service, even though we were there earlier than usual. I was also pleased to see many families there. I will definitely go back to Ichi Sushi in hopes of a more varied menu, or maybe I’ll order my own stuff based on the chefs’ recommendations.
- Excellent, Rare, Fresh Fish
- Lively Scene
- Great Service
- Parking (aren't you getting tired of seeing this?)
- Creativity Needs to be Varied