Ichiban Restaurant – Don’t Get Egg On Your Face

Sunday, August 18, 2013 - by Willie Mae

When people get old, they don’t always think things through. I realize this about myself, but especially when I was asked to go to Ichiban on 153 in Hixson. I went with a couple of gals from my church - Sandy and Lounelle.

Ichiban is a different sort of restaurant and I had never been to anything like this. Lounelle thought it would make for a great story because you sit with other people around a table and the chef prepares your meal in front of you.

I had wondered if we would have to take our shoes off and sit on the floor, but she assured me that we wouldn’t. Sandy drove because she is the younger of us and we don’t like to drive at night.

We were led to a square room with the table joining all the way around except for the entrance. People sit on the outside and the chef gets in the middle where the grill is attached the table. This looked like it would be fun to watch!

My problem occurred when I realized the other people in the room joining us. There were three other families and we all were facing each other. I couldn’t take notes or take photographs. This was definitely not the setting to be a food spy so I would have to rely on my memory and forget the pictures of the food.

A non-Asian boy brought us our drinks and soup. The soup was just flavored hot water with one mushroom slice and a few chives. I didn’t care much for that, but I did like the salad with ginger dressing that was brought out next. Lounelle is the friendly sort and quite popular with people. She struck up a conversation with the other families. There was no way I could remember the funny things that were said between all these people when I couldn’t jot down my notes!

Sandy had ordered the Steak, Chicken and Shrimp for $19.95 and I ordered the Steak and Scallops for $17.95 and Lounelle ordered the Hibachi Salmon for $15.95. The meals all came with the hot flavored water (with the mushroom slice) the salad and rice and vegetables that the chef prepared with our main selection.

The non-Asian boy was good to keep refills coming and he even got Sandy’s tea right. She always orders ‘half and half’ because she doesn’t like unsweetened tea, but she also doesn’t like the South’s ‘sickening sweet’ tea either, so she gets both mixed.

The chef came out with a cart full of goodies. He squirted a bunch of water on the hot grill and started making jokes. It soon became apparent that his cooking the meal in front of us was not just for our curiosity or to save time, but I think he was a stand-up comedian as well.

When he added oil to the grill it made a pretty high flame, and he began cooking the rice. Then he placed a few eggs on the cooler side of the grill and he did some fast-handed trickery action toward one of the gentleman at the table to scare him. The man jumped and a few people jumped with him. He made the comment that I had not jumped and I had to open my big mouth and tell him, “I usually don’t – I raised a son.”

With that, I guess I challenged him because the next thing I knew his fast moving spatulas slung an egg right at my face and it hit me square on the nose and landed on the floor! It didn’t hurt because it was a fake egg! The only thing that hurt was my pride … and I did crick my neck a little when I jumped. I don’t care how many sons you raise or how scare-proof you think you are, when someone slings ANYTHING at your face – you are going to jerk back! I think Lounelle felt sorry for me, I heard her say, “Aww…”.

I didn’t appreciate his humor anymore. He did a trick with a sliced onion and made a volcano of smoke and he continued to mix the rice, with vegetables and the eggs (no, not the fake one). He made a few more jokes and not many of us heard them because he mumbled a lot.

Everyone ate the progressive meal as he prepared it and placed the items on their plates as he cooked. I would have preferred eating after it was all prepared, but when in Rome – do as the Romans... (or Asians) do. He made another joke in slinging a piece of squash by my plate, but missing it and telling the crowd I ‘wasn’t finishing my vegetables’. Seeing the mess by my plate bothered me more than the crick in my neck.

I wasn’t trying to be a stick in the mud and I admit it was a fun experience - it was just a lot for an old lady to take. The price wasn’t bad and the food was also very good. I really enjoyed the scallops. Sandy and Lounelle enjoyed their meals too.

This was the kind of place your children would probably enjoy and the food is wonderful. If you visit them …just beware of the flying eggs.

Lunch 11:30 – 2:00

Dinner 5:00-10:00

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