Ichiban Japanese Buffet indulges your taste buds with a flavorful buffet and hibachi grilled meals.
After about an hour navigating our way through a hall of haunted mirrors, sneaking around an industrial strength slaughter house, surviving the flames of hell (in 3D!) and fighting our way through zombies intent on making us their last meal at the Factory of Terror, Craig and I figured we were ready to get some post-living flesh between our own teeth. Not quite hungry enough to eat a member of the living dead, we figured some Chinese cooked chicken and cow would do us nicely.
As we bantered about places to go, I shared my two requirements. 1) the food needed to be good and 2) the restaurant should have some “atmosphere”. Craig knew of a place that would do the trick so we hopped in our vehicles and headed out.
As I pulled into the parking lot Craig made a shocking discovery. The restaurant had been made to disappear. I knew of another place so Craig followed me down the street only to find my choice had closed for the night. It was getting late, but wasn’t quite 10pm. Surely we could find something open?
It was Craig’s turn to choose again and he lead us not to a Chinese restaurant but to a Japanese restaurant instead. We landed at Ichiban Japanese Buffet on Fulton Avenue. I had been wanting to try Ichiban for some time so I was delighted that this is where we ended up.
From the moment you walk in the front doors, Ichiban Japanese Buffet immerses you into a rich, subtle Japanese atmosphere. The decor is unassuming with dark wood chairs and fresh-oak tables scatted throughout the dining area. The Japanese buffet ran down the left side of the room between the main eating area and the kitchen.
There were only a few other patrons at the restaurant which isn’t unexpected for this time of the evening. I was impressed with the overall cleanliness of the restaurant. Ichiban Japanese Buffet has only been around eight months, but it has obviously been well maintained and kept immaculately clean.
Craig and I grabbed a couple of plates and were encouraged by the waitress to try the hibachi grill. I opted go pile my plate with a selection of chicken, beef and noodles from the buffet table. It was apparent that the food had been out a while and was no longer fresh. The serving trays were near empty and I had to scrape the bottom of several of them to get the last few remaining morsels.
On the tables the silverware was wrapped in paper napkins, but not a chopstick could be found. What’s up with that? I don’t do Asian without the chops! I walked to the front where they had them stashed away, came back with a set and settled down to eat.
Craig came back with a sparsely populated plate of Sushi and some noodles. He didn’t have a high opinion of the sushi but said it wasn’t bad either. Over all, Craig gave his Ichiban Buffet dining experience a four out of five hats off.
Even though the buffet food was hitting the stale side, everything I tasted was extremely flavorful. Enjoying it as I did, I knew that had I gotten there earlier in the evening, when the food was fresher, I would have enjoyed it that much more.
After clearing my plate I had eaten enough but still wanted more. The waitress, wanting me to try something fresh, came back and really talked up the hibachi. I decided to give it a shot, and much to my surprise, this turned out to be the highlight of my dining experience.
At Ichiban the hibachi works like most Japanese or Chinese buffets. You pile your plate with veggies, tell them what meat you want and then you can go back to your table or hang out as you watch it being cooked. We didn’t get any type of show with spatulas and food flying through the air, but that’s okay. The real show is when the food slides past your taste buds, over your tongue, down your throat and into your belly.
Had I left Ichiban without trying the hibachi I would have only given it four hats off. That would have been an injustice. As much as I like the buffet food, the hibachi beef I ordered was absolutely terrific.
For “buffet food” Ichiban Japanese Buffet is pricey, but its quality and flavor surpasses any Asian buffet I’ve ever had, and that of most Asian restaurants. Even with hours-old and getting-stale food, it was still delicious. I’m certainly looking forward to going back when all the food is fresh. I suggest not waiting until 30 minutes before closing time as I did.
More Ichiban Japanese Buffet Info
Cost: 2 adults – $33.71
Hats off: 5/5
Ichiban Japanese Buffet menu (pdf)
Google Reviews and info
5111 Fulton Dr NW