The Metn area has long been waiting for a good Japanese restaurant like this one; a place where you can eat decent Japanese food in a nice upscale setup, along side good service and pleasant ambiance. We have a number of mediocre Japanese spots around, but not one good place like those found in Beirut city; Osaka, Tsunami, Le Sushi Bar and Yabani to name a few.
Up on the first floor of Blueberry Square, a new Japanese place completes the large selection of restaurants this square has to offer. Covering a 200sqm area, Architect George Chidiac has created an interesting space that can host up to 85 seated guests.
The place described:
- A reflective black wall faces the entrance as you walk in
- Large burgundy leather sofas in semi-lunar shapes surround square tables that can host four persons
- Black leather chairs fill in the space around black tables
- Real wood aged parquet adds the fine touch we expect
- High glass facades have an open view on the sea
- Reflective Barylux ceiling with lit wood holes painted in burgundy color
- The wall on the left, the main design item, is constituted of small triangles in three different colors (grey, burgundy, white)
- Two black columns in the middle of the restaurant divide it into a moire intimate dining space
- A large bar on the left prepares your orders live. Next to it, the coffee bar displays a design Francis, Francis illy machine
- Soothing music
- A dimmed ambiance but well lit tables
- To top it all, a high ceiling relaxes your senses
The table setup:
Lunch or dinner always starts with a complementary Japanese soup and a warm towel to refresh.
- Beige table cover
- Ceramic plates
- Large and thin wine glasses
- A chopsticks stand adds some finesse
Some of the things we ordered and enjoyed:
The Ichiban wraps are creative and tasty:
- Edamame served with Black beans sauce and chili garlic sauce
- Crispy Sushi: Fried battered rice topped with tuna and shrimps. Six tasty and innovative pieces
- Tempura Foie Gras: Fried maki topped with avocado cream, breaded foie gras and breaded itchi phila. Six pieces served on a large plate which we all enjoyed a lot. That's a fine dining creation
- Shrimp Tempura: Crispy and non oily, these are beautiful in color and tasty filling
- Crazy Salad: A rich and generous salad filled with crab and some vegetables. Crab being the main ingredient, this salad is not served on cabbage like most (which adds an unwanted bitterness to the mix). Bravo
- The Marinated Salmon served on ice is Ichiban's signature and a must try
- Salmon Teriyaki: This is the night's queen. Fried salmon served on a teriyali sauce. Juicy premium salmon served with a unique non bitter homemade sauce.I loved this gourmet plate
- A large selection of Ichiban wraps all beautifully presented and filled with a hundred flavor, fruits and ingredients from all around the world
The menu is so diversified you won’t know where to start. All of this cannot be appreciated without having the mouthwatering tastiest marinated salmon in Lebanon, served in a perfectly shaped ice container soaked in its signature sauce.
- Deep Crab, Mixed Ichiban, Grilled Ichiban, Chef Touch, Salmon & Stripes, Tora Tora, Alaska, Hot & Spices, Black Belt, Tropical Aloha, Exotic to name a few.
- California Sesame, California Crispy, Crazy Crispy, Crazy California, Volcano, Philadelphia, Naked, Crispy Salmon, Crispy Spicy Salmon, Crispy Spicy Shrimp, Crazy Special and many others.
- Beirut Tokyo, Edamame, Di Pesto, Rising Sun, Yellow Kimono, Kamikaze, Foie Gras, Crunchy Salmon, Tarama, Spicy Mango, Unagi Crown, Harakiri, Double Shrimp, Mexico, Butter Fish Maki, Zucchini Scallops, Sweet Duo, Saw, Paris, Fried Crab, Bombay, Crazy Naked, Dynamite Spicy Extreme, Crazy Shrimp, Sea Drop, Mystery, Snow, Green Samurai and the famous Salmon Robe.
I recommend you try the latest maki selection:
The tastes and flavors are really unique. Even though a bit heavy on the stomach, the mixes are brought from all the cuisines of the world perfectly combined in every single wrap. Baby Fish, Taratour, Foie Gras, Black Sesame, Jalapeño, Zucchini, Boursin Poivre, Caramelized Nuts, Chicken, Curry Chicken, Chilli Sauce, Black Caviar are some of the exotic ingredients none had the courage to integrate into the sushi cuisine before.
- Truffle Foie Gras (Black Truffle, Foie Gras, Apple)
- Crispy Beef (Crispy Beef, Phil A Cheese)
- Le Parmesan (Creamy Parmesan Shrimp, Crab, Avocado)
- Fish N Chips (Chips, Fish Tempura, Tartar)
- Tripoli (Tripoly Style Tajen, Fried Tempura Fish)
- Salad Bar (Fetta, Spinach, Cucumber, Avocado)
- Exotic Eel (Eel, Litchi, Phila Cheese, Ikura)
- Bezri Caviar (Fried Baby Fish, Tempura, Avocado)
- Exotic Salmon (Smoked Salmon, Phila Cheese, Litchi, Ikura)
- Beirut Tokyo (Fried Bread, Fresh Basil, Baby Fish, Lemon, Avocado, Taratour)
- Edamame (Squid Special Sauce)
- Mexico (Jalapeños, Philadelphia Cheese, Chicken, Avocado)
The things I enjoyed:
- I liked the relaxed setup of the tables that add more privacy to the groups
- I loved the laminated black serving plates which bring out the colors of the pieces while making sure food safety is mastered to perfection
- Thank you for not using the ugly green grass plastic leaves anymore. Thank you so much
- Fady Khoury, the owner, recommends Sushi to be enjoyed without Soy sauce and I agree. The Ichiban wraps are so rich that they won't need any salty soy sauce to spoil their taste. Try it, you won't regret it
Desserts: Ichiban desserts would need a boost or maybe a change. The chocolate fondant is good but none of the rest.
I would change:
- Improve the desserts
- Elaborate the wine selection
- Add table napkins to this fine place
Tonight's dinner was good on all fronts. A beautiful place and a cozy ambiance providing a casual fine dining experience along with tasty food. The Metn area desperately needed it...