Squeezed in between the commercial anchor stores of Albertson's, Costco and Sportsman's Warehouse you would miss this place unless someone told you it was here, which is exactly why I'm writing this.
Southern Utah isn't known for having much diversity in the food arena which was usually a fast food burger joint or smaller restaurant franchise chain, the standard American steak & potatoes/casseroles buffet, some mom & pop sandwich shop, or the many Mexican joints that have sprouted up over the past 5-7 years. As far as ethnic choices, really there aren't any. There have been a few Chinese restaurants that have still survived but as far as venturing out beyond the standard boring Utah fare, very little has changed. There are now 3 Japanese Restaurants, 1 Vietnamese restaurant, the one and only East Indian curry house closes when the Las Vegas owners said their was just not enough interest.
St. George residents seem to prefer what they know best which is steak, potatoes, casseroles and burgers. True there are a couple of Italian restaurants, a Brazilian churasscaria, but everything else is pretty much main street America. Not a whole lot of diversity, which is why Ichiban is such a bright spot.
According the the hostesses it is run by a young Chinese chef and his family and friends who have relocated to St George from New York & Chicago. Most of the staff is young and related to one another. For their prices, $9.99 for lunch and $13.99 for dinner, it is extremely under-priced for the level and quality of food their serve. It is not a fancy high priced Japanese restaurant but they've done a great job with what they have in what was formerly a deep fried Chinese restaurant buffet. The nigiri sushi and assortment of rolls are all professionally laid out. There is even a tempura station with hot prawns, and vegetables. Also available is Japanese Udon noodle soup. There is even green tea ice cream. There is an assortment of side dish salads: seaweed, seafood mix, kimchi, fruit salads, pasta salads, etc. Also not to be ignored, are the fresh oysters, snow crab, shrimp, baked salmon, gyoza, baked muscles or scallops on the half shell, teriyaki beef, etc.
What I think most from the St George area like though as I have observed, is that they have asked the staff to serve more Chinese deep fried fare that they are familiar with. Stir fry noodles, honey walnut prawns, egg rolls, fried rice, etc. ~ none of which are Japanese but its what the locals like.
There is also a hibachi grill with several types of meats and shrimp which one can choose a variety of veggies to be grilled teppanyaki style ..almost, but not quite.
They also have an assortment of fruits and desserts as well as several flavors of rich ice cream.
Overall, this place has so much going for it, but not nearly enough traffic.
Can't say if its because they do not advertise or market themselves enough, but if they are going to stay in business, they will definitely need more support of which I am doing my best to get the word out.
More people need to know where this place exists and if you're from out of town, I do you hope you find it. This is what most bigger and major cities have is their own seafood & sushi buffet but usually its double the price of Ichiban.
If you do love Japanese and Asian cuisine, you will definitely find Ichiban a very great value and I believe, a new favorite place to frequent.
Favorite Dish: I love the unagi (eel), tuna, salmon, yellowfin, skipjack, tako (octopus), squid nigiri sushi as well as everything else here ~
I also ask them to cut me sashimi style cuts without the rice as well.....
I absolutely love this place as it reminds me of my home back in San Francisco which we left 8 years ago...now I have a little bit of it here in St George.
The decor was nothing that special but the food was good as was the service. Good selection of seafood on the buffet.