But I was going out for lunch the other day with Elizabeth, my brother, and my mom. I suggested we give Ichima a try. We arrived around noon; it was pretty crowded but not uncomfortably so. Several servers greeted us as we made our way to a table. It certainly is a friendly place.
"As an appetizer!" the waiter repeated. (I normally do not write about the comments servers make. You can safely assume this is foreshadowing.)
The waiter brought my mom's bento box as well.
"What about the sesame chicken?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said, "it's coming."
"But that was an appetizer."
He walked away without saying anything.
"What's wrong with it?" I asked.
"It's lousy beef and it's so salty." She gave me a piece.
I tried it and I agree with her; it was tough, chewy beef in a salty, sticky sauce. But... so is every single beef teriyaki I have ever tried. This did not taste any worse to me than usual. (So maybe I'm not the best person to judge beef teriyaki.)
Right about then a manager came over to apologize and tell me that my bento box would be out shortly. Maybe he will care about our appetizer, I thought to myself.
"And what about our sesame chicken?" I asked.
"What sesame chicken?" he replied with a confused look.
I tried not to lose my temper, but did raise my voice. "We ordered sesame chicken as an appetizer!" (This is when I felt Elizabeth's hand on my leg, a gentle reminder not to lose my patience.)
He scurried off and a few minutes later, the appetizer appeared concurrently with my entree.
Would we all have been better off if we'd just ordered two of these chicken appetizers and a plate of gyoza to share? Yep, I think so. Other than the appetizer of chicken, everything we had was merely average at best.
At least it wasn't expensive, the pre-tax check coming out to twelve dollars to person. (I suspect that has more to do with the restaurant's popularity than any of the food they serve.)
Everyone said goodbye and thank you to us as we were walking out, and I returned the gesture, but even at the time I knew I will never return to Ichima. If there were no other restaurants like this in our city, I would probably go back one day and try some other items. But being that there are hundreds of similar restaurants in the area, there is absolutely no reason for me to ever return.