Ichi Japanese Cuisine
Auntie Marcia is still alive and well. She has come out of semi-retirement
as a restaurant reviewer to tell you about a newish Japanese restaurant
called Edo Ichi Japanese Cuisine. "Oh, no!" she can
hear you say, "Yet another Japanese restaurant in Penang."
Yep, another Japanese restaurant, and a pretty good one, too,
despite the lack of a real Japanese chef.
Edo Ichi is located on the ground floor of Island Plaza. The restaurant
opened last December and seems to be quite popular as there is
often a short wait to be seated in one of the several sections
of the restaurant or at the small sushi bar. The decor is simple
but attractive, with one wall covered in genuine-sppearing bamboo
trees. Two illluminated tropical fish tanks block out the view
of the parking lot and busy road outside. Openwork hanging lamps
sway gently in the air currents and cast moving shadows. The premises
are somewhat too brightly lighted, but that is generally true
in Japan as well.
Uncle Doug and Auntie Marcia lived in Japan for four years in
the 1990's and were eager to dig into some of the dishes they
used to order back then. First, though, they consumed the free
appetizer, a dish of crispy bean sprouts (shoots) and something
that looked rather alarming but which the waitress said were crabs,
really, really miniscule ones. Auntie and Uncle were glad to be
given short, wooden chopsticks instead of those long, slippery
ones you get in Chinese restaurants.
While they eagerrly awaited the sukiyaki they had ordered from
the very extensive menu, Auntie and Uncle reminisced about how
in Japan sukiyaki is usually prepared in front of you on a hot
grill-table. They were surprised, therrefore, that at Edo Ichi
sukiyaki is served as a soup. It contained the same basic ingredients,
though, and was quite good.
Another dish A & U used to order very frequently was gyoza
(or gyuza, as it is spelled at Edo Ichi.) Gyoza are small dumplings
filled with a minced chicken mixture and first steamed and then
fried in sesame oil. That makes them crispy on the outside and
soft inside. They always come five to an order, which makes sharing
an order a little tricky, and are served with a slightly sweet
dipping sauce similar to teriyaki sauce. The gyoza at Edo Ichi
definitely lived up to Auntie's expectations.
In Iwakuni, Japan, Uncle and Auntie used to order Kaki Furai (fried
oysters) every week after teaching an evening English conversation
class. At Edo Ichi the closest thing to Kaki Furai is Ebi Furai
(fried prawns), so Auntie ordered that. They were very nice, two
whole king prawns delicately coated with Japanese panko bread
crumbs and then quickly fried and served with a separate dipping
sauce. Auntie wonders how they got those prawns to be so straight
and not curled?
Finally, no Japanese dinner is complete without sake, right? In
Japan during the summer months sake is often served cold, but
Aluntie and Uncle prefer hot sake. Edo Ichi offers a selection
of sakes, the most expensive costing RM380 a bottle, the cheapest
a 250 m. pottery carafe at RM25. Guess which one A & U chose.
(That way they could have two.) The sake arrived in a pretty two-piece
container candle-lit from below to keep the sake hot and with
a collar around the neck of the carafe to prevent burned fingers
when one pours out the hot liquid; good ideas, both.
As far as prices are concerned, they are about what one would
expect at a place of this kind in a shopping mall. If anything,
costs at Edo Ichi are on the low side. Two examples are the gyoza
at RM8 per order and the fried prawns at RM22. And, fellow Food
Friends members, if you patronize Edo Ichi before December of
2010, the 5% government tax is waived. So go, go, go to Edo Ichi
Japanese Cuisine. Auntie Marcia recommends it!
Ichi is open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner. Monday
through Thursday the hours are 11:30-3:00 and from 6:00-10:30.
Friday through Sunday the restaurant is open continuously from
11:30 a.m -10:30 p.m.
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