Ichiraku

This morning, we stopped off at the Inner Sunset farmers market to pick up a few things and meet up with our friend Jason and his daughter Isa. I didn’t have a list but had an idea of what I wanted to buy. We were almost out of the basic items I usually use when making Chinese food. We also needed some fruit for the week.

I ended up picking up a large piece of ginger, bok choy, 3 heads of garlic, green onion, and some leeks which I thought of since I had one chicken breast that I needed to use up. Instead of pork with leeks, I planned on  substituting chicken.

I sampled some of the peaches (good!) and plums and bought 6 white peaches and 3 plums. I was told once that white peaches are sweeter and less acidic than the yellow ones so now usually try to buy the white ones.

Leaving the market we headed to Andronico’s where I got 1/4 lb each of Saag’s Slow Roasted Turkey and Oil Browned Turkey Breast both on sale for $9.99.

We quickly realized it was lunch time so started going through a list in our head – Yummy Yummy, San Tung, Taste of Formosa, Turtle Tower, Pagan. Taste of Formosa won out and given the parking situation in inner Sunset sucked we headed out to 25th/Clement area.

When we got there, we found out they only had one highchair and it was being used so instead of stressing over a mobile child while eating we started thinking of alternatives. Even though Turtle Tower was just nearby, the Chinese in me got sucked in by the Entertainment Coupon Book that had a “buy one entree; get a second of equal value” at a place called Ichiraku in the Inner Richmond.

Now we used to live probably a 5 minute walk from this place. I’ve seen it a million times and if you asked me the name each time I wouldn’t be able to tell you (Warning #1). That should have been enough warning to stay away but alas we did not!

The first thing I noticed when we got inside was the hispanic dude behind the sushi counter (Warning #2). The place wasn’t that busy when we arrive with maybe 3 or 4 tables filled. However, every one in there was Chinese including the waitress (Warning #3).

The waitress was nice and  took our order. I was kind of indecisive and ended up ordering  4 piece hamachi sashimi, pink roll, and a super dynamite roll. Anna ordered tempura udon and avocado roll. I noticed all the other tables had what I thought was grilled salmon collar and asked the waitress about it. She responded “It’s bones.” and kind of looked at me to finish my order. No, “would you like order it?” or anything like that. I didn’t know what to say so just finished up with “oh ok”.

She came back quickly with our dishes and gave us this seaweed with cucumber appetizer and some miso soup to start. Uh not so good.

Next she dropped off edamame (and said it’s on the house) and surprise surprise Salmon BONES! I was in heaven!

I go I wonder if they would have given this to Caucasian people and started to dig in. I quickly realized this wasn’t just the collar but the entire head! What luck! Well, half a head plus some other bone parts. As I’m eating, I notice Anna kind of picking at it but not really eating, so I’m like, do you want some?

She’s like it’s kind of difficult to eat, no you go ahead. We both say, I guess you aren’t Chinese! Ha ha.  The dish actually was only ok (overdone and lacked flavor) even though I cleaned the bones pretty good although when the salmon eye popped out I passed on it.

The avocado roll and the sashimi arrived next. The pieces were pretty large.

The sashimi was decent for a place like this. So I thought things were looking up for my rolls.

Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be! For one thing, I shouldn’t have ordered two rolls that had such similar taste. My mistake. The dynamite roll was better than the pink roll but not by much. I couldn’t get over how SWEET the rolls were especially the pink roll. The rice was sweet, the red sauce was sweet, even the ginger was sweet! Blech!

I ate as much as I could since I didn’t want to waste but ended up leaving 3 pieces uneaten.

Anna’s tempura udon wasn’t much better. The dipping sauce was sweet. The udon soup was sweet. The tempura had too much batter and was overcooked.

The waitress came by and gave us each a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream. This helped get rid of this sweet chili sauce taste I had in my mouth and was by far the best thing we had at lunch!

The morale of the story is don’t be swayed by coupons and go with what is good! Next time I’ll know better!

Ichiraku

3750 Geary Blvd.

San Francisco, California

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