Stepping into Ichiban’s Japanese Restaurant was like stepping out of the dreary Rochester Sunday and into a Japanese family kitchen.

In the relaxed atmosphere, mere blocks from campus, the delicious meal was easy to enjoy.

My date and I decided to try a variety of foods, so we began with the fried ika, fried squid served with a spicy mustard sauce.

The pieces of meat were more tender than most squid you encounter in Rochester, but a little greasy. After blotting some of the grease off on the paper tray liner, the light taste of the squid combined well with the spice of the greenish sauce. It was a pleasant start that foreshadowed the quality of the rest of the meal.

Only seating 30 people, the dining area includes tables and a sushi bar.

Japanese pop-music complements the atmosphere created by simple wooden tables and chairs, chopsticks and an incredibly friendly waitstaff. It was a comfortable atmosphere to eat in, and made the wait till dinner seem shorter.

Both dinners we ordered, the sashimi and sushi combination and the chicken teriyaki dinner combination came with miso soup.

Served in the traditional bowls apt for slurping, it is also served with a wide soup spoon for those not wanting to risk the chance of dropping soup in their lap. Full of bite-sized tofu and delicate seaweed, it was one of the better cups of miso I have had in Rochester.

Soon after finishing our soup, both dinners were not served ? they were presented. Aesthetics are not lost in this small restaurant.

Sushi and sashimi were elegantly arranged in flower patterns and garnished with carved lemon slices and greens on a traditional wood board. The fish was colorful in both appearance and flavor.

My date was not able to finish the generous portions of fish and rice, despite his glowing reviews of the flavor. Apparently the left-overs made a good snack later in the evening, something unusual for raw fish.

The portions for my dinner seemed small on the menu, but when presented were more than I could handle in one sitting. Teriyaki chicken was served in a bento box with a wide array of other goodies.

Rainbow rolls, unidentifiable appetizers and assorted tempura were all presented with flare. The taste also was colorful across the board. In particular, the teriyaki sauce had a distinctive flavor with the perfect balance to allow the flavor of the chicken come through.

I would definetly recommend this restaurant to anyone wanting to get a good taste of Japanese food.

Although the prices, ranging from $9 to $18 for entrees, make the place more appropriate for a nice dinner out with that special someone, the proximity makes it convinent any time.

Offering a ten percent student discount on Mondays, the two block walk from campus makes it accessible to even those without cars.

Definetly check out this piece of Japan that has dropped into Rochester.

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