Hubby and I have this conversation fairly often about grabbing a quick lunch near our house. Something local, something near the Castleton area (where we live), and if possible, something new. It’s a tall order. We remembered Ichiban Noodles, and it is a place several of you have told me about and recommended. Honestly, we had been there once before, but quite awhile ago, pre-blog days.
First of all, there is something about the kind of run down hack exterior of the place that makes you feel hopeful about the food. I’m not sure what it is, and hubby and I kind of disagree about this. He also doesn’t like that the place is kind of cold inside, which he says he remembers from our first visit.
One of the things I like about the menu is that they have a lot of noodles on it (hence the name right?). They have the more common udon and soba noodles in broth that you see in a lot of Japanese places, but they also have ramen, which I think is less common in Indy. So we got an order of the ramen yaki with pork ($7.05) and split a couple of rolls—the Hoosier roll ($5.10) and the softshell crab roll ($8.35).
The ramen noodles are served stir fried, and not in a bowl of broth--they were really good and had a nice distinct flavor without being overly greasy. There were probably almost as many veggies mixed in with the noodles and I loved that they were cut almost the same size as the noodles. One of my pet peeves with noodles dishes (and others) is when there is a giant vegetable in the middle that is way too big to eat in a bite (or 6) but you just have chop sticks to eat it with. Anyhow, this was not a problem here at all—there were onions, bok choy, zucchini and carrots and they were all sliced up just about as thick as the noodles. We chose the option with a breaded pork cutlet on top—and it was quite good as well. Not tough at all and had a nice crunch and seasoning that went really well with the noodles. I would get this one again for sure.
The rolls were good as well. Not the tidiest or prettiest rolls I have ever seen, but the ingredients were good and they were a nice bite size (well, the soft shell crab was piled pretty high). The Hoosier roll contained tuna, avocado and a drizzle of spicy mayo inside (and I had them add a little tempura crunch). The tuna was fresh (although somewhat random in its size in each piece), and I liked the bit of flavor from the spicy mayo, but it wasn’t that weird chopped up “spicy tuna” that often seems a little too mystery-meat to me. I liked the crunch from the little bit of tempura they put in (again, at my request). The soft shell crab roll was pretty good too—the crab was chopped up and mixed with the spicy mayo—and a bunch of it was piled on top. Not my favorite in the world, but we certainly managed to eat it all.
The interior is small and certainly not fancy. The people working there are really nice—both the sushi chef who welcomed us and said goodbye as we left, and the server who was exceptionally friendly throughout the entire meal. I also liked the hot towels they brought you for your hands when you sit down. They obviously have a large group of regulars who come in for lunch, and if I worked in the area, I can see why. It’s nice to have found a reasonably priced and good quality independent restaurant in the Castleton area.
But please feel free to help hubby and me out for the next time. Any more recommendations for that area?
8355 Bash Street
(No website, boo!)