8355 Bash St
Indianapolis, IN 46250
Ichiban Noodles is my other most favorite place to dine cheaply aside from Yats. The prices are cheap for what you get, the owners/servers are friendly, and the atmosphere can be relaxing. This is a full-service restaurant so don’t expect to spend less than fifteen bucks per person including tips, taxes, and drinks. Let me go into detail about what I like and don’t like about this place.
Let me make it clear beforehand that I only order from their noodle menu so I can’t tell you anything about their bento boxes or sushi (because I don’t eat sushi).
Anyway, I always order an appetizer before my main entree. I’ve tried three so far: Gyoza, Calamari Fillet, and Ika Maruyaki. I love them all. The gyoza is just fried potstickers. You get five pieces for $3.95. It comes with a dip made of soy sauce, sesame oil and seeds, and a few scallion rings. Simple but tasty.
Calamari Fillet, on the other hand, is a flat piece of squid shaped like a flat, oblong patty and sliced into strips. It rests on a generous helping of teriyaki sauce. The strips have the signature chewiness of the squid, but you can tell it’s not pure squid. The fishy taste isn’t quite there. It’s still a good alternative to gyoza considering how it only costs $4.95. Just a dollar difference.
Finally, the Ika Maruyaki. This is my most favorite out of the three (and my boyfriend’s least favorite). The serving style is the same as the calamari fillet, except for one important thing: Ika Maruyaki is made from real squid. It’s a small squid with its head excluded and its body hollowed. The squid is then grilled and sliced into rings/strips. You can definitely taste the fishyness on this one, and the chewiness is distinguishable. Every once in a while, you can get the charred taste which adds to the flavor. Ika Maruyaki also has the highest price out of the three: $5.25.
Before I forget, let me mention that Ichiban likes to serve these three appetizers with a small leaf of romaine lettuce. The leaf is small enough to cover the area of where the food is.
- Main Entree
Like I said earlier, I only order their noodle bowls. They have three kinds of noodles: Ramen, Udon, and Soba. Ramen noodles have the typical yellow noodles you expect, udon is pretty much a fatter ramen, and soba is made from buckwheat. The variations are also pretty much the same across all three noodles, with a few unique iterations here and there. I like to order their Seafood Ramen/Soba, while my boyfriend orders the Shoyu Ramen.
Seafood’s ingredients is just what the name suggests: it has seafood. It has a fillet of fish, 3-5 pieces of shrimp, and the occasional scallop and tempura. It also has baby bok choy, some gelatinous, milky-colored vegetable which name I forgot, and some other vegetables I might have ignored.
The shoyu, on the other hand, has crispy fried pork cutlet instead of seafood. It has the same vegetables as seafood. Both versions are served on their own specific bowl: deep brown bowl for shoyu and a wide blue bowl for the seafood.
One common comment I always hear is that the soup is a little bland. While I agree to this, I must say that I applaud their effort to try and accommodate everybody’s taste buds. I like how they give customers the freedom to add as much or as little soy sauce as they want. Other than that, the soup is wonderful. It’s not just hot water with some salt added, it’s actually a soup with its own taste and body.
These noodle bowls come with either salad or miso soup. I had their miso soup once and I wasn’t a big fan of it. The salad, however, is a different story. The salad is just your regular salad with romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, carrot strips, and red lettuce. The dressing they give is different than most dressings I get everywhere else. It’s orange, tangy, and it has a bit of thickness going on. I don’t exactly remember what it’s called. This is my most favorite salad dressing, and I’m not usually a fan of salads.
Ichiban Noodles is easy to miss if you don’t know about this place. The small building has no labels or signs that will let you know what that building is if you drive past it. When I first tried to find this place, I doubted my GPS for a couple of minutes before I decided to enter the building. It really just looks like a small warehouse or something.
The simplicity of the exterior carries on to the inside. When you enter, there’s only three directions you can head to: to you right which has the main dining area, straight ahead which has some extra tables, and to your left which has a few stools to let you sit on the “bar”. On non-busy days, customers will get escorted to the main dining area, which consists of five tables that can ideally seat 4-5 people. There were a couple of days where we had to sit at the extra tables which is located at the back of the restaurant. It has about 2 or 3 tables if I remember correctly. You only get to sit there if the place is packed. As for the bar, I have never seen anyone sit there other than to wait to be seated or wait for the carry-out. If you do sit there, you get to see the fish they use for their sushi/rolls.
The tables are plain wooden tables, with no other frills. The seats are the same: you can either sit on a long wooden bench attached to the wall or a wooden chair if you’re not sitting against the wall. The main dining area is loosely decorated with various posters on the wall and paper lanterns. The posters show the different kinds of crabs, fishes, and shrimps.
I have yet to see a dismal service here. Of the several times we dined here, we were always greeted with wide smiles (we come here so much they already know us) and prompt service. They’re attentive and they always make sure you’re satisfied. They hand you a white towel to wipe your hand with before and after you meal. The towel is wet with hot water. On random days, customers get to enjoy a free steaming cup of green tea on the house.
Every once in a while, it can take a little bit for your order to arrive. This is especially true for the not-so-common menu items such as the Calamari Fillet or Ika Maruyaki. There is nothing to worry about though, because your food will arrive to you steamy hot once it’s ready.
Another thing I like is the container they give me whenever I have leftover soup. They give me the thick, reusable plastic containers and they graciously transfer it for me. Very convenient. When you’re leaving, you can expect about five thank you’s from them as you’re walking out the door.
Any other thoughts
I love this place. It’s simple, cheap, and filling. The people that run this place are super friendly, and you’ll always get your money’s worth. I already brought quite a few people here and they all liked the place. This is one place that I will recommend at a heartbeat. In fact, I’m recommending it now. Give this place a visit if you happen to be around Indy. Just make sure you have directions with you or you won’t find this place. If only they can have better signs because they can really use the extra advertising. I just hope they keep their doors open for years to come, and never change a single thing.