Ichiban Japanese Restaurant
2011 S. Broadway
Santa Maria, CA
As expected, I devoured some good ol' BBQ the moment I landed in Santa Maria. But, after two days of leftovers, I was ready for something new. A little online research pointed me to a nondescript Japanese restaurant in a strip mall in the land of steakhouses and taquerias.
Ravenous from a day of sightseeing, I was ready to chow down; after a brief encounter with the menu, I chose the Jalapeno Roll and Chicken Katsu Combination. The size of other diners' meals seemed average, so I figured this would be "just enough" food.
The Jalapeno Roll arrived, freshly tempura-fried and topped with roe. I gulped it down too quickly to even remember its ingredients. Then, my entree arrived.
Um, I guess I overlooked the word "Platter" that followed the words "Chicken Katsu Combination" on the menu.
It was a beauty of a dish, complete with a side salad topped with sweet miso dressing, deep fried gyoza, shrimp and vegetable tempura, teriyaki chicken skewer, and, of course, a healthy portion of chicken katsu. Breaded in panko and fried to a golden brown, it was juicy, tender and perfect when dunked into the accompanying katsu sauce.
I got a few stares since my plates took up more than half of the table. Luckily, I have no shame. I worked my way in circles around the platter, and each bite was better than the last.
I left full, happy and completely satisfied with the gracious service provided. Sushi in Santa Maria? Proof you should never rule anything out while you're traveling.