4335 Spring Mountain Road, Suite 205, http://www.ichiza.com/ (last visit: October 2006).
Japanese bar food.

Ichiza is a Japanese izakaya.  Wikipedia defines izakaya as "a common kind of Japanese bar or restaurant...popular in Japan for afterward drinking. A definitive feature of an izakaya is that it serves food as well as drink."  Food is served in tapa sized portions, and tends to be salty, the better to encourage patrons to order more drinks.  Ichiza's web site is rudimentary, but it does provide a partial menu and as an added bonus, here is Ichiza's advice on love.

The Menu
At night, the menu offers a wide range of snack foods, Japanese style.  Many are familiar: skewers of grilled meat, peppers, or chicken meatballs; ramen noodles; egg drop soup.  It even offers a little sushi, although an izakaya is not normally the place to order it.  Many dishes are not so familiar: baby octopus; shisyamo (small smelt, filled with roe, broiled and eaten whole - heads and all); yuba (soy milk skin); shiokara (salted fish or mollusks and their entrails); yam and seaweed salad.

Ichiza is also open for lunch during the week, but the menu is limited to standard items: varieties of ramen noodles, udon, simple tempura, and the like.

The Atmosphere
Located on the second floor of a small strip mall, Ichiza won't win any beauty contests.  It's very plain, and not very clean.  Chairs and booths are both worn and dirty looking.  The bar area, with wooden benches looks a bit fresher.

Evening offerings are presented in a very interesting fashion.  There are a couple of bulletin boards with small squares of paper neatly placed next to each other, each with one dish listed - in Japanese, and usually in English as well.  Some say "new; others say "sold out."  In addition to these listings, there are squares of paper placed more or less randomly on the walls and pillars, offering additional goodies.

The Meal
I went at lunch time, not realizing there was a limited menu.  I tried a variation of pork tonkatsu:  sliced breaded fried pork cutlet; cooked onions mixed with a little egg to hold them together; pickled vegetables; a large bowl of steamed rice.  Tea was barley based.  The food was OK, but nothing to write home about.

Don't bother going to Ichiza for lunch.  On the other hand, I really want to go back at night to try some of their specialties!

The Bill
The meal was under $10, plus drinks, tax and tip.

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