Lunch in the Far East of Texas

    Happy New Year from Port Arthur, TX. 🙂 Just when I thought El Sombrero Taqueria in Berkeley was interesting for combining Mexican, Indian and Pakistani food under one roof (not in one dish, thank goodness), or I Squared in Oakland for Italian and Iranian, we stumbled onto a Japanese restaurant that also dishes out Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Indonesian.

    The lady who greeted us at the door is South Asian, probably Indian, but I can’t tell the difference between the Indian accent and those from the surrounding countries. We were seated as far as possible from the sushi bar and the kitchen, so we couldn’t tell who did the cooking, and our waitress was American. Instead of miso soup to wet our appetite, we were given a stock that tasted similar to hu tieu broth. We were asked if we would prefer normal edamame or spicy edamame. The vegetable that came with the shrimp teriyaki and the grilled steak were mixed baby corn-carrot-bell pepper-snap pea in a stir fry sauce, something that you would find at any Asian diner that gives you the option of 2 sides with a scoop of rice for seven fifty. And the rice that came with the shrimp teriyaki and the steak were Chinese fried rice. Not the most Japanese you can get on this side of the pond.

    But it sure did surprise me that even in this town of little more than fifty thousand people, three hours driving eastward from the nearest big Asian community, you can get a taste of ayam kalasan and beef rendang.

    Closewise from top left: Ichiban Cajun roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy mayonnaise and unagi sauce) and edamame, soup, shrimp teriyaki, beef rendang, hibachi grilled steak

    There were a fair amount of Japanese dishes on the menu (salmon teriyaki, unagi don, soba…) plus the real sushi (nigiri) that we’ll try the next time we visit the Buddhist temple in Port Arthur. They may not be Japanese enough, but what we got were tasty enough.

    Maybe not the mochi ice cream, though. But we didn’t tell the southerner-sweet waitress that, she was just too sweet. 🙂

    Address: Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi Bar
    3437 N Twin City Hwy
    Port Arthur, TX 77642
    (409) 962-7300
    Lunch for three: ~ $60

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