As for the regular menu, it's a bit unusual. Lunch entrees are served with miso soup, salad and your choice of steamed rice or bagel. That's right, bagel. Don't ask me why. Lunch prices range from $3 to $8.

Bagels are not an option at dinner. Some entrees, like the Kobe beef teriyaki, come in a compartmentalized box-tray. Each of the six compartments contains a different item: ginger, melon, green salad, pickles, rice and the modified teriyaki--a mixture of asparagus, shrimp and strips of beef in a subtle teriyaki sauce. Unfortunately, stalky, tough asparagus spoils the dish one night.

Another unusual offering we try is the Kobe Club spaghetti, a big plate of regular old spaghetti topped with shrimp, scallops, carrots and mushrooms. I like this idea in principle, but the particular execution I sample lacks adequate flavoring. The oyster sauce needs more ginger or onion or something. It's hardly there.

Location Info


Ichiban Japanese Restaurant & Sushi

3333 S. Rural Road
Tempe, AZ 85282

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Tempe

Kobe Club makes no bones about being a modified Japanese restaurant. I sense innovation at work. Kobe Club is trying a new approach to Japanese dining, even in marketing. Diners receive a frequent dining card; each visit is stamped and there are discounts and special offers when you reach a certain number of visits.

Yep, Tempe residents have plenty to be grateful for these days. The city now boasts an excellent Indian restaurant and a good Korean restaurant, as well as Chinese, Thai and assorted other ethnic eateries. So what should you do if you're looking for classic, authentic Japanese dining in Tempe? Take a drive to North Scottsdale. See how they do it at Yamakasa.

Ichiban, 1435 East University, Tempe, 968-3234. Hours: Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; Dinner, 5 to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Kobe Club, 1845 East Broadway, #101, Tempe, 921-8482. Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; Dinner, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday; closed Monday.

Above the lonely sushi chef, a pink neon sign proclaims "rock and roll sushi." Call it "nouvelle Japanese" cuisine, or maybe "Cal-Japanese" for short.

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