The Skinny: Ichiban Teppanyaki & Sushi

By Wynter Holden

The Skinny: Ichiban Teppanyaki & Sushi

The rule in my house is that the person with the crappiest day gets to make the decision about what to do that evening. My roommate "A" finalized a bad breakup last Thursday, so dinner was definitely her call. My fingers were crossed for something healthy, and luckily, Miss A wanted to pound down some sushi.

So we piled in my little green Beetle and headed to Ichiban Sushi & Teppanyaki at 99th and McDowell in Tolleson. We didn't sit at one of the Teppanyaki cooktop tables, so I was limited to the regular menu. Unfortunately, the entree choices were pretty much meat drowned in teriyaki sauce or meat deep-fried in oil. Great! Either choice would bust my allowable fat intake for the day; maybe the whole week, if I had a combo.

Since I don't count grocery-store-bought California rolls as "real" sushi, I was technically a sushi virgin. Rice, vinegar and fish sounds super-healthy and low in calories, but you actually have to be careful with what roll you choose. Miss A recommended the tempura roll, but as far as I'm concerned, "tempura" must translate to "unhealthy and fattening" in Japanese.

So I tested one of my new dieting mantras: When in doubt, get an appetizer or two rather than a huge entree. Eating edamame first is always a helpful weight-management trick. At about 125 calories a serving, they're low in saturated fat, high in fiber and have more than twice your daily protein requirement. I ordered up some heart-healthy edamame, a small 4-pc steamed shrimp dumpling appetizer and one item from the sushi menu. I wasn't sure if I'd really bust my sushi cherry by ordering ebi (technically sashimi, not sushi) but I figured I'd give it a shot.

The shrimp shumai (dumplings) were a little briny, but salvageable drowned in soy sauce, and my first stab at sushi was decent. Altogether, it was a pretty decent meal. And it cheered up my poor friend Miss A. Sushi, and Japanese food in general, is a great choice for those trying to stick to a healthy diet regimen -- especially if you stick with boiled or steamed appetizers and sushi. Just steer clear of tempura anything, watch your salt intake (that soy sauce is a killer) and go light on the teriyaki.


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