In 2007, Ichiban owner Randy Wong had big plans for his sushi and hibachi restaurant on Essen Lane. “We were planning on building a brand new restaurant on the lot next door,” he says. “That did not come to fruition.”
Wong did the next best thing—remodeled his existing business. In mid-May, Wong closed Ichiban, hoping to have the restaurant ready in a month. However, the work took longer than expected, and Ichiban reopened quietly by late July.
“We gutted down everything to the studs, and pretty much everything is brand new,” Wong says.
He worked with Tang Design, an award-winning interior design company from New York, to give the restaurant a “bigger city” feel.
“We wanted to bring something to Baton Rouge that the city doesn’t have,” he says. “We wanted to mainly give off that very unique, fine dining restaurant vibe, without the fine dining price and dress code.”
During the recent soft reopening, Wong says he tried to control the crowd in order to give everyone a great experience.
“We’ve been in business long enough that we know when we get crazy busy we knew we couldn’t have handled it,” he says. “We wanted everyone to enjoy it without giving them a bad vibe of the restaurant being too crowded or loud.”
Pretty soon, people were hearing the news about the restaurant and even calling to see if it was ready for diners.
The menu also has some new additions, including appetizers such as the seared duck breast topped with a Hollandaise Kobayashi sauce and creamy, spicy shrimp topped with a spicy mayo. The menu also has a new 24 oz. ribeye, topped with the aforementioned Hollandaise sauce, lump crabmeat and pan-seared asparagus.
For more information, visit the restaurant on Facebook or call 767-2288. —Matthew Sigur