Ichiban in Columbia Crossing

I found Ichiban by accident. I was running errands over lunch and got all turned around in Columbia Crossing. Getting lost in Columbia is a not uncommon occurrence for those who don't live there. The brain child of Edward Notron's grandfather (yes, that Edward Norton), Columbia is Maryland's planned community, and popular opinion is that it was most certainly planned as only a committee could have created it. A sprawling mass of shopping centers, corporate parks, and cul de sacs cross-cut by numerous state highways and thoroughfares, it all looks blandly the same and would work much better if it were based on a nice straightforward grid.

I've been working down there since November when my company transferred my department out of our nice digs in Harbor East, and yesterday I was driving without GPS. After circling Dobbin Road, Old Dobbin Road, Columbia Crossing, and Columbia Crosing II for some 30 minutes looking for the road back to the office, I spotted Ichiban and decided it was time to at least pick up some lunch.

Ichiban offers a fairly generic selection of Chinese and Japanese take out. I got a bento box of chicken tempura, shomai, and a California roll. It came with a side of rice and miso soup. The lady behind the counter promised a 10-minute wait and that was accurate. I was in and out in good time.

My bento box was well-packaged but that's where the goodness ends. The chicken tempura was greasy, and the meat was dry and flavorless. The California roll was also lacking in flavor, plus it came without chopsticks so I had no real way to mix the small dab of wasabi into my soy sauce. And, really, am I supposed to eat sushi with a knife and fork? The shomai was good but luke warm and a little dry on one side as if it had finished cooking first and had to wait for everything else to catch up. The miso was a fairly sad affair that I didn't even bother with. The best part was the rice - nice sticky flavorful sushi rice.

I also on impulse got a strawberry bubble tea. The menu offers additional bubble and flavor at additional cost, which is a good racket for them. My tea had a good ammount of large tapioca bubbles but was thin and watery.

Overall Ichiban only gets points for speed as the food itself fell flat for me. Which is just as well as I doubt I will ever be able to find them again. At $15 total for a mediocre lunch, I doubt I will go looking, either.

Located somewhere in Columbia Crossing (I thought I saw a Rack Room Shoes nearby?), Ichiban is open for lunch and dinner, dine-in or take-out.