Ichiban (Chinese) – Albany, NY

The strangest thing happened on the day after Chinese New Year. All of my coworkers who are Chinese decided to go out to lunch at Miyako, a Japanese restaurant, in Guilderland. I totally tried everything I could to get them to go with me to Ala Shanghai, but they were all doubtful that we would be back within a reasonable time (it’s a 25 minute drive each way, so 50 minutes + service would be stretching a reasonable lunch break).

After a 15 minute wait, when it was clear that the man who waited our table of 24 people was going to be the same person who cooked and expedited the food, a handful of us who could not wait that long took the short drive to Ichiban on Western Ave. (I know…I know…sigh)

Anyway, they are a somewhat inexpensive place to get some diverse and inexpensive, albeit boring food.

I was really hungry, and it was a holiday, so I ordered the Szechuan Wontons ($3.00).

This was what would be the same wontons you’d get in wonton soup sitting in a bowl of oil with some crushed red peppers. It’s pretty damn spicy, but there’s not much filling in the wonton and there is not much else in the way of flavor.

My lunch came with complimentary soup, so I chose hot and sour.

This was pretty standard. It had the usual tang and saltiness along with the miscellaneous vegetables and meats. It was served to me a little cold, but I rarely bother with soup anyway.

My lunch was General Tso chicken. Actually, I was thinking about the General Tso chicken at Plum Blossom, so naturally, I wanted a point of comparison. I ordered mine extra spicy. For $5.50, I got the General, fried rice, soup, and two crab rangoons.

The portion was modest for the price. There’s nothing special about the meal. It’s your standard American style Chinese takeout. It’s a few steps above the stuff you get off the steam tables at the mall. The only thing outstanding about the meal was the price.

So while my Chinese New Year celebration was super lame, at least I ate for under $10.


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