Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Moritomo vs Ichiban, which is the best Japanese restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire?

There are two very good Japanese restaurants in Concord, New Hampshire and you will not be disappointed with either the Moritomo Japanese Restaurant or the Ichiban Japanese Steak House. Moritomo had been one of our favorite local restaurants for many years. After the Cat and the Fiddle closed on Manchester Street several years ago, Ichiban was born and has become a strong competitor. We have gone to these restaurants many times and they each have their own unique qualities and specialties. I will compare each in different categories and then announce the one that I think is best.

  1. Parking. Moritomo is located in a strip mall where parking can be difficult especially around Christmas whereas Ichiban has its own parking area so I have to give the advantage to Ichiban.
  2. Service. I have always been impressed with how quick and attentive the waiters and waitresses are at Moritomo. Ichiban has good service but there are times when they are very busy when it seems like the wait staff is stretched a little thin. Advantage here to Moritomo.
  3. Atmosphere. Moritomo has tables that are too close for my comfort. They do have hibachi seating and a small sushi bar along with enclosed private dining on the perimeter of the room. There is one large television and a fish tank. Ichiban is different in that they have one large dining room and one smaller with a lot of booths and some tables that provide more seating capacity. They also have a small sushi bar and a very large hibachi area. There are two large fish tanks with a lot of fish pictures sprinkled throughout. Ichiban also has a nice large bar area that always seems to be busy when we stop in. On this one I have to give the advantage to Ichiban.
  4. Food. This was a tough one for me; for example, although both are good I think Moritomo's teriyaki steak and chicken are better because they put them on a hot plate so they stay hotter for longer than at Ichiban. Moritomo also has Chicken Cheese Maki which is probably one of my favorite Japanese foods of all time. And although I don't eat a lot of sushi I am told by my wife that it is excellent. On the other hand Ichiban has a lot to offer as well, first, you can order hibachi foods even if you are in regular dining and it is my understanding that you can not at Moritomo. And Ichiban's hibachi dishes are fabulous and include chicken, shrimp, and filet mignon. The ginger dressing at Ichiban is out of this world. It has a creamy texture and if you have never had it I wouldn't be surprised if you ordered a bottle, it is that good. Moritomo has a ginger dressing as well but it is a little strong for my liking. As far as sushi I actually like Ichibans and believe me for someone to say that who does not really like suchi that is saying a lot. Their spicy tempura roll has a fried outside and a tender inside, wonderful. I also enjoy the chicken lo mein at Ichiban which includes fresh vegetables, noodles and of course chicken, superb. Finally on the food, Ichiban includes dessert on many of their dishes and you can get either vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I'm not sure where they get it but the chocolate is fantastic. Ichiban also happens to carry one of our favorite white wines called Conundrum that I strongly recommend. This one is close but I have to go with Ichiban.
  5. Price. I think this is pretty much even, although not cheap you can't go wrong with the food at either place.
So there you have it and in the final analysis I give the advantage to Ichiban. That said, if you have never been to either of these Japanese restaurants I recommend that you try both. I look forward to hearing your comments.