For adventurous eaters looking to try something new, look no further than Ichiro Asian Bistro & Wine Bar. The upscale eatery offers unique pairings of wine and sushi as well as modern interpretations of Asian fusion flavors.

Owner Alex Chon said Ichiro is a family endeavor, and his two sisters, Diane and Sun, work as the master sushi chef and executive kitchen chef, respectively. His family has been operating various restaurants in the Greater Austin area for over 28 years, and Ichiro was originally slated to be modeled after a previous Chon restaurant in the area.

In March 2020, just three days after Ichiro opened, Chon had to shut down business operations due to Williamson County’s stay-home order aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

While initially frustrating, Chon said the closure actually ended up being beneficial for Ichiro.

“It gave me enough time to identify what Ichiro is about and revamp the menu, instead of using old menu items,” he said. “It gave us extra time to work on our new menu items, so [the closure] wasn’t all bad.”

During the closure, Chon and his sisters met once a week to develop, cook and taste new dishes that would be added to the menu. Chon also decided that Ichiro would not be confined to common expectations. Instead, Ichiro would create original experiences for its guests.

“We wanted to make sure that our kitchen menu could stand up to our sushi offerings,” Chon said. “So if you want sushi and your date wants steak and lobster, we’ve got you covered.”

One of the notable factors at Ichiro is the extensive wine list, which features over 250 wines. Chon said he was tired of hearing that sushi and wine don’t go together, and wanted to defy expectations.

“Most people think that sushi and wine don't really play well together... But depending on the kind of fish and the sauces, you can make the fish item very bold in flavor as well,” Chon said.

To introduce guests to the concept, Chon started hosting a wine pairing dinner a few times a year. During the exclusive event, guests get to experience a wide variety of flavor pairings that accentuate both the fish and the wine.

The concept became so popular that Chon had to expand the wine pairing event to two nights instead of just one.

“When you come to Ichiro, you will experience something truly unexpected,” Chon said. “You will be pleasantly surprised how unique we are and how different we are compared to other places... We really have that ‘wow’ factor.”

Chon said Ichiro isn’t a place people try just once. Instead, the restaurant invites first-time guests to become regulars and join the Ichiro family. A high percentage of Ichiro’s customers are regulars, and General Manager Chris Jahnke said this is due to the personalities of the servers.

“I want my servers to think of their tables as if it was their own grandmother's birthday and they're trying to provide the best experience for their grandmother,” Jahnke said. “That's the level of involvement I expect from our service, and it’s why we have the response from the guests that we do.”

Chon said three things make a business great: the quality and taste of the food, the ambiance and the service. At Ichiro, all three things are done well.

To elevate the ambiance, Ichiro brings in a live jazz band.

“They do a really good job of providing a nice soundscape, especially on the weekends when they're here as well as on special occasions like New Year's Eve,” Jahnke said. “That's something [Chon’s family businesses] have done for decades.”

Curious about an innovative dining experience? Make a plan to enjoy the next wine pairing dinner, or schedule a visit on a Friday or Saturday night to enjoy some live jazz. Guests can also dine out on the patio or book an event with Ichiro’s private dining options.

Starting at the beginning of January 2024, Ichiro will launch its new business hours:
  • Mon.-Thurs.: 5-9:00 p.m.
  • Fri.-Sat.: Noon-10:00 p.m.
With the expanded hours, Ichiro will also offer an Asian tapas-style lunch option where guests can taste a variety of options in a smaller format.

Ichiro Sushi and Wine Bar is located at 1500 Rivery Blvd., Ste. 2120, Georgetown. Visit the website for more information on the restaurant’s dinner menu, happy hour specials and two wine menus.

The above story was produced by Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.