The Olympic Peninsula's Destination Sushi Bar    

1208 Water St.    
Port Townsend, WA 98368    
360/379-4000    Delivery: 360/385-AWAY (2929)    
Twitter: IchikawaPT    Facebook: IchikawaPT    

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11:30-1:30 Thur-Sat


4:30-8:00 Tues-Thurs
4:30-9:00 Fri-Sat
Closed Sun & Mon


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  “Excellent meal and friendly service. So glad you are in PT.”

  Frequently Asked Questions
(click a question to jump to the answer)

How come you billed my credit card more than it says on my receipt? (Preauthorization)

Well, we didn't. Sort of. Not really.

Gather 'round, folks - it's time to explain the concept of "preauthorization".

Now that everyone is on the Internet, and banks have made online access to your checking, debit and credit card accounts a breeze, many people are routinely and frequently observing their transactions. This is a good thing! Aside from making sure bills are accurate, it helps keep down potentially fraudulent transactions because they're noticed sooner.

With the benefits, though, sometimes comes confusion. We're getting "Hey, you bozos! You've overcharged my credit card!" calls more and more often.

Here's the deal:

  • Restaurants, along with hotels, bars, car-rental agencies, self-serve gas stations (and other establishments that don't know the final amount when the bill is first prepared) use what's called a "preauthorization" amount when first accessing your credit card. This is a fixed percentage over and above the transaction amount (including tax), intended to cover tips, last-minute added charges, missing towels/silverware/bumpers/back seats etc. It doesn't apply to most retail stores and other establishments where the final, complete total is rung up and billed immediately.

  • For restaurants like ours, the preauth amount is 40% over the base charge; this covers any tips (servers love those!), last-minute dessert or drink orders and the like so that we don't have to run your card again. This amount has been approved when we bring back your credit/debit card and the bill for signature. It doesn't appear on your Ichikawa receipt, but for example if your total including tax is $20.00, the credit-card processing company will make sure the card is valid for $28.00. And yes, this amount is deducted (or, more accurately, "temporarily reserved") against your credit limit. But please remember, you will NOT be billed this amount and you are NOT being charged interest on it - it's simply a temporary authorization.

  • At the end of each shift, we transmit the final amount of each bill (including any of those added charges) to the processing company - this final amount replaces the preauthorization charge and is the total billing you will see on your final statement. But herein lies the "problem"  . . . . .

  • The process of credit card companies replacing the preauthorization amount with the final amount usually takes 1-3 business days; it's not an immediate process, it's different for different card types and sometimes even different issuing banks. We don't know why; Bigger Brains Than Ours decide these things. Before online banking was available, all this was invisible to you; the clearing and adjustment to the final amount happened before you got your bill in the mail.

So, if you're in the habit of inspecting your accounts online every morning, you may be seeing the temporary preauthorization amount, not the final amount. For Ichikawa bills, just add 40% to the actual bill total on your receipt (including tax, but not tip) - that should match the number you're seeing. And remember, within a couple of days it's automatically adjusted to the final amount. In all our years in business, we've never seen the adjustment fail to happen, but please let us know if you think you've spotted a real problem after giving it a few days to resolve itself - we'll fix it, guaranteed.

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Why is Unagi at "Market Price" on your menu?

Fans of Unagi (barbecued freshwater eel) have undoubtedly noticed a change to our menu - our Unagi dishes are now "market priced". This means the price can vary and it's the first time in our 12-year history we've had to go this route. Current prices for Unagi dishes (Nigiri, Donburi, Una-Ten Roll, Una-Kyu Temaki etc.) are always displayed on our Specials board.

The reason for this is simply that our cost for Unagi has changed suddenly and dramatically the last couple of years. From Jan-Oct 2011 alone, our cost went up 90% and it's continued to climb from there. We held the line for a long time, absorbing these costs instead of raising prices, but we just couldn't keep doing that, losing money on Unagi dishes, forever. Worldwide demand has increased and supply hasn't kept up, so prices jumped quite a bit. The good news, to put a little positive spin on it, is that we can lower the Market Price when and if our costs come down - we know you love it since it's one of the most popular sushi-bar items, and we'd rather sell more at lower prices and keep everyone happy.

For two and a half years (Nov. '09 to May '12) our menu pricing was unchanged while we did our best to adjust to rising prices but every now and then we're more or less forced to adjust pricing to cover these increased costs. We'll always strive to give you the highest quality possible at a good-value price. Our costs for Black Cod and especially Dungeness Crab have also increased substantially, but we're planning and hoping to keep the menu price stable for these.

If you'd like to know more about the Unagi situation, including some amazing prices for the baby eel stock, we've linked a few articles you can read for all the details:

Eel economics: Why unagi is so popular (and expensive)

Price Of Eels Skyrockets To $2,000 Per Pound In Maine As Result Of Worldwide Shortage

The eel deal: Sky’s the limit for unagi prices

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Are those customer quotes at the top of your webpages and in your ads for real?

Yep.   We've featured some of our favorites from the thousands of real comments received from our customers. Every guest has an opportunity to fill out a comment slip as well as rate us in several important areas - we read them all, save them all and use the feedback to improve our business.    We also love showing off some of the best compliments, of course.

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Why can't I reserve a table?

This one goes back a ways. When we first opened in July 2000 we experimented with table reservations, but the results were . . ummmmm . . less than delightful, so we abandoned the idea that first month.

The problem is that we can't guarantee the availability of a table at any given time, except right after opening for lunch or dinner, because we can't know exactly how busy we'll be or how long our guests plan to stay. Since we're a modestly-sized restaurant, we don't have enough tables to set some aside for reservations, and almost had fights break out when we tried it in the early days as people found themselves waiting for a "reserved" table to become available. So, with one exception (see below), our tables are available only on a walk-in basis. On busy nights, we do keep a signup list at the reception desk and seat everyone at an appropriately-sized table (or at the sushi bar, if you prefer) in arrival order.

The good news is that we have tried to make our table, booth and sushi-bar arrangement as flexible as possible; we can rearrange things to accommodate parties of most any size. If you have a larger party (more than 4) and call us before coming in, we can advise you about how long it might take, and try to allocate tables with your group in mind. We encourage everyone to try seating at the sushi bar if possible; on most nights you'll likely be seated more quickly, have a lot of fun, enjoy the free floor show watching our chefs, may meet some new friends and of course will enjoy the very same menu choices offered at our tables.

The exception to our no-reservation policy is our Tatami Room, which is available to reserve for your group. Click the “Reservations” link for more information.

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Are there any service charges?

For parties of 6 people or more, an 18% gratuity will be added to the bill. A small charge for split/shared orders may apply. We reserve the right to add a small corkage fee if you bring your own bottle, but we're usually pretty relaxed about that if you have something special.

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Do you offer delivery?

Yes, we do - through Wright Away Delivery, an independent delivery service here in Port Townsend. Please place your delivery order with them directly by calling 360/385-AWAY (2929). All of our menu items (except alcoholic beverages) are available for delivery, or takeout if you prefer to pick them up yourself.

Remember, our current menus are available right here on our website to view, download or print (click “Menus”) to help you choose.

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May I make substitutions in your standard items?

Yes, we're happy to make substitutions if possible; some changes (such as extra avocado or substituting Dungeness Crab for Surimi) necessitate an extra charge to cover our costs.

Our Bento Box special (available for lunch and dinner and different every day) is a balanced arrangement at a special price - it's generally not possible to make substitutions for this item.

Please let us know if you have any significant food allergies; we'll make changes to our preparations to accommodate these, if we can.

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Why aren't you open all day?

There are several reasons:

The first is simple business: we've discovered over the years that there aren't many sushi fans out for a meal during mid-afternoon in Port Townsend. Our hours reflect that; we're open when almost all our customers want to find us.

Second, Japanese food requires a lot more preparation time than you might think - our chefs work for at least two hours before lunch and dinner cleaning fish, cooking/preparing rice two different ways, slicing vegetables, making Gyoza by hand from scratch, ordering more items from our suppliers and all the other things necessary to make your meal happen. Many customers aren't aware of it, but we don't tear open big bags or cans of pre-prepared ingredients - we use whole fish, chickens, ducks, tomatoes, daikon, ginger, carrots, garlic, romaine lettuce etc. to make our food as tasty as you've come to expect. Our sauces, soup stocks and even our salad dressing are made fresh, from scratch. (We do make a few compromises out of practical necessity; you won't see us leading whole cows or pigs off the delivery trucks.) Our cuisine requires most ingredients to be at-hand and ready instantly, to provide you service as quickly as possible. So midday preparation time is essential.

The last reason is easy to explain: our chefs need a bit of a break in the workday to rest up, because there usually isn't time to take a break when we're open for business, thanks to our loyal customers.

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Why aren't you open on Mondays? Everyone's closed on Mondays!

Once again, several reasons:

The main reason is that Monday is when all the restaurant owners in Port Townsend have agreed to close. We gather at a secure undisclosed location, drink heavily and gossip about each other. Yes, as most people have suspected all along . . . . . it's a conspiracy.

Another excuse reason is that we need one day a week for necessary heavy cleaning and equipment maintenance. This takes hours and is pretty disruptive - it just can't be done during a regular business day. Even though we're closed, we're still working.

And Monday was selected simply because it seems to be the least-disruptive day for both our staff and customers. Plus there's that drink-n-gossip thing.

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It's always so crowded - why don't you expand?

To be honest, the thought has occurred to us. But then, on the next deadly-slow Saturday night, it goes away again.

All kidding aside, we think we're about the right size for Port Townsend.  While we do occasionally have those crazy nights with eager patrons spilling out the front door, it's a pretty rare occurrence.  Yes, it's no fun if you're one of those people waiting, but normally we're able to seat and serve almost everyone in just a few minutes.

Most of the time, we have seating available right away and we're able to rearrange tables to handle various-sized parties.  Once in a while, we'd love to have another half-dozen tables, but there's another issue - kitchen capacity.  With our limited kitchen space, it's all our chefs and floor staff can do to keep up if we're full, and more tables would mean more folks waiting for their meal, unfortunately.  And in our current location, there's no room to expand the kitchen.

We do keep an eye on waiting times and we've discovered that long waits (more than 10-15 minutes) are quite rare and for more than half the year in Port Townsend (outside tourist season) our size is more than enough to handle everybody quickly.  Our goal is always to make as many people happy as we possibly can, and we do everything we can do to achieve that.

There are a few things you might consider, to minimize waiting time:

  • Our busiest time is typically between 6:00-7:30pm on Friday and Saturday; arriving before or after these periods will usually minimize the chance of having to wait a bit.  Of course, other weeknights are typically less crowded.  No matter how busy we are, though, parking's never a problem because our neighbors are gone in the evenings and we have the whole parking lot to ourselves.

  • We keep a waiting list at the front desk during busy periods and we're also happy to note your cellphone number and give you a call a few minutes before your table will be ready - that gives you a chance to wander across the street and enjoy the beautiful water views or do a little window shopping with our neighbors.

  • Parties larger than 4 people usually require rearranging tables a bit - if you call us before coming over, we'll do our best to allocate space for your party as tables become available.

  • Often, we have people waiting to be seated at tables while the sushi bar has plenty of room.  Consider sitting at the bar - it's fun!  In addition to the free floor show provided by our chefs, you can interact with them directly, possibly meet new friends and be seated with minimal delay.  The menu's the same of course, so give it a try.

For parties of 6 people or more, our Tatami Room is available for reservations - please click the “Reservations” link for more information.

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Can we reserve your whole restaurant for a private party?

Possibly.  We love the idea, and have actually done this a few times, but our first priority must be to accommodate our valued customers during our regular posted hours.  When we've done it previously, it was either on Monday when we're normally closed (this isn't as simple as it seems, because we usually do maintenance and heavy cleaning all day on Mondays) or by starting before regular dinner hour at 5pm.  It's more than just unlocking the doors - advance planning and scheduling is necessary.

If you're really interested in this, for a company party or something similar, let's talk.  We want to make as many people as possible as happy as possible.

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What's this "Surimi" stuff - why don't you use crab in your California Rolls?

Surimi is the Japanese name for imitation crabmeat. It's not "synthetic" or "artificial" because it's real fish (the word "surimi" means "minced fish"; created in Japan and recorded as early as 1100 AD, it started gaining popularity in the USA in the early 1970s). Surimi helps satisfy the overwhelming demand for crab-based foods at lower prices - it's used worldwide in sushi bars.

Created to look and taste like crabmeat, Surimi is commonly used in such items as California Rolls and our customer-favorite Seventh Heaven Roll. It's made from Pollock, a mild whitefish; in our region Pollock comes from Alaskan waters, then is textured, flavored and striped to look and taste like crabmeat - our supplier is in Anacortes.

We do offer honest-to-goodness Dungeness Crab Rolls, Temaki and Sunomono (and you may substitute it for Surimi in any item, at an additional charge), but for some of our most popular menu items, Surimi is a great alternative and helps make your meal more affordable (Dungeness Crab meat costs about nine times as much as surimi). It's pretty tasty, too.

And yes, we've also seen the words "crab" and even "krab" used on menus elsewhere, when it's actually Surimi. We would never do that. When in doubt, ask - and you know the old saying about "if it seems too good to be true . . . . "

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What do you mean you "ran out of sushi rice"? How can you run out of rice?

One of our most embarrassing moments is the occasional lack of sushi rice near the end of a busy dinner session. Can you believe it - out of rice????? This seems as good a time as any to offer a little explanation.

Every day, Peter prepares a large amount of rice in our giant cooker - several big batches, and it's a lot of work. For plain rice (served on the side and with Donburi and other dishes), it's simply held warm after cooking until needed. But for the rice destined to be used at the sushi bar, there's quite a bit more work involved. It gets seasoned by hand after cooking, then is cooled as rapidly as possible by hand stirring before sitting at room temperature to absorb the special flavorings (the vinegar used in the seasoning process also "pickles" the rice a bit to give it a distinct flavor and prevent spoilage without refrigeration, a technique dating back hundreds of years). All this after-cook preparing is done in the large, round, shallow wooden bowl you can see hanging on the back wall at the end of our kitchen - it's called a "Hangiri" and is specially designed just to make sushi rice. Hangiri are not cheap; ours cost over $600 thirteen years ago. But with proper care they can last for decades of use and acquire a "seasoning" just like our well-used stirfry pans to make the best possible product.

We try to plan for as much sushi rice on hand as possible to meet expected demand, and leftover rice can be used the next day, but not beyond that, so we make a bit extra in advance for weekends and other busy periods.

Sometimes, though, we get caught by surprise - everybody wants sushi rolls, hand rolls and nigiri! There are just those times now and then when the normal mix of orders gets heavily skewed to those items which use sushi rice and sometimes we run out near the end of the evening. We really hate to disappoint people, and it's pretty embarrassing for a sushi chef to say "out of rice", but it's happened on rare occasions.

The big problem is that making even a small batch of sushi rice takes well over an hour to cook, season and cool to the proper temperature for use. It can't be rushed; proper taste, texture and consistency to meet our standards means we have to do it right, every time. If we're really busy, it's sometimes just not possible to make more in time; the kitchen staff is simply maxed out.

So we end up apologizing and try to suggest alternatives, but we know what it's like to have your heart set on a Seventh Heaven Roll and not be able to get one. For that, we're very sorry, but at least now you know why it happens. We do our best to make it not happen.

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Do I need a PayPal account to buy your stuff online?

No.   If you have one, you may use it, but that's up to you. We use the PayPal system to process your online orders and payments, with full privacy and security, but you do not need to have or open a PayPal account to purchase here (use your Visa/Mastercard/American Express/Discover cards or your PayPal-verified checking account). Whichever method you choose, your payment info is securely handled by PayPal and is never transmitted to us.

Please click here to open a new browser window and access PayPal's website for more-detailed information.

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Do you accept personal/company checks? Which credit cards? Debit/Cash/ATM cards?

We do accept checks from the Olympic Peninsula and surrounding areas, with proper identification (your permanent address and phone number must be preprinted on the check).  If your check is returned to us unpaid, we will charge you a $20 fee to cover our bank's charge to us and our bookkeeping expenses to process it.

We also accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards, as well as debit/check cards with any of these logos (since they clear our system just like credit cards).  We do not accept other debit cards, ATM cards or any cards requiring a PIN number.

And, of course, cash works great!

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Does your round logo mean anything? What do the four Japanese characters on your menu mean?

"Ichikawa" means River City; we're named after Port Townsend's sister city of Ichikawa, Japan in the Hyogo prefecture. Our round logo is simply two Japanese characters - the inner one (Ichi) means "City", the outer (Kawa) means "River" and is wrapped around Ichi in a stylized representation.

The four Japanese characters simply say "Ichikawa Japanese Cuisine", reading from top to bottom.  If you look closely, the top two characters (Ichi and Kawa) are the same as those in the round logo, represented in more-conventional calligraphy.

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Where can I find out more about Sushi and Japanese cooking?

As with most things these days, the answer may be found in hundreds of places on the Internet; you can spend as much time as you wish exploring all the resources available.

Here are a few sites to start your journey (let us know if you find others we should include):

Please note that at Ichikawa, we're not hard-core sticklers about etiquette, but remember who's holding the knives and we'll get along just fine. 

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Where can I find out more about Ichikawa, Japan - Port Townsend's sister city?

Ichikawa City has a website in Japanese.

Port Townsend has an Ichikawa Friends Sister-City Committee; contact Catherine McNabb 360/379-5089 or email for more information.

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Where can I find out more about Port Townsend events and things to do?

Two of our favorite sites for the complete PT scoop are:

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Do you have a privacy policy?

Yes we do.   Please click here to read it.

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Didn't you have a different name in the past?

Yes we did.   From opening day (July 12, 2000) through our renaming dedication ceremony on May 15, 2004, we were Osamu Ocean Grill & Sushi Bar, named after one of our original sushi chefs. Our new name better reflects our cuisine's style and our city's ties with our sister city Ichikawa and we remain under the same ownership, with the same dedication to unique, high-quality food and excellent service.

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