Of course, I'm referring to the creature from whence the appetizer came, Igibon's Tako Sunomono ($4.95). This light combination of delicately sliced octopus and cucumber in vinegar sauce isn't just tasty and refreshing, it's also a conversation starter.
Igibon's lunch offerings include a nice variety of udon, sushi slates, and bento boxes. The Igibon Special bento box ($8.95, shown above sans three pieces of sushi that were brought out moments later) is a considerable amount of food -- including Beef Maki, Shrimp Tempura, Vegetable Tempura, sushi, fried or white rice, crab wonton, salad, and soup. The Beef Maki ($4.95 on its own) is something I've never seen anywhere else -- ribeye steak sliced thin and rolled around scallions and carrots, covered in a soy-based sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It's served warm, and it's different -- like tiny sushi-sized chunks of pot roast. I also have to comment on the salad dressing -- though thin, it's a great combination of creamy and tart and goes well with the whole dinner. The broccoli floret tempura, however, is a bit wieldy in my opinion.
My companion went for Sushi B ($6.95), one of three sushi slates offered with soup for the lunchtime crowd. It included California roll, tuna roll, cucumber roll, and a couple of pieces of a house roll with avocado and crab stick.
Of course, Igibon's food is great, but I also like the atmosphere -- it feels grown-up in comparison to so many other places you can catch lunch. And I appreciate a picture menu -- lets you see what you're getting in advance. Unhurried but not too fancy, it's easy to see why the restaurant has been a Best of Arkansas runner-up over and over again. Or as my companion put it, it's like a food cave for adults.
Haven't tried it? You'll find Igibon Japanese Food House at 11121 North Rodney Parham Suite A-13 (in the Market Place Shopping Center). (501) 217-8888. It's open Monday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5-10:00 p.m. for dinner.