Monday, March 30, 2009

Tachibana Japanese Restaurant

6715 Lowell Ave
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 847-1771

Visited: March 28, 2009

Should you believe the hype about Tachibana? Maybe, maybe not.

Being a HUGE fan of great sushi and after reading through all of the great reviews for Tachibana, I was excited. My excitement magically moved my mouse pointer to click on the "Send Friend" button on the Tachibana Yelp page. My mouth watered as I addressed the Yelp email to my wife and a few close friends with the subject line, "We MUST try this place out!"

Since sending this message and knowing my love of sushi, I received a great response and ultimately decided to visit Tachibana over the weekend. The days seemed to pass ever so slowly as the thought of dining on amazing sushi danced in my little pea brain. With a Homer Simpson like fascination for food, I'd find myself on the verge of drooling whenever I read the reviews for Tachibana.

Saturday finally arrived and my wife, a friend and two sons made the trip to Tachibana. From the reviews, we arrived right at 5pm for the dinner service in an effort to beat the rush and land a table large enough for three adults and two babies. The portly hostess was an older Asian woman in her late 50's that mumbled her word and only raised her voice to tell us they only had one high chair.

Okay, not a problem...

We made our way to the table, sat down as the wife quickly ran to the minivan to pick up a baby stroller for the one baby boy that didn't have a high chair. Tachibana was already starting to fill up with patrons and we were greeted by a kind looking waitress that handed us our menus and took our drink orders.

My wife, our friend and I quickly opened the menus and gleefully shared some of the delicious sounding rolls and sushi. Now I must confess, I love Toro (fatty tuna) as I find it to be one of my favorite cuts of sushi. We decided on our order and quickly put in our order with the waitress. I happily ordered three orders (6 pieces) of Toro to share with the wife and our friend and could not wait to experience what I had read other Yelpers post about Tachibana.

The order arrived and looked spectacular. The rainbow roll was probably the most beautiful roll I have ever seen with all the bright color blending together in such a gorgeous combination. The pieces of Toro were generous cuts and sat there tempting me to leave my manners behind and dive into the sushi. Thankfully I controlled myself and waited for our friend to start us off and then attacked the Toro.

So here's the real deal on the sushi and our rolls. Let me first begin with the Toro. The quality of the Toro was AMAZING and probably the BEST Toro I had eaten in years. The consistency of the Toro was fresh and buttery as it should be. Each bite was blissful as I was so happy to finally have such great quality Toro after what seemed like an eternity of mediocre Toro.
The flavor of the rolls were okay, but my biggest surprise was related to the rice. The quality of the rice wasn't the best and actually seemed a bit mushy and overcooked. Overall, I thought the rolls were okay and unlike the Toro didn't provide that "wow" factor with the flavor and/or quality. My wife actually reported experiencing a bit of "fishy" flavor in one of the rolls (jalapeno, scallions and tuna) which I couldn't taste myself.

The entire time we were stuffing our faces, our boys dined on their Cheerios which as most babies are known to do drop five on the floor for every one they managed to get into their mouth. Soon the floor was littered with little O's and the wait staff smiled and almost appeared to "coo" as the boys waved and smiled at everyone.

Surprisingly the portly hostess kept coming by our table, loudly mumbling something we didn't understand as she looked at the floor. Walking away she's yell to the waitresses and pointed at our table, our boys and the floor. This odd behavior would've been okay had she done it once...but she kept coming by over and over and really started to make us feel unwelcome in a crowded restaurant.

Finishing our food, we asked for the bill which was brought to us quickly, almost as if the staff was ready for us to leave. I'm not often shocked at a bill (especially when I order Toro), but was a bit surprised to see our bill to be ore than $100 for four rolls and 3 orders of Toro. The rolls didn't warrant such a high bill but I knew the Toro was a specialty that knocked up the price, I just didn't expect it to knock it over $100 especially as there was no price listed next to the Toro.

Regardless, I happily paid as the Toro was quite exceptional although I didn't experience almost orgasmic dining experience shared by other Yelpers. After I signed my credit card slip and we packed up our belongings, the hostess immediately ran over and started barking orders to the bus boys and wait staff to clear our table and clean the floor.

I honestly would've been happy to give an additional star to Tachibana had it not been for the rude hostess and her odd unfriendly behavior.

Tachibana on Urbanspoon


  1. Fatty Tuna is Amazing, i agree. I work in Tysons Corner so I always find an excuse to drop $30 every week at this place. I always have a wonderful experience dining here, but once or twice I'd get here on the wrong day- too crowded, food not fresh, etc.
    I've never had a rude server here, they're usually Japanese or Korean so I get to practice my Japanese with them, or talk to the Koreans about music and stuff.
    recommendation : Try the Horse Mackerel, and quail eggs. Rainbow trout, Spicy Tuna/Scallop/Salmon. Eel is ok. I don't really like Shrimp Tempura because it's fried, however you might.

  2. Omar,

    Hey, first of all thanks so much for your comment. Really nice that people are actually reading this little blog.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to restaurants I'm like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. You only have one chance to make me happy, if you fail...NO SOUP FOR YOU! Well, rather than soup "No return business for you!".

    I'd love to give them a second try, but with some of the other sushi places I've had the distinct pleasure of finding with an amazing combination of GREAT service and EXCELLENT chances of going back to Tachibana are looking slimmer and slimmer each day.

    If you're ever in the Gaithersburg, MD MUST try out Momo Taro. Great little sushi place. You can read my post on Momo Taro at:

    Thanks again for reading!

  3. I personally LOVE this place and I would call myself a sushi fanatic. The downside is indeed the rolls... they look great... they aren't bad.. depends on which you get. The cream cheese based ones have too much cream cheese... but those are designed for western tastes. I love the negimaki roll with jalapeno (toro based). Also love the, yellow tail toro and the Salmon toro (not on the menu) and the Horse Mackerel is to die for!

    My last visit there, I sat at the bar where the owner was working and he is very conversational, suggests new things and appreciates a seasoned palate. At one point he gave us American flounder to taste against the Korean flounder we ordered just to show the difference in taste. Go there again... sit at the bar with the owner, if you are unfamiliar with the food there. That experience will change your opinion.

    At the end of the meal, he gave us aji head soup, fried tail and shrimp heads complimentary. I like to think it was because we were so friendly and nice. :)

    By far my favorite Sushi restaurant in DC/MD/VA. My second favorite is Matuba (my original favorite), which you can find in Bethesda and Arlington. Which is also very good... second only to Tachibana.