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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:30am–2:00pm
Mon–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri 11:30am–2:00pm
Fri 5:00pm–10:30pm
Sat noon–2:30pm
Sat 5:00pm–10:30pm
Sun noon–2:30pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:30pm

Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Tysons Corner, VA
6715 Lowell Ave.
McLean, VA
(703) 847-1771
Some of the most authentic Japanese food in suburbia

Tachibana certainly looks like the real thing. Marooned on an island in the middle of a McLean parking lot and surrounded by a large veranda, it’s like a red brick interpretation of a Japanese house upon a misty hill. You almost expect to see snow cranes dancing under the lampposts. The interior is surprisingly spacious and encouraging: waitresses are actually Japanese, and tables and the multiple sushi bars are filled with Asian diners. It’s only natural that the food at Tachibana sees more authentic flavors than those you’d find at similar restaurants elsewhere in the area.

Take, for example, a fish soup (hooray for a restaurant that has something other than miso). The light, briny broth is studded with bitter carrots, flowering radishes, and wilted greens, and is suffused with fishy redolence. If it weren’t for the clod of over-boiled chicken stowing away in the bowl, it would be an ideal start to a meal. Bitter hot tea in ceramic mugs further demonstrates that Tachibana hasn’t been entirely Westernized.

Main courses bring moments of beauty. Pieces of sashimi unfold like little flowers in a bowl of chirashi. Eating it is like a treasure hunt or a game of he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not. Each petal removed reveals yet another fragrant layer—tawny pickled mushrooms, blood-bright tuna, smooth and fatty salmon. Slivers of fresh ginger add spicy-sweet thorns of heat to random bites. There’s a much more expansive list of nigiri choices than at other suburban Japanese places.

Salmon marinated in sweet soy, though, is something of a bust. The lower quality fish is obvious, and the big, hacking cuts are incongruous with a chopstick culture. Noodle dishes are charmingly rustic in their heavy clay pots. There are moments of further authenticity (like eggs floating in the chicken broth) and moments of disappointment (said chicken broth tastes like it came from a can). It may be red brick, but the food and the humble interior are closer to Japan than is customary.

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