April 4th, 2009
I had originally made reservations at Tachibana for my school’s Sakura Matsuri trip last year, but changed at the last moment to Konami. We went to Tachibana this year in an attempt to salvage the disaster that was Sakura Matsuri 2009–added bonus: we were going for shabu shabu (so it was double redemption because it would be answering to the failure of “Bob’s Shabu Shabu”).
We didn’t have to wait long, and during our wait I read the articles on the wall that discussed the calligrapher’s displayed art. We were moved to a small table and when we ordered shabu shabu, the waitress looked at me and said “do you know what that is?”. Okay, offended. I assured her I knew what it was and we opted for the $20 per person (2 person minimum) a la carte shabu shabu, which was a few dollars less than the dinner option that included a salad and dessert.
We were moved to a larger table to accommodate the nabe (pot) that the shabu shabu would be cooking in. Well, in the end the shabu shabu was more shabu shabu than I had thought, but it was still a bit lacking. It was cooked nabemono-style, which was everything in the pot at the same time, instead of cooking the meat first and then adding the vegetables at the end with the left over liquid. Also, we were missing the koma sauce (brown, seseame based). Our waitress actually pointed this out to us, saying that it wasn’t real shabu shabu because we were missing this sauce. I tried to shut my ears when she started that sentence, but alas, it was too late.
We received miso soup as a starter–it was pretty good! I ate all of mine. Then the waitress started cooking some of our shabu shabu, left us to cook it for ourselves for a while, then came back to cook some more. The only bad thing was that the noodles were ridiculously slippery. I couldn’t even get them out and I like to think of myself as some-what of a chopstick master.
Dinner was pretty good — I’m glad I got my shabu fix, but I don’t think I’ll be going back. Maybe for sushi if we’re in the area, but there are much better Japanese restaurants out there to try and much closer ones for the sushi-fix.
“If you’re a fan of high-end toro”, this “reliable” McLean Japanese “rocks” with an “extensive menu” of “outstanding sushi” cut in “generous” pieces, and “if you like cooked food” it has a host of “authentic” “offerings that do not include the word ‘teriyaki'”; regulars “overlook its tired decor” in favor of its “good reputation”, and the “amazing lunch deals” and the chance to “sit at the bar and let the owner choose for you” elevate the experience for others.
Food: 25, Decor: 14, Service: 19, Cost: $36
Mclean | 6715 Lowell Ave. (Emerson Ave.) | 703-847-1771