CUISINE Japanese, Sushi
PRICE $$ ($13-$20)
HOURS Open for lunch and dinner daily.
NVM AWARDS Best Restaurant 2006
Best Restaurant 2007
Best Restaurant 2008
Best Restaurant 2009
Best Restaurant 2010
Best Restaurant 2011
Best Restaurant 2012
NEARBY METRO None
SPECIAL FEATURESAccepts Credit Cards
By Warren Rojas
Food: 7.1 Ambiance: 6.2 Service: 6.7
There we sat, locked in the ultimate staring contest.
Me: chopsticks primed, mouth watering.
Red snapper: teeth bared, glaring back with one cloudy eye.
Ultimate winner: anyone wise enough to add Tachibana to their regular dining rotation.
Chef Tonka—he’s the stick-thin toque flashing the wide-mouthed smile from behind the main sushi bar—acts as the ultimate goodwill ambassador, saluting incoming customers, artfully arranging his raw seafood stores and thanking belly-patting patrons as they waddle out the front door.
Soy-sweetened eel mingles well with cucumber (kept its cool) and minty shiso (piggy-backed on diced scallions to bring the spice).
Tender sea scallops are dressed to thrill after being enrobed in spicy mayonnaise and strategically deployed crunchies.
The aforementioned snapper jaw boasts caramelized flesh as succulent and sweet as lobster, but you gotta work for it (prime picking zones: gills, eye socket and cheek).(November 2009)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 7.5 Ambiance: 6.2 Service: 6.5
“If you tell me this is good sushi, I’ll believe you,” I overheard a raw seafood virgin inform her guide as they pulled open the front door to Tachibana.
Not to worry. Your friend did good.
This haven of Japanese cuisine caters to a widely diverse clientele, ranging from venerable Asians (almost always basking in the steamy warmth of oversized soup bowls) to toddler-toting Westerners (yup, there’s a kid’s three-piece sushi sampler on the menu) entranced by the rainbow of surprises displayed within artfully arranged bento boxes.
The kitchen appears to be fielding more daily specials (calamari filets, blue point oysters on the half shell). Too bad they also routinely run out of core delicacies (salmon jaw).
Fresh escolar injects latent butteriness (providing a much fattier/richer mouth feel than regular tuna) to wasabi-spiked hand roll.
Deep-fried shrimp and fleshy vegetables tangle playfully with thick, satisfying udon noodles.
Soy-soaked rib eye, caramelized onions and glassy noodles (one sweeter than the next) become fast friends in a fiery wok, then gang up on mounds of unsuspecting white rice.(November 2008)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.2 Ambiance: 6.5 Service: 6.5
“So, what’s good today?” a loyal patron asks upon positioning himself front and center at Tachibana’s main sushi bar.
Without missing a beat, the sushi chef starts rattling off their freshest features, a seafood roll call populated by seasonal scores like abalone, soft shell crabs, oysters and mackerel.
The dedicated sushi chefs are beyond helpful, fielding questions about their most exotic ingredients (mottled quail eggs, plump, purple octopus) and time-honored techniques with almost infectious enthusiasm.
But their work really speaks for itself.
Raw scallop is gloriously sweet—until you discover the surreptitious dollop of wasabi rubbed into the sushi rice (delectable). Red snapper displays an almost citrusy finish. The signature Monica roll summons broiled eel almost caramelized beneath a soy glaze and encrusted with jazzy tempura flakes (domo).(December 2007)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.4 Ambiance: 6.3 Service: 6.6
One peek at the fascinating array of glistening fish and other from-the-depths delights stored beneath the glass at Tachibana’s main sushi counter, and you just know you are in for a genuine treat.
Owners of this venerable Japanese eatery have garnered so many awards for their amazing sushi catalog, they’re running out of places to properly display all the plaques. Better they run out of wallspace than seats, since regulars (a roughly 50-50 split between native Japanese and in-the-know Westerners) seem to snatch up the majority of tables at any given time. Solo diners, on the other hand, tend to gravitate toward the long, half-moon-shaped sushi counter up front or the smaller sushi counter in back rather than wait for vacancies in the dining room.
Behind those counters, classically trained sushi chefs spend hour upon hour artfully scaling, gutting and slicing all the fresh seafood at their command. And their dedication is greatly appreciated.
One tempura roll marries glossy tuna and fiery jalapeno (tuna pops, jalapeno rocks). Hamanegi maki combines already robust yellowtail tuna (all-fish flavor) with a smattering of flaked bonito (a bold tuna-on-tuna tag-team). Shaved plum and minty shiso take your taste buds by storm (lip-smacking fruit is unbelievably flavorful). A chef’s choice sampler bears a dozen mixed maki and nigiri rolls featuring everything from red surf clam (terrific) to mackerel to butterflied shrimp (tasty but dreadfully familiar).(August 2006)
By Warren Rojas
F 8.2 A 6.2 S 6.7
Before the advent of open kitchens or chef's tables, there was the traditional sushi counter. And few places are livelier or more appetizing than the sushi showplace that is Tachibana.
Injecting just a touch of the Orient into suburbia, the half-moon shaped dining room is typically overrun by Japanese families and sushi-loving Westerners who crowd in for lunch and dinner. Quite often your best bet is to just grab a stool at the expansive sushi bar.
No assembly-line tactics or pre-rolled packaging here. The password is "fresh." Dutiful sushi chefs seek out the raw ingredients for each dish only after you order, gingerly slicing exotic fish, eel, octopus and sea urchins to custom tailor each selection.
Accordingly, seafood items are the main attraction. A sake-marinated mackerel finished on the grill starts things off with a bang. Crispy soft shell crabs-a seasonal specialty, so get'em while you can!-are accompanied by a bevy of batter-fried vegetables. Sushi and sashimi favorites include surf clams, butterflied shrimp and spicy scallops. Or indulge in the complex flavors of the traditional clay pot meals.