McLean / Japanese / $$
Historically, austerity has been a benchmark of Japanese cuisine. At Tachibana, you will find rolls that combine pickled plum and Japanese mint, not foie gras and truffle mayo. Looking for the latter? Go somewhere else. This warhorse has changed little since it moved from Arlington to McLean in 1996. And purists like it that way.
There are precious few Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants in NoVA. The fact that this has been one since its 1982 inception (original owner Hideo Eiji Yahashi passed away last year) speaks volumes. The menu is packed with greatest hits.
To bear witness, just order a bento box. For $18, it contains five Nipponese kitchen favorites. A few soybeans whet the palate for crackling shrimp and vegetable tempura. A salmon fillet is lightly seasoned and grilled to a uniformly crispy sear. Yakitori, made from Rubenesque chicken thighs, avoids the sugary pitfalls many other iterations endure. The tamago is striated with paper-thin layers that make the sweet omelet a particular pleasure. Egg appears in the chirashi bowl, too, a well-curated sampling of some of the best fish the restaurant has to offer. This is a destination that not only resists trends, but long outlasts them.
See this: There’s a vintage feel to the atmosphere, but the kimonos and wall hangings are timeless.
Eat this: Bento box, chirashi, ume-shiso roll
Service: Strictly business.
When to dine here: You want to keep your workday lunch efficient and light.