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Takohachi - Casual Japanese with Decent-Quality, $1.00 Nigiri on S. Glebe Road and Columbia Pike in South Arlington


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Takohachi opened on December 11 in the Westmont Shopping Center at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. My wife and I decided to eat lunch there today to test this new dining option after reading several positive comments from our neighbors on the Douglas Park community bulletin board. Owned and run by a Japanese chef, the space is simple and open (in the good Japanese way), with plenty of space between the tables and contemporary Japanese music playing softly in the room.

We ordered from the lunch menu, which offered everything from Nigiri Shushi (at $1 per piece), to a number of Udons, Donburis and a large selection of Bento Boxes. We each ordered a Bento - Marianne had the California Roll and Spiced Tuna, I ordered the Sukiyaki. Both came with Tea, Miso Soup, Salad and a Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura portion in addition to the aforementioned Mains. All I can say is that if the quality of our lunch is the baseline for the other items on their menu, this is now our go-to spot for Japanese in South Arlington. 

They don't have an active social media profile, or a website yet. Here's hoping they can grow thru word of mouth - I want to be able to come back often.

TSchaad

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On 1/22/2018 at 8:53 AM, arlingtonkabob said:

Has anyone been to the new sushi place called Takohachi on the pike in Arlington? $1 nigiri seems to be drawing people in at the moment

We went there last night and had the $1 nigiri. I thought it was really good, particularly the yellowtail. It isn't Sushi Ogawa, but it is a great neighborhood spot. I plan to go back often.

On 12/23/2017 at 5:29 PM, TSchaad said:

Don - Still no license. As with almost all permitting in Arlington, this is another work in progress.

They have their license now. We enjoyed sake and beer with our $1 nigiri last night.

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Takohachi for the second time tonight.

The one thing everyone needs to know is that Takohachi is this generation's Kotobuki: They have $1.00 nigiri all day long, and not just a limited selection - most everything on their nigiri list is a buck a piece. And let me tell you: Both the fish, and the sushi rice, are better than anything Kotobuki ever had - and don't forget, this is ten years later.

Now the lesser news: On my second visit tonight, it was pretty crowded - word is getting out - and the sheer size of the nigiri was notably smaller than it was on my previous visit (it was also better). You can't make money on dollar sushi, so instead of raising prices, they're doing it by slicing their fish razor thin, and serving it with awfully good sushi rice. I talked with the sushi chef tonight, and he worked at Sushi Yoshi in Vienna, but this is better than Yoshi has ever been.

Off the top of my head, tonight I had hotate, hamachi, hamachi belly, tako, maguro, chu-toro (only seven slices remained), aji, sake belly, and both shiitake and oshinko maki. Order any of the Hakushika sakes (preferably Extra Dry or Junmai Ginjo, in the $13-15 range for a .375 bottle).

Dessert was impressive for $3.50: Paratha (yes, the Indian Paratha), topped with fresh whipped cream (and a pipped grape!), served alongside green-tea custard with freshly ground red-bean paste - it sounds busy, but if you mixed it all together, it was delightful - and inexpensive!

Go here - you may grouse about the portion sizes now that they're getting busy and popular, but you will not regret it. There is no need for any Virginia resident ever to go to Kotobuki again.

I should also mention to be careful about their uni - the uni I had on my previous visit was truly bad, as the turnover probably isn't what it needs to be (yet) - I was sitting right in front of it today, and it didn't look particularly compelling. I also strongly disliked the ankimo on my first visit, and steered clear of it tonight. Sit at the sushi bar, order what looks good, and ask the sushi chefs for recommendations (ours recommended the chu-toro, and it was pretty darned good).

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

Takohachi for the second time tonight.

The one thing everyone needs to know is that Takohachi is this generation's Kotobuki: They have $1.00 nigiri all day long, and not just a limited selection - most everything on their nigiri list is a buck a piece. And let me tell you: Both the fish, and the sushi rice, are better than anything Kotobuki ever had - and don't forget, this is ten years later.

Now the lesser news: On my second visit tonight, it was pretty crowded - word is getting out - and the sheer size of the nigiri was notably smaller than it was on my previous visit (it was also better). You can't make money on dollar sushi, so instead of raising prices, they're doing it by slicing their fish razor thin, and serving it with awfully good sushi rice. I talked with the sushi chef tonight, and he worked at Sushi Yoshi in Vienna, but this is better than Yoshi has ever been.

Off the top of my head, tonight I had hotate, hamachi, hamachi belly, tako, maguro, chu-toro (only seven slices remained), aji, sake belly, and both shiitake and oshinko maki. Order any of the Hakushika sakes (preferably Extra Dry or Junmai Ginjo, in the $13-15 range for a .375 bottle).

Dessert was impressive for $3.50: Paratha (yes, the Indian Paratha), topped with fresh whipped cream (and a pipped grape!), served alongside green-tea custard with freshly ground red-bean paste - it sounds busy, but if you mixed it all together, it was delightful - and inexpensive!

Go here - you may grouse about the portion sizes now that they're getting busy and popular, but you will not regret it. There is no need for any Virginia resident ever to go to Kotobuki again.

I should also mention to be careful about their uni - the uni I had on my previous visit was truly bad, as the turnover probably isn't what it needs to be (yet) - I was sitting right in front of it today, and it didn't look particularly compelling. I also strongly disliked the ankimo on my first visit, and steered clear of it tonight. Sit at the sushi bar, order what looks good, and ask the sushi chefs for recommendations (ours recommended the chu-toro, and it was pretty darned good).

Smaller pieces of fish is a good thing--the nigiri should be consumed, with comfort, in a single bite.

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Completely agree about this place. Fiance went there solo a few weeks after we got back from Japan and it was the first time and unlike the last few sushi attempts after that trip, she said "This place wasn't that bad." I went last week and was stunned at the value. Plus, the non-sushi items are REALLY good. I had a grilled whole sardine for $2. They also had takoyaki (octopus balls) and it had the same creamy texture that you get at a fair or on the street in Japan. The rice was solid (I think that's what makes average sushi fish taste really good). Plus some beers, and the damage was about $30. Even if they raise the price to $2, it's a very good value and probably the best in area.

sardine1.jpg

octopus.jpg

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Went again yesterday... fiance is very friendly with the chef at the sushi bar (hmmm...). He gave us some yellowtail sashimi gratis. She got the shoyu ramen, which she said was very good for a non-ramen house. I got more nigiri (yellow tail, horse mackeral - just panicked and googled it to make sure it wasn't horse, salmon, sweet shrimp, couple other pieces, but I'm not about to try uni for $1), that grilled sardine, a roast pork rice bowl ($4 - this is really good!), salmon unagiri, and the only miss of the evening - chicken kara age. It was burnt tasting. I like it crispy, but too much in this case. $48 pre tip with a glass of wine and a small beer. Stuffed. 

The waiter and the chef are from Chiang Mai. We find ourselves speaking our terrible Thai at a sushi place, and that makes us laugh. I think the owner is Japanese, but most of the staff are not. 

New go to - has so much that I like. It has a very izakaya-like menu (minus the intense cigarette smoking), and I suspect that's what the owner wants to push - there are usually a few specials that are worth getting (yesterday was the sardine, yuna tartare and a beef miso skewer). They have some yakitori, as well. I think maybe the sushi is a loss leader, and as the place matures the small plates will be the reason to go there.

(It's funny that sushi is now conventional and safe)

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54 minutes ago, Simul Parikh said:

but I'm not about to try uni for $1

That uni is the exact same uni you get at most sushi restaurants: the one they scrape off those wooden bars (I'm pretty sure it's from the Pacific Northwest, although I'm not certain if that little wooden crate is just a standard shipping box for the entire industry.) The fact that it's $1 is a *good* thing, because it's an incentive for turnover; the fact that it's in uni-phobic South Arlington is probably what contributed to its aging when I had it. I know I've said this before, but bad uni is the worst thing in the world - you can literally taste it a couple of days later.

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Eh. Disagree. Have had it all over the DMV (even at the so called 'top' places) and in other cities. The only places that I've enjoyed it is Oahu and Sapporo.

Oh, also, this place offers to sub out the crap powder wasabi for real wasabi for $1 ... note that if you haven't had real wasabi, it is not nearly as spicy/pungent as the real stuff, so you won't get that nose burn/sinus clearing that you may or may not want. 

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21 minutes ago, Simul Parikh said:

Eh. Disagree. Have had it all over the DMV (even at the so called 'top' places) and in other cities. The only places that I've enjoyed it is Oahu and Sapporo.

Oh, also, this place offers to sub out the crap powder wasabi for real wasabi for $1 ... note that if you haven't had real wasabi, it is not nearly as spicy/pungent as the real stuff, so you won't get that nose burn/sinus clearing that you may or may not want. 

I'm glad you've mentioned the Takoyaki, the Sardine, and the Fresh Wasabi. Wasabi is shaped like a torpedo cigar (or the Doomsday Machine on Star Trek - I'm exaggerating, but it seems to have a slight flare in its shape): If they grate the fat (greener) end - which I think is where its leaves sprout - it's mild; if they turn it around and grate the thin (whiter) end - which I assume grows into the ground - it's nose-busting!

(Try the uni at Ogawa, Capitol, Ko, Seki, Taro, Takumi - you won't regret it. I've had whole sea urchins that you need to cut open with either scissors or a *very* sharp hunting knife, and that's a whole 'nother experience.)

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On 3/20/2018 at 10:05 AM, DonRocks said:

I've had whole sea urchins that you need to cut open with either scissors or a *very* sharp hunting knife, and that's a whole 'nother experience.)

You took me back to San Francisco where there was a little stand by the Pier they made uni ceviche right in the shell. -_- It was so good I can't put it in words

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I went to Takohashi about a week ago, and for the first time, sat at a table instead of the sushi bar.

People have complained about the slow service here, and I'd never experienced it - before now: The service was pretty lousy. Not unfriendly; just lousy - we had finished an entire half-bottle of sake before our sushi order arrived, for example, and we weren't drinking very fast.

One other thing of note: This is the only credible sushi I can remember that has *no* wasabi on it - each piece is like a self-service gas pump.

I had called Takohashi "this decade's Kotobuki" and in many ways, it is, but you also tend to get what you pay for, and dollar sushi is a dicey proposition in the best of circumstances. Still, wasabi aside, this is about as good as cheap sushi gets, and they have .300 ml bottles of Hakushika Junmai Ginjo sake (this is a good choice) for something like  $15.

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I ordered takeout from Takohachi tonight. Is it the best nigiri I have ever had? No. Is it the best 27 pieces of nigiri I have had for only $27? Absolutely!  As was the case on previous visits, the white fish and salmon are delicious. The tuna tonight is pretty bland. It has been better, but not great, on previous visits. Overall, a tasty, affordable meal to enjoy while I watch basketball.

Service is an ongoing problem, even with takeout.

IMG_4993.jpg

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1 hour ago, DIShGo said:

Sorry for the late reply. My go-to for inexpensive, no-frills takeout sushi in Arlington is Takohachi. It is conveniently located in South Arlington near me, has ample parking, and offers decent nigiri for a buck a piece.

Things here that have tended to be decent have been the scallops, flounder, salmon belly, and yellowtail belly.

Also, you can enjoy the Boston Market sign in the same shopping center: They temporarily covered it up, and it says, "Baby Shark Market."

(You can also opt for Thai Square, which is just a couple stores down.)

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With the imminent teardown of the old strip mall at Colombia Pike and Glebe, Marianne and I were dreading the loss of Takohachi as our go-to neighborhood Japanese restaurant. We stopped by for lunch the other day (really enjoy the bento box lunches) and a poster in the window said they were closing the space on July 3rd. 

The good news in that same posting announced they had finally found a new location on the Pike. It looks like they are moving into the restaurant space under the Penrose Square Apartment complex. They hope to open there some time in September.

Looking forward to seeing what they do with that space. 

 

TSchaad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just a short update on Takohachi's move to their new space in Penrose Square. Stopped by to see construction underway. Was told that Tacohachi will only use half of the space occupied by Joshiphina's. The other half is still available for lease (signs in the windows). Looking forward to the second half of september (bento boxes!).

TSchaad

 

 

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