Last month Mat and I went to Fairfax, Virginia to see Mastodon, Deftones, and Alice in Chains in concert. (It was awesome, by the way.) While there, I wanted to try every restaurant. Unfortunately, we were only there for a weekend, and there are a lot of restaurants in Fairfax and Washington, DC, so we only got to sample a few. One of those restaurants was Todai, a sushi buffet located in the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax.
When doing my research about this restaurant, I discovered that it’s not a very large chain at all. They are a smattering over locations in the United States and some in Asia, but compared to other major chains, Todai is not a big league player. This made me even more curious, as large chains often lose something, whether it be presentation, flavor, or uniqueness, in the pursuit of cost cutting and attempts to make it palatable to everyone. I asked Mat if we could go (since he is the driver and all) and he said we’d go before we left town.
So, after packing up and checking out of our hotel, we drove over to the Fair Oaks Mall and headed into Todai. It’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be. It’s a oblong room with the buffets against the back wall. It’s impressive though. Along with sushi and sashimi, Todai also boasts a dessert island, a salad section, a soup section, and a hot food section. We were seated and our server took our drink order, and we were free to go.
I picked out some hot food and some sushi my first go around. I must say, my first plate of food was rather scrumptious. My gyoza were still nice and hot, and the dipping sauce provided complimented it very well. The sushi I had picked up from the extensive choices laid out was still firm and tasty. The rice was still fluffy, not hard from having been laying out for too long. And the sushi does go fast, which is quickly replaced. Behind the buffet were four sushi chefs hard at work.
I tried a little bit of mostly everything, with a few exceptions (such as rolls with cream cheese, as I don’t much enjoy sushi with cream cheese). I sipped some very tasty miso soup while I did. I quickly got stuffed on tasty sushi.
I did run into a minor problem, which is no fault of Todai’s. In my effort to try something new, I picked up some nigiri sushi of a variety I had not tried before. I took a bite, and it did not agree with me at all. My stomach lurched, and I discretely spit the sushi into a napkin, then drank a ton of water. It was enough to cause my body to completely revolt, and I could not fathom eating more. I’ve never had anything like it happen, and I can’t remember what it was that I ate that caused this, but again, this is not fault of Todai, rather just my reaction.
The bill for lunch on a Monday was very reasonable. Considering, between us, we sampled pretty much every roll, and plenty of the hot food, and our comparable bill in a made-to-order sushi restaurant would have been considerably more. The dinner prices are stiff, though, so if you can make it to lunch I recommend it.
If, for some reason, I was in Fairfax again, I would not hesitate to go back to Todai’s. The service was great, and food was good, and the layout was well done. I’d love to go back sometime.