Saturday, March 3, 2012


Todai, which translates to "Light House" in Japanese, is an upscale Japanese Seafood Buffet Restaurant. Todai offers quality food and services at an affordable price paralleled with taste, quality, and variety.  Hailing from Southern California, the closest Todai in the DMV area is located in Fairfax, Virginia.

A 160-foot seafood buffet counter predominantly makes the space, with over 35 different kinds of sushi, hand rolls to order, salads, and fresh seasonal fruits. In addition, there is a hot food line that features beef, chicken, and pork items as well as Asian themed soups and a Japanese noodle corner. Finally, there is a delicious dessert bar which features various French style pastries/cakes/cookies and homemade crepe section where you choose the fruit and sauce toppings. Lunch ranges from $16.95 to $18.95 (weekends) and Dinner from $26.95 to $28.95 (Fri-Sun).

Keith and I went to Todai with my parents for lunch to celebrate our birthdays.  Located in the Fair Oaks Mall, the restaurant is a little hidden from the street view as it is between Macy's and JC Penney's on the lower level near the parking garage.  We were seated right away and one of the many young college aged servers took our drink orders and explained we could help ourselves to the buffet lines.  Keith and my father took a tour around to scope out all the options first, while my mother and I stayed behind.  The cafeteria style set up was simple with sushi on the left and hot food items on the far right with salad and noodles in the center back and dessert in the front center. Keith started with miso soup whereas I hit up the sushi line first.  Several chefs are behind the line constantly rolling new pieces and refilling the plates.  To our delight, there was a nice selection of various traditional and hot sushi, as well as nigiri pieces.  Disappointingly, they only used imitation crab meat in each roll, but I suppose that is to be expected for a buffet restaurant.  Next, I attacked the hot food items and selected a bit of noodles, teriyaki chicken, mussels, fish, and vegetable tempura.  The fish was nicely baked, yet a bit too spicy for my palate.  My mother grabbed a mixed plate of her own with shabu shabu, octopus, Korean boneless short ribs, and a bowl of Japanese udon.  I tasted her udon and it was delicious!  I would have grabbed a bowl of the udon for myself, but I knew there were too many other items to try.  Keith and my father loaded up with fried rice, spicy cashew chicken, and other goodies of their own.

Finally, I conquered the dessert area.  There was a "crepe guy" who made them fresh to order, so I got one of those first.  The filling choices were blueberry, strawberry, banana, and sweet cream.  I got a combination of all four and while the crepe itself was delicate and nice, the filling was too sweet akin to canned pie filling.  I would have preferred fresh fruit instead.  I also picked out a few of the cakes to try.  In perfect tiny square bites, the cakes are small enough to sample a couple of each.  Ice cream and sorbet were also available.  All in all, the food was decent - nothing that fancy, but better than a typical buffet.  We were stuffed when we left and commented how dining at Todai is not an everyday kind of experience, since there is just so much food and the location is a little out of the way for us.  Nevertheless, it was fun to try and a great spot to go for large groups and celebrations.

Total Rating: 3.375
Food: 3.5, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 2, Accessibility: 3

What I ate:

Various Sushi
California Roll, Philly Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, BBQ Eel, Maki Tuna

Hot Food
vegetable tempura, yakisoba noodles, teriyaki chicken, seafood gyoza,
crab Louis salad, baked mussels, crab rangoon, baked white fish

mango sorbet, crepe, fruit tart,
mango cake, chocolate cheesecake, coconut cake

Plus others ate:

Hot Food
Korean boneless short ribs, shabu shabu,
salmon, octopus, mussels

chicken wings, baked mussels,
seafood gyoza, crab rangoon, dim sum dumplings


cheesecake, red bean ice cream, melon, coconut flan,
tiramisu, grapes, crepe, strawberry

    Todai on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. We used to have one of these close to us. So good and affordable if you are trying to engorge yourself with sushi and other goodies!!!


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