I had the pleasure of joining five friends for a celebration lunch a little while back. We chose to meet at Tabi-ji, a Japanese bistro tucked in the corner of the small shopping center at 665 N. Tustin, just north of Walnut in Orange.

Tabi-ji offers something for everyone. Sushi is a favorite, as are tempura, teriyaki, yakitori and sashimi – all mouthwatering, and fresh as can be. The teppan table is a very good choice, particularly for a group of six or eight. It lends itself to camaraderie, conversation and the added enjoyment of watching the clever antics of your personal chef. Carlos was our host that day, and he did not disappoint.  He thoroughly entertained us as he wielded sharp knives, tossed eggs in the air, set things on fire and produced our selections of steak, shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, zucchini and a mountain of fried rice. As his name would indicate, Carlos is not an Asian native, but he had learned well at the side of master chefs at one of the well-known teppan restaurants, and his personality matched his culinary skills. We all dined with great enthusiasm.

Tabi-ji offers beers, wine, cocktails and, as one would expect, a fine selection of sake. It will prepare take-out orders and provide catering for special events. Prices are reasonable, with an average entree at around $15 per person. Lunch specials are slightly less.  You won’t go home hungry!

Open seven days a week, the hours vary slightly: Mon/Thurs, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., and again at 5 – 9:30 p.m.; Friday, the same, but open until 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, closed for lunch, but open for dinner from 5 – 10 p.m. on Saturday, and until 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. Call (714) 633-6000 for reservations.

You’ll have a great meal whether you sit at the teppan table or opt for other Japanese choices. Remember to tell them that the Foothills Sentry sent you.

February 2018