Common abbreviation for "Tokyo Daigaku" (University of Tokyo), former Imperial University of Tokyo, and the most renowned university of Japan. If you graduate from there, all doors are open to you.

A large percentage of the members of the nation's parliament, government and megacorporation CEOs come from there.

Todai is also the name of a chain of Japanese buffet style restaurants. The premises sounds something like Old Country Buffet meets Conveyer Belt Sushi but in practice it is well worth the price of admission. They bill themselves as an “upscale all-you-can-eat Japanese Seafood Buffet” and they are not far from the truth.

The price of admission is around 12.95$ for lunch and 28.95$ for dinner. What you are entitled to is an all you can eat frenzy of fairly fresh sushi, tempura, hot dishes mostly of the fried or baked variety, fruits, hand maid crepes and for the dinner price lobster and crab.

The sushi runs the gamut form bland to great. It all depends on when your getting it. Always watch the army of knife wielding Iron Chef wanabes behind the counter. When a new tray goes out, pounce. The hot foods tend to be on the over saucy side. For the price I am not expecting 5 star finesse nor am I expecting chop suey slop. The reality is somewhere in between with a gentle wavering towards the better. The thing is its all you can eat, so load up on the good stuff and leave the dregs to the tourists.

This is a great place to take people who still have not tried sushi. They can get more traditional dishes and you can slide them a piece or two of your Philadelphia roll to start their addiction.

Some tidbits I picked up about Todai on my many visits...

  • Todai mean "Light House" in Japanese,
  • Uni is only served at dinner time
  • The first Todai opened in California around 1985
  • The crepes can have more than one filling, just ask them.
  • They are open 365 days a year
  • The cute Todai mascot makes a cool gift for the kiddies
  • They now have 14 restaurants in the chain
  • Knives and forks are available as well as chop sticks.
  • Each restaurant averages about 1000 customers a day.

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