Happy Teriyaki #4

25 Dec
We hit Teriyaki #4 (twice) for what may be the best endless sushi in Tacoma, and definitely the sexiest. 

Our first restaurant visit by request, we hadn’t even considered visiting Teriyaki #4 before a tweet convinced us otherwise. A bit isolated from the rest of downtown, Teriyaki #4 sits on 22nd and Pacific Ave, a location that – assuming you are a large carbon-footprinted commuter like us – requires you to overshoot the address by two blocks, dodge the link, make a U-turn and return to some free parking in the rear. That alone is certainly enough to ward off the laziest of us, but we were more deterred by the name and pop art posters of glazed chicken and bubble tea plastered on the store windows.  Thinking it would be decent to good teriyaki and a short menu of run-of-the-mill sushi, we were pleasantly surprised by the classy decor and lengthy inventive menu where for a mere $14.99 (after 3:00 it’s $17.99) you have unfettered access to the full roll menu and a considerable sampling of nigiri.

Enough to warrant two trips, a gazillion photos, and a couple busted guts.

Happy Teriyaki #4

Despite all logical assumptions Teriyaki #4 isn’t the fourth in a long line of teriyaki joints littered throughout the Pacific Northwest. The restaurant used to be one of many joyous teriyaki joints littered throughout the Pacific Northwest, but some time ago the franchise was disassembled and sold off one by one to independent restauranteurs who through either fear of losing public foothold or pure laziness, chose to keep the misleading moniker and start serving kickass sushi in addition to teriyaki. In other words, if you had a bad experience at Happy Teriyaki #9, don’t make assumptions about #4. That would only make you an ass.

Happy Teriyaki #4 seems engineered for lunch patrons. There is a large reader board above the front counter and service is quick. The lunch specials are good and the place seems to have a big midday following. The interior and seated experience is however far classier than most lunchtime dine-and-dasheries. At every table is a box of reusable chopsticks, the typical condiments, and self-serve containers of wasabi and ginger – perfect for a ginger hog like myself.

Prelude to each meal is miso soup and a lovely little assortment of edamame, lightly dressed greens, and some vinegar cucumber dish that Adam couldn’t stop talking about. Japanese crack.

FYI – next time you have a hangover get some miso. I had no idea the curative properties of miso until this day.

The roll menu is unique to say the least. Many of the titles leave you raising an eyebrow, such as the “Tastes Like My Ex Wife Roll” and the “69 Roll.” It’s easy to assume there is a translation issue, but once the “John Holmes Roll” comes to your table, enormous and upright, you finally come to grips with reality. This is one perverted sushi chef. I love it.

This post is long, and full of many of the colorful and interesting offerings from Teriyaki #4. We’ve done our best to catalogue one of the more interesting and wallet-friendly sushi places in town, hopefully it will arouse your interest.

Visit #1

Adam: Bento

Bento Box

An impressive assortment of teriyaki, nigiri, salad, roll, and pot stickers. A ton of food for the money, as a lunch bento box should be. This wreaked havoc on Adam’s diet.

Derrick: Endless sushi

Unagi and Albacore Nigiri

The inclusion of nigiri in the endless lunch makes it an absolute killer deal. Even the lightest eaters can get their money’s worth taking this route, as some of the rolls can be a bit filling. The only downside may be the phenomenon of the incredible shrinking fish. The photo above is my first order of nigiri: generous portions, good cuts of fish. the following is a picture of my fourth or fifth order.

Disappearing fish phenomenon.

Notice anything unusual?

Ah well, you can’t fault the chef too much. I am kind of a gluttonous bastard. But, it is interesting to note that you can apparently be penalized for any food left on your plate. This makes sense to a certain degree. I mean, it would be lame for somebody to strip the fish and leave the rice, but it’s equally lame to get a razor thin piece of fish on a mountain of rice with the rule that you eat it or be sent to the gallows.

Perhaps the lesson here is get your nigiri in moderation. The rolls are fabulous anyways.

Red Ice Roll

The Red Ice Roll with spicy tuna and fresh red snapper. Simple and tasty. A good choice for those who like lots of fish and don’t want to be too full after only one roll.

69 Roll...yes, it's what you are thinking

The 69 roll. Our first foray into suggestive food was definitely on the light side. The sweet crab was nicely offset with salty roe, and the sauce was light enough to not stomp on the toes of the scallops or shrimp tempura. The little splayed cucumber legs were a nice touch.

Visit #2

We were all ready to write our post when HT#4 tweeted a bunch of pictures of some amazing looking rolls. We felt obliged to make a return trip. After all, what kind of hacks would we be if we didn’t show the best the place had to offer? So…we made the trek a second time, with empty bellies and loads of chutzpah. We showed up post-lunch rush and hit the endless lunch full force. Rolls only.

Kiss of Fire Roll

Nice and hot! The spicy tuna base was given some body with cucumber and fresh tuna on top. The spicy tuna here is a bit warmer than other spots. Something we enjoyed, but for those less adventurous out there, take caution.

Vegas Roll

Spicy salmon towers perched atop tempura rolls. We don’t know for sure, but we think the inspiration behind this was more the scantily clad performers of vegas rather than say…two Stratospheres side by side. The spicy salmon made for some tasty pasties.

Spider Roll

The visually striking Spider Roll is a crab bomb. Savory and sweet, this is great paired with loads of wasabi and ginger. The cream and chili sauces in the middle are on many of the rolls, although rarely as neat looking.

Lion King Roll

When you go to HT#4 look for Tim. This is his favorite roll. It’s a crab, avocado and cucumber roll topped with spicy crab and baked cheese. Massive and sweet. It was too hard to dip this in the wasabi soy mix, so I found myself instead dunking slices of ginger to chase each bite.

Tastes Like My Ex Wife Roll

……yeah…..I guess his wife was crabby and had some attitude. Spicy tuna and crab. The scallions on top were a nice touch. Not sure what that says about his ex wife though.

a half-decimated John Holmes Roll


For those more sheltered individuals please read about John Holmes here. Needless to say, it was huge. The special sauce was a nice touch. Ha!

The Wrap

As much as we like the TwoKoi endless roll, HT#4 has got ‘em beat. These rolls are just as unique, the price is better, and the nigiri just puts it over the top. I’m already planning my next visit, and I’m certain I’ll have to take a few friends to stay in their good graces.

We went twice and barely scraped the surface of this place. Click here to see the roll menu for yourself. Just look out for that disappearing fish.


As always, mention us and get….nothing! Just some pornographic sushi at regular prices.

Happy Teriyaki #4
2223 Pacific Avenue  Tacoma, WA 98402-3005
(253) 272-1544

Happy Teriyaki #4 on Urbanspoon

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