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Comment Archives: Locations: Dining: Japanese

Re: “Shoya Izakaya

Ate here for the first time tonight and I thought it was great! Salmon Sashimi and Tuna Tartare were yummy. Service was fast.

And to Princess111: That is the most ridiculous review I have ever read. How embarrassing. Please don't ever go out to eat at a decent restaurant again. If you cannot afford to tip (at least 20%) then you cannot afford to go out to eat.

Posted by Ag85 on 01/26/2016 at 7:39 PM

Re: “Himitsu

Fuyuhiko Ito and Lisa Matsuoka Ito must be laughing all the way to the bank. Umi is a great sushi restaurant but what's up with their prices. They've made so much money that they are already opening another venue? Reservation only cocktail bar? Ridiculous, never would I make a reservation to meet friends for cocktails. I have a life, a busy life!

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Donna Brown on 01/11/2016 at 9:20 PM

Re: “Shoya Izakaya

This place is always great! You have to try the Mountain root salad and the Okonomi Yaki!

If you are looking for authentic Japanese or a place that isn't just sushi, this is it!

They also have a large collection of imported Japanese beer. I dont know much about Japanese beer, but I've been with friends that do and they were impressed.

Posted by sidusnare on 06/05/2015 at 1:20 PM

Re: “Shoya Izakaya

The previous commenter sounds like an asshole who should have gone to McD's.

Shoya Izakaya is phenomenal. The menu is enormous and filled with all kinds of Japanese foods you rarely see elsewhere, as evidenced by the large Japanese crowd.

Ramen, sushi, yakitori, takoyaki, and all manner of delicious snacks are available and I have yet to be disappointed by any of them. You can close your eyes, drop your finger on the menu, and are sure to find something amazing you most likely have never tried before.

It's not cheap, but worth the cost. Hard to get out for under $100 for two people unless you just have a bowl of ramen or something ($10).

Only open for dinner and waits can be fairly long after 6:00. Call ahead.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by smitty on 01/05/2015 at 10:23 AM

Re: “Steel Restaurant and Lounge

This was one of the best restaurant experiences I have had in quite a while! The food was excellent, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and the manager was oh so gracious. This was my first trip to Atlanta and I owe my cousins big for introducing me to Steel. I'm planning my next trip to Atlanta and Steel is definitely on the menu!

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by hmh on 01/01/2015 at 5:54 PM

Re: “Endive Publik House

Great concept! Fancy, fine dining without the fancy, fine dining price. A lovely retreat from the fast paced hustle of the city, providing a relaxingly stimulating atmosphere. Every dish is deliciously sweet, offering a new rustic fusion feel that leaves you completely satisfied, without feeling overstuffed. The staff at Endive Publik House are all so talented, kind, and accomodating. It's the perfect place to bring the office crowd, or friends and family. I simply love this place! It is such a delightful dining experience that I would like to share with everyone I know.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by OwenComeaux on 07/03/2014 at 7:00 AM

Re: “Shoya Izakaya

I've come to this place three times so far. The third time will certainly be my last. I should've know something was wrong when upon leaving the second time the server came running out. He asked me why i didn't leave a tip and i told him it was simply because i didn't have enough money.

The third time i came and ate and when i left i was confronted by the same server asking why i didn't leave a tip. I explain that i forgot and as i was about to dig up a tip for him he got an unnecessary attitude. He started to speak of how he remembered me from before and that if the service was good i should've left a tip. He spoke of how they only make $3 working there. Then he went even further to say that he didn't think it APPROPRIATE of me to not leave a tip.

As i stated before i planned on giving him a tip. But once he said all that the tip went out the window, I explained to him that i didn't think it APPROPRIATE of him to come towards me in that manner. I'm a minor and he is a full adult towering several feet taller than me and with the way he presented himself was uncalled for. As i said i am a minor with no job so i don't make alot of money and i went here for a special treat for my birthday. If i didn't have money i just didn't and there's nothing i can do.

I also told him that in other restaurants its recommended you tip but it is not mandatory so if i don't have money or if i just don't want to i don't have to. Upon this he stormed of and threw the server wallet on the register. I thought it was very immature behavior and asked to speak to the owner. The elderly woman behind the register claimed he was out of town but asked me to tell her my problem.

I explained it to her and she basically told me the same thing and even said she understood why he got that way. I told her there was no reason and upon explaining my reason I told her that if that was the attitude i was to receive i wouldn't come back. I told her for the way he behaved i deserved an apology for an apology she said"No , i don't think so." and went on to say if i don't have money for a tip i shouldn't come here.

I left and spoke with my mother who spoke to them. Upon seeing her their whole attitude changed.They directing her to the owner (liars!) who apologized for his employees behavior. Then upon seeing my mother the employee suddenly appeared and was falsely apologetic. My mother explained that as a minor he had no right speaking to me the way he did. If he had a problem he should be speaking to my date and not a small, younger, female. My mother explain i would not be coming back.
This place seemed like a wonderful place but now i see it is full of rude workers with bad manners. I am not coming back and would advise you to do the same.
Over all this was a terrible experience and i would not recommend coming if you don't want to get picked on.

0 likes, 34 dislikes
Posted by princess111 on 06/15/2014 at 12:47 PM

Re: “East Atlanta Thai & Sushi

I JUST had the WORST experience!

I walked into this establishment despite my FIRST encounter to order the dish I had previously because DESPITE the poor customer service, the food was delicious. I was directed to the bar by a charming hostess and that's where the "good" ends.

I preceded to glance over the menu searching for what I had previously ordered, the bartender asked "what she could do for me" I informed her I wanted to place an order to go....

20 mins elasped before she returned. I attempted to explain to her the dish I wanted and she informed me that option wasn't available, apologized she couldn't help me AND WALKED OFF. I ignored this, and decided to try something else.

The blonde bartender precedes to send her "manager" over to take my order, because I was frustrating I guess. He doesn't greet me or asks how he can help... he simply asks in BROKEN ENGLISH "you order or NOT??"

Once I place my order... I seriously considered NOT waiting... but decided to pay for my food and NOT return! WHAT A MISTAKE!!??

They bring my food out, much to the outrage of the customer beside me who had been waiting 45 mins prior to my arrival.... BUT THIS STORY ISN'T OVER!!!

The blonde bartender returns with a handwritten receipt and asks for my I.D. and informs me they have to "write all of my information down because the computer system was down."

I told her I wasn't comfortable with my debit card number being written to which she sharply asks "well, you got cash".... when I replied No.... she snatched the hand written receipt from my hand, snatched the food, rolled her eyes AND WALKED AWAY.

Keep this in mind: there is an ATM down the street.... I could've gotten cash from there... I also should have been notified this was the plan PRIOR to MY ORDER BEING TAKEN!!

The disgusting attitude and behavior of the STAFF is incredibly poor and I'll DRIVE to North Druid Hills for Top Spice before I EVER STEP FOOT IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT AGAIN!!!!!!!

Not to mention, I'm not sure,... but I THINK they wrote down my card info ANYWAY... and God help them IF THEY DID! I plan on contacting VISA as soon as I write this REVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

decent FOOD, disgusting SERVICE!

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by christy.clark.501 on 10/08/2013 at 8:49 PM

Re: “Ru-San's

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Zachary Standridge on 08/19/2013 at 7:39 PM

Re: “Taka Sushi Cafe

Reservation made for 7:30. Arrived and checked in at 7:35 to find that I had a 45 minute wait. What's the purpose of reservations? Very disrespectful to their customers as I heard others waiting outside saying similar words. It is good but not nearly worth the wait. There other Japanese restaurants of equal quality close enough to Buckhead who respect what a reservation is all about.
Takayuki Manabe

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Manabe on 06/13/2013 at 8:43 AM

Re: “Taka Sushi Cafe

Best sushi in Atlanta.

Posted by Cat_Atl on 03/04/2013 at 2:41 PM

Re: “MF Buckhead

This place closed November 10, 2011....over a year ago. Why is it on the "most viewed" list?…

Posted by Lee Lanier on 12/09/2012 at 1:04 PM

Re: “Nakato

My wife and I have had dinner at Nakato about a dozen times over the last six months. Inevitably, we sit at the sushi bar and have head chef Yoshiharu “Kaki” Kakinuma serve us omakase-style, choosing our dishes for us. Having tried just about all of the top-tier sushi places in Atlanta, I can confidently say that Kaki prepares the best sushi in the city, hands down. Moreover, Kaki is changing the expectation of what fine Japanese dining in Atlanta is all about, proving that simple, elegant preparation can be every bit as sublime as the fussy creations of his competitors.

Nakato, which is celebrating 40 years as a family owned Atlanta restaurant, has two distinct personalities. Walking in, you’ll see that on one side, there is a lively hibachi service. This area often hosts large groups (e.g. high school proms, birthdays, etc) and looks like lots of fun, though I’ve never eaten there. Most of the community reviews of Nakato are talking about this side of the restaurant.

Then there’s the sushi side, which has quiet tableside service overlooking a beautiful garden, as well as a sushi bar and several private back rooms that can be booked for an even more traditional experience. The hibachi and sushi sides really are two different restaurants (in fact, they have separate bookings on OpenTable) and if you’ve only tried the hibachi, I’d absolutely recommend another trip to try the other end of things. One testament to the quality of the sushi service is that during the week, about a third of the guests in that half of the restaurant are Japanese.

Kaki was trained in Tokyo by Masahiro Yoshitake, of Sushi Yoshitake, which was awarded three Michelin stars in 2012. Kaki learned his craft from a true master, and it shows. He also has great relationships with suppliers at fish markets in Tokyo and around the world. Each week, he has unique offerings flown in, and this is the main reason why I’d strongly recommend letting Kaki handle the ordering (omakase) if you’re sitting at the sushi bar. That being said, Kaki is not a “sushi Nazi”. He wants to know what you like, and if you want a California roll with extra mayo, he’ll happily make one for you.

But if you’re smart, you’ll keep an open mind and just let Kaki do his thing. And Kaki’s specialty is fish, served simply and beautifully. I’ll describe the courses served during our most recent visit, but a few elements are common to every meal that are worth discussing.

First, the rice. Good rice, served at the right temperature, formed into just the right portion and density, is every bit as important as the quality of the fish when it comes to good sushi. Kaki seems to agree, and the rice served with his nigiri courses really melts in your mouth; it’s just firm enough so that it doesn’t fall apart. I once asked Kaki about his philosophy on rice, and he explained that proper rice preparation can allow a diner to eat twice as much sushi without feeling any more full. He’s right. One thing worth mentioning is that because the rice is presented at just the right temperature, you need to eat each course right away. If you prefer, using your hands instead of chopsticks is totally acceptable.

Second, the seasoning. During an omakase meal at Nakato, you’ll add soy sauce to one or two of the dozen or so courses, at most. This is because Kaki carefully seasons almost every dish he serves, often using ingredients he makes himself. Examples include house-pickled ginger, eel sauce that’s reduced continuously for three weeks, rice-wine marinated ikura (salmon eggs) and of course, fresh-ground wasabi.

The real artistry is in the way Kaki combines these simple enhancers with the fish he serves. Kohada (gizzard shad, a type of herring) is marinated in a bit of salt and rice wine vinegar about 20 minutes before serving. Tai (sea bream) is served with freshly-ground sea salt and shiso leaf (a Japanese herb similar to mint, but with more depth). Chutoro (medium fatty tuna) is served with rice alone. In each case, the sushi is full of flavor, but the subtleties of the fish are permitted to come through. And if you’re ever in doubt about how to eat something or whether or not to add soy sauce, don’t hesitate to ask Kaki – he’s happy to help. Of course, you can also just do your own thing, because Kaki isn’t the type to judge you if you don’t eat things “correctly”.

During our most recent meal, we started with a serving of seared chutoro (medium fatty tuna) with scallion, served over a broth of soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic oil. The hint of garlic really enhanced the seared flavor, and the fish quality was outstanding.

Our second course was a sashimi platter with maguro (tuna), suzuki (striped bass), and more chutoro (medium fatty tuna) all complemented by a serving of chopped aji (Spanish mackerel) served with the whole mackerel decoratively wrapped around the chopped fish. The mackerel would make a second appearance later in the meal, when we were served the fried bones as a chip-like snack. Kaki provided a bit of freshly-made wasabi with the sashimi, and this was the only course of our meal where we used a splash of soy sauce.

Next up was our first hot course, a tempura of shishito pepper and ika (squid) seasoned with freshly ground sea salt and a bit of lemon.

After the tempura, we were served broiled kampachi (amberjack) cheek, which was moist, tender, and delicious. A bit of a challenge to eat with chopsticks, but worth the effort.

After that, it was on to nigiri, which has absolutely been the highlight of every experience I’ve had at Nakato. The courses were:

Tai (sea bream) with sea salt and shizo leaf
Suzuki (striped bass) brushed with house-made soy sauce
Kohada (gizzard shad) marinated in rice vinegar and salt
Aji (Spanish mackerel) with scallion
Kampachi (amber jack)
Striped solo with house-made soy sauce and house-pickled ginger
Chutoro (medium fatty tuna)
House-cured maguro (tuna) with shiso leaf and house-made soy sauce
Kinmedai (golden eye snapper)
Grilled anago (saltwater eel) with Kaki’s special 3-week eel-sauce reduction
Ikura (salmon egg) roll with shiso leaf and scallion

Each of these courses was absolutely excellent, with the gizzard shad, medium fatty tuna, golden eye snapper, and salmon egg roll standing out as particularly delicious. We ended the meal with some complimentary green tea, very full, and very happy.

It’s worth saying that Kaki knows us pretty well by this point. Since we love shiso, he tries to work that in for us a little more often than he might for other diners. Also, the medium fatty tuna was particularly good that night, and a favorite of ours anyway, so Kaki served it several times, in different configurations. The great thing about eating omakase at Nakato is that Kaki can take into account the best fish he has available, combined with your personal tastes, to create an unforgettable dining experience.

Such an experience isn’t cheap, at $50-80 per person before tax, tip, or drinks for the full-blown, no-holds-barred omakase service. However, compared to good sushi places in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York, Nakato is a downright bargain. And in Atlanta, there simply isn’t any other Japanese restaurant in the same league, at any price.

Is Nakato the best sushi I’ve ever had? No. That honor belongs to the kaiseki service at Urasawa in Los Angeles, where my wife and I lived until last year. But on his best nights, Kaki can go toe-to-toe with very good sushi places along the West Coast or in New York. Considering that sushi in those markets is an ultra-competitive arena with dozens of great local suppliers, the fact that Kaki has created such an amazing oasis of quality sushi here in Atlanta is all the more astounding.

In fact, when Nakato is just “really good” and not quite “incredible” it’s almost always because of supply issues. For example, Kaki makes an award-winning dish with sake and ankimo (monkfish liver). Good ankimo is extremely tough to find, and the two times I’ve had Kaki’s version, it was just okay. The only place I’ve consistently had good ankimo is at Ino Sushi in San Francisco, so it’s not Kaki’s fault – just part of the reality of serving fine sushi in Atlanta. Uni (sea urchin) is also hit or miss. Every time Kaki has served it, it’s been excellent, but during my 12 dinners at Nakato (which were mostly over the course of a winter, when uni is in season) Kaki felt the uni was worth serving during his omakase service just three times.

Some final words of advice. Fish is typically flown in on Thursday, so that’s the best night to go. Also, if you go on a Friday or Saturday night, it will be busy. If you opt for omakase on one of those nights and insist on being served at the sushi bar (as you should) expect to spend a lot of your time waiting. Kaki and his assistant are churning out sushi not just for guests at the bar, but also for two dining rooms. If things are really hectic, you might find that a few courses of sushi will be served simultaneously, which isn’t ideal.

These inconveniences are pretty minor, when you consider that if it weren’t for the high-volume business created by Nakato’s customers in the hibachi area, Kaki wouldn’t be able to serve the amazing sushi that he does; one restaurant effectively subsidizes the other. This turns out to be a happy arrangement for people who love great sushi, because even though it’s a bit expensive, I would guess that overall, Kaki’s omakase service is a money-loser for Nakato.

As I said before, Kaki is not just serving the best sushi in Atlanta – he’s revising this city’s definition of great sushi. For Kaki, innovation isn’t about building gargantuan rolls stuffed with “fusion” ingredients, or sprinkling truffle oil over toro and charging $40 for it (as the now-defunct MF Buckhead was fond of doing). Instead, Kaki is attempting to get back to the roots of traditional Japanese dining, and I get the sense that it’s a journey which is just beginning. I encourage anyone who loves Japanese food to help support this movement (and have an amazing meal, to boot) by visiting the sushi bar at Nakato as often as possible.

PS If you’re interested in learning more about the art of simple sushi, I’d highly recommend the recently-released independent film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. I was lucky enough to see this movie a week before its American release at the Midtown Arts Cinema in Atlanta, where Kaki gave a talk and answered questions after the screening. It was a neat opportunity to learn more about how Kaki thinks about his food, and a great experience.

Posted by Josh Bartel on 06/11/2012 at 12:29 PM

Re: “Ru-San's

October 2009 - I had been in Atlanta, GA for 3 months and never more fully in love with a city more than hometown Los Angeles, CA. I neared the end of my time there moving on to New Jersey soon, so one night instead of the fridge fixins at the hotel, I craved Sushi. I looked up my fav cuisine on the smart phone and Ru Sans stood out as best pick. Wow, the ambieance was like a 2am dive with lively after-hours crowds singing laughter to the night. The kitchen just behind the highchair counter at the sushi bar was a bussel with orders shouted and fish rolled upon seaweed and rice served in all the masterful elegance anyone would expect from fine dining. The savory scent of the rolls, soups and tempura filled the air and was the closure I needed that has become a sizable piece of the very eclectically mosaic kaleidoscope of great times and beloved memories all summed up in a small word, in a small world, that loses me like I'm afloat in vast space so large even a lifetime couldn't take it all in — Atlanta.... Ah yea, someday I'll be back to call it home.... Go to Ru Sans, then go to Hottie Hawgs, then do Fatt Matts, finally Pig n' Chik...oh there's so much more, i ought to write a book... See Ya soon GA.

Posted by Dan Garcia on 11/28/2011 at 12:44 AM

Re: “Tomo Japanese Restaurant

TOMO has moved into Buckhead. It is now located at 3630 Peachtree Road in the same building as the Ritz Carlton Residences, down fom Phipps Plaza. Thet are now serving lunch Monday-Friday from 11:00-2:00 and dinner from 5:00-10:30; until 11:00 on Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sundays for now. They might open up on Sundays after the beginning of 2012. Reservations are a must. call 404-835-2708

Posted by Cliff Sinon on 11/23/2011 at 2:00 PM

Re: “Sushi House Hayakawa

Best sushi in town and the staff is very gracious and attentive.

Posted by AJR on 10/06/2011 at 10:49 AM

Re: “Miso Izakaya

This place is amazing!! Do NOT let the menu frighten you....start with the Buns...any bun! Try them all and make sure you accompany them with a Basil Lemonade (alcoholic but very light and refreshing). Once you have finished off the bun; go for the salt and pepper quail (to DIE for!!). And if sushi is what you desire, go for the off-menu Oshi.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Foodie2345 on 07/11/2011 at 8:00 PM

Re: “Zuma

The sushi is pretty good but the service can be terrible! We were literally turned away at the door one day for lunch when there were plenty of tables. They only had one waiter working.

Posted by torilcole on 04/07/2011 at 11:11 AM

Re: “Starfish Sushi & Sake Bar

good food, but the prices are FAR from "$$ ($10-20)" -- try more like ~$50 - for a moderate amount of sushi and one beer. my roommate and i just came back from there and dropped over $100 when you include tip - and that was with no leftovers, one beer ($4.50) and one fru-fru bev. ($6.50)

Posted by cabasse on 03/11/2011 at 11:42 PM

Re: “Sushi House Hayakawa

Best & Real japanese sushi !!

Posted by Yelper on 09/23/2010 at 5:19 AM

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