More than one food personality have called this tiny place in the corner of the old looking International plaza "the best." I am no authority on sushi by any means, but I will refrain from going as far as calling it "the best," as I believe such a title befits only those that approach perfection and what I had on Friday night was not quite perfection. With that said, our omakase was truly a joy to eat with some excellent dishes and totally value for money. This is not saying that the omakase was cheap at $65 for the larger format. However, considering that the four of us split two of these with only the addition of two appetizers and left quite content, it's a pretty good deal for very fresh sushi.
We started out with two daily specials before the omakase courses came. The first was a mackerel box sushi roll. Very pretty to look at, I tremendously enjoyed the delicate wrapping in both its appearance and its less assertive taste. The mackerel came through loud and clear speaking of its ample oil content. For anyone not keen on fish tasting strong, this wouldn't be a good choice. I enjoyed it for the fuller mouth feel but was rather done after one piece not wanting to weigh down my palate for some of the lighter courses to come.
Our other appetizer was miso grilled eggplant. I loved the study in both white and dark miso here. The less aggressive white miso imparted a very pleasant sweetness to the finer fibered Japanese eggplant, while the heavier and more fermented tasting dark miso boosted the umami quotient.
As we were enjoying the eggplants, our appetizer course of the omakase arrived. The simple trio included two cubes of mildly flavored tamago, slivers of sweet soy marinated mushrooms, and a light bamboo shoot salad. Everything was very light and nothing struck me as being particularly good. Perhaps my palate was just getting used to the more restrained taste after our boldly flavored special appetizers earlier.
Next up was our sunomono vinegared salad, which included on top of two small piles of cucumber and seaweed salad a butterflied shrimp, a slice of octopus, mackerel, and some clams. The salad was a bit watery for my taste, but the sushi carried a pleasant fresh ocean note. My favorite was the clam, which was just slightly crunchy and very sweet.
Half way into our sunomono, we received our sashimi plate. Immediately I noticed the salmon piece that was obviously cut in half to accommodate both of our orders. Maybe I am biased, but something like this takes some respect away from the sushi chef because instead of cutting from a new piece of salmon, he chose to serve the end piece rather than saving it for chopped applications such as in a spicy salmon roll. With that said, the salmon was very creamy and good. The other standout was the hamachi that sled across the tongue like cool silk.
Rather than moving on to sushi in a more natural progression, we received our grilled/fried course instead. The skewer was salted with a light hand and just a tad dry. The tempura on the other hand were done very well. Under the airy, crunchy and non-greasy coating were tender pieces of veggies and shrimp. My favorite was the piece of kabocha squash that was sweet and soft.
Maybe the waiter realized that we should have had our sushi before the fried course, we received the sushi plate immediately after the tempura plate landed. By this point we are starting to see that while the fishes are quite fresh, there aren't too many varieties, so each course repeated much of the previous. Here, I enjoyed the lady mouth sized tuna roll enclosing pristine tasting pieces of ruby goodness.
Arguably the most smile-inducing dish of the night was the ikura don or marinated roe. These babies glistened like jewels and were surprisingly non-salty but flavorful with a great mirin type sweetness. The rice underneath was tender but held its grain integrity very well.
We chose to get all three desserts (2 included with the omakase and one additional). The green tea mousse delighted with a lightness matching that of the meal. I particularly like the naturally sugary sweet potato pieces.
The green tea and red bean ice creams were enjoyable as well, being somewhat creamier than the usual Asian ice creams. The whole meal satisfied, but did not weight us down, so we left feeling happy and still had something left in the bank account.
5979 Buford Hwy. A-10
Atlanta, Ga 30340