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Entries Tagged as 'Sushi'

Blue Fin – Duluth

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Hi. Sorry for the absence. I’ve been lazy. I’m over at Instagram a lot these days. I like that it’s easier to interact with everyone. So if you don’t find me here go catch me over there: @chowdownatlanta

This was my quick lunch today.

ATL Food History Lesson: When I was in middle school there was this only Izakaya in Atlanta on Peachtree Industrial. It was called Sakana-Ya. I grew up eating Friday night dinners there because my mom was a big fan of their Zohsui. They had a traditional binchotan robata. It was the most awesome Japanese joint in ATL. Unfortunately, mismanagement led to its demise 5 years ago. The sushi chefs there opened their own place right after, which is this one. It’s where Taka and other sushi chefs go to eat. They have an awesome shoyu ramen here and a fantastic pork donburi. Neither of which I didn’t want to eat today.

Blue Fin Sushi
2863 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Duluth, GA 30097
(770) 232-5004
Closed on Mondays


Sushi House Hayakawa

Before my love affair with Korean food, I was hot and heavy with Japanese food which actually started when I was very young. 2009 gave me so many mediocre and disappointing sushi/sashimi meals that I had to give them up for a while. I have since renewed that romance and 2010 seems to be a good year so far. I have been a regular visitor to SHH since 2008 when it first opened but one of the best meals I have had here was less than two weeks ago.

If you have the time (and money, of course) to spare, I highly recommend getting the Omakase. It is a somewhat pricey, multi-course kaiseki meal, lasting about two hours that consists of nothing but the freshest ingredients of the day (and season). If that does not sound like something that would fit your schedule or budget, I highly suggest you order off the day’s Special menu with items that are not conventionally found in Japanese restaurants. Kaiseki meals are traditional meals served in conjunction with Japanese tea ceremonies. It typically includes a soup, three side dishes, sunomono (vinegared dish), sashimi, yakimono (grilled dish), nimono (simmered dish), and sushi.

Sushi House Hayakawa

The first course of our meal included a piece of marinaded herring with Colza buds (similar to rapeseed). This was very interesting because the texture of the fish was made gritty by the seeds. It was like having an explosion in your mouth with every bite as the buds popped like tiny roe. The tamago (omelet) topped with a dollop of mild teriyaki sauce was a refreshing start. The creamy lobster salad wrapped in a single shiso leaf was a contrast of textures.

Sushi House Hayakawa

A sunomono of super sweet shrimp, snow crab leg, mackerel, and octopus with seaweed and paper-thin slices of cucumbers was invigorating. The tartness and sweetness of the dish woke up your taste buds.

Sushi House Hayakawa

Sliced jellyfish (flown in from Japan) was sweet and gelatinously wonderful. The shiso buds added a slight crunch and a berry taste overall. This elicited an oh-my-god-this-is-wonderful comment from me at every bite.

Sushi House Hayakawa

A big bowl of the freshest sashimi came next. It had squid, octopus, yellow tail, red snapper, tuna, and salmon. A special soy sauce is made in-house just for accompanying this — a concoction of soy sauce, dashi, sake, and sugar. Phenomenal.

Sushi House Hayakawa

Tiny, baby octopus fried golden in a light, flour batter was served with dollops of Japanese mayo. These were delicious.

Sushi House Hayakawa

A nimono of tender, sweet, steamed flounder with taro, daikon, okra, and carrot in a miso-soy-dashi broth catapulted me instantly to food heaven. I had to have complete silence, stopping all chatter at the table, as I savored each and every bite. I oohed and aahed as each bite went into my mouth. Umami. Enough said.

Sushi House Hayakawa

A thick slab of grilled salmon in a very light teriyaki sauce was very flavorful.

Sushi House Hayakawa

A sushi plate came next. It had otoro, yellow tail, mackerel, sea scallops, snow crab leg, and tamago. Each was as fresh as the other. The sushi rice was perfection — perfectly steamed, served at a perfect room temperature, and seasoned perfectly. Everything was just perfect.

Sushi House Hayakawa

My most favorite here is the Ikura Don. No one and I mean no one in the state of Georgia makes it better than Chef Art. Normally super salty, he preps the salmon roe in a manner that the saltiness is not offensive, yet still there; and adds a slight hint of sweet to make this an amazing, memorable dish eaten with his perfect sushi rice.

Sushi House Hayakawa

I have finished every single morsel of food that was served. But before I could go to a complete and total food coma, the last part of the meal came next: dessert. This tiny, two-ounce, house-made granita made with Calpico (a popular, yogurty, Japanese drink) is sweetened with honey and laced with the strongest, non-alcohol tasting, sake. I am sure it is just me, but two, teeny, tiny spoonfuls of this was enough to get me, well, drunk.

So far, my best meal of 2010.

Insider tip:
This omakase was $65 per person.
Reservations accepted.

The scoop:
Sushi House Hayakawa
5979 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30340
(770) 986-0010

Sushi House Hayakawa on Urbanspoon

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Prime

I have been to Prime twice before a long time ago and all I can remember was that it was pricey and the service was painfully slow. So it was never put on our rotation of mall dining choices. A few days ago, we saw a sign indicating early dinner specials so we decided to try it. From 5 to 6:15PM, three types of steaks are half price. It is really a great deal considering a rib-eye steak here can set you back $36 without any sides included.

Prime (Buckhead)

Prime (Buckhead)

We tried the chicken and andouille gumbo and Octopus Tiradito for starters. The gumbo was a little on the salty side but negligible. It had lots of chicken and sausage and the broth was good overall. The tiradito, a form of ceviche, had thin slices of fresh octopus, cilantro, long slivers of carrots and beets, and cucumber slices. It was in a sriracha-yuzu soy-based sauce that leaned more on the salty than citrusy instead of a balance of both . Good, but get the sauce on the side instead.

Prime (Buckhead)

We settled on the boneless rib-eye steak for our main dish. An impressive piece of meat came before us: 14 ounces of thick, juicy, tender, well-seasoned rib-eye, perfectly grilled to our desired temperature, all for $14.50. A steal if you ask me.

Prime (Buckhead)

We were told that the $5 sides are served family style and big enough for sharing. Wrong. Really. I finished the tiny order by myself. My chosen side was the Truffled Creamed Corn that was just fabulous. It is made from freshly-cut kernels, with most of them still sticking to each other. It is creamy, buttery, cheesy, mushroomy. Really, it is very, very good. The fries were forgettable. They were so soggy.

Prime (Buckhead)

The $17 Wagyu Kobe Burger is a waste of money. Although it was served at medium (as requested), it was very, very dry. It was so dry I had to have a gulp of water after each bite to get it to go down my throat. Disappointed and left untouched after the second bite. Total waste of money.

Overall, the steaks are a great deal. Take advantage of the specials while they have it. Service is impeccable and the servers really knew the menu well.

Insider tip:
Located on the second floor at the entrance of Lenox Square mall.

The scoop:
Prime
3393 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 812-0555

Prime on Urbanspoon

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RA Sushi

I find it so laughable when people refer to themselves as a “sushi guru” — seriously, if you have not been to Japan at least 5 times to eat real sushi (including for breakfast) with at least one visit to Osaka or Kyoto then you cannot and should never call yourselves that, okay? Oh, and even if you have, eating sushi from the supermarket, train station, or ball park doesn’t count. Ever.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

I had absolutely no expectations when a group of us 13 girls came in for dinner one busy Saturday night. The reason being, I prefer authentic sushi from traditional sushi joints. RA Sushi clearly doesn’t qualify but we wanted to have a fun girls’ night out at a trendier place with at least good cocktails and decent food. With those pretty low standards and expectations of good food out of the way, I knew it was going to be nothing but a fun night.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

While all the other girls got different kinds of rolls, dinner selections for me and my sister included the sashimi plates, eel hosamaki, and uni gunkanmaki (our absolute favorite). We really don’t care much for bastardized rolls geared for the American palate which are often doused, drizzled, laced, and topped with fruit, mayo, sauces, cream cheese, and such. Anyway, here’s the kicker: the sashimi was absolutely exceptional!!! (Notice the triple exclamation points?) I love it when a place proves me wrong and I was totally blown away by the sashimi here. The fish were of the perfect temperature and the slices were done right. The most surprising thing was the quality. I could not believe how superb the quality of the fish were — first, the tuna wasn’t just regular tuna but the pricier and higher caliber chutoro. Each slice was so fresh, buttery, and literally melted in your mouth. The yellowtail, salmon, and whitefish were of equal grade and without the sinewy, stringy flesh common in cheaper cuts. The octopus were also a delight, tender, and not chewy at all. Sashimi is all about texture because, face it, raw fish should not taste like anything. You can control how much flavor you want to add with the shiso, soy sauce, wasabi, and daikon. I just wished they used fresh wasabi for the price point that they have. Surprisingly, however, the sashimi was outstanding for a place like this with so much bad rep and preconceived bias, mine included.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

Uni (sea urchin) is our most favorite sushi. A perfect meal for us would be a pound of freshly harvested uni on top of warm sushi rice, aah, so yummy. The uni here was very fresh and creamy. It was of medium grade but had all the tastes of top quality variety. The sweetish-salty flavor is quite intoxicating.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

We originally wanted eel hosamaki which was not on the menu so a bit of explaining to the server had to be made. My sister and I love hosamakis because they’re the perfect snack: not much rice and the nori gives extra flavor to the fish. What came before us was regular eel roll instead. Rather than sending it back, I decided to use it as a measuring stick. The main reason for sloppy rolls is the rice. Here, the rice is too soft, brought about by using too much water in the steaming process. Too soft rice will make rolls fall apart as there is not enough structure to hold the ingredients in. I did like the fact that they use teriyaki sauce sparingly.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

Another notable item on the table was the ceviche which was excellent. The fish was so fresh and the citrus marinade was very good. We don’t like American rolls so we didn’t even try any but I noticed how big they were. Our seaweed salad was nothing out of the ordinary but it wasn’t bad either. The tempura were a bit over-fried and the batter was coated unevenly. Skip the overpriced edamame altogether.

Final thoughts:

  • Definitely a fun, energetic place especially for groups.
  • We had two servers (a main one and an assistant) so service was pretty good.
  • Syrupy cocktails tend to be extremely sweet.
  • Prices are reflective of the area and type of establishment, which were quite reasonable.
  • They were playing awesome music on our visit: rock, pop, indie folk, indie rock, 80s, 90s.
  • Bathrooms are located on the main floor which is a pain to get to if you’re hanging around upstairs waiting for your table.
  • I hate it that they offer you something but don’t tell you that it’s not free. The edamame is so overpriced at $3.50.

The scoop:
RA Sushi
1080 Peachtree Street, Suite 8
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 267-0114

RA Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Haru Ichiban

I first came to Haru Ichiban close to 10 years ago. It was such a fantastic place that I came several times a week.  Japanese sushi chefs in the city came to eat here all the time.  I still see one or two of them every now and then — to eat ramen. Aside from the ramen, food here was authentic, high quality, and delicious. But not lately. Last month, I put them on my “Time Out List”.  Restaurants on this list are those that used to be stellar but has slacked off so I’m giving them some time to recover and hopefully my next visit will be better. Despite of this small hiccup, their ramen has been solid all these years and I must have it at least once a week.

Haru Ichiban

The menu boasts of the usual fare including a combination lunch where you get to choose two items and the blink-and-they’re-gone daily specials which sell out within the hour. But the one thing they really are well known for is the ramen. A ginormous bowl of hot broth is mixed with perfectly cooked egg noodles and slices of delicious, housemade roasted pork. There are four flavors of broth to choose from, plus an assortment toppings that you can pick.

Haru Ichiban

The Shio flavor, my absolute favorite, is seasoned with natural sea salt. Although it uses chicken broth, it doesn’t really taste like chicken soup. The pork slices play a major part in the overall flavor and the result is a savory, tasty soup. Believe me when I say this is comfort food at its best.

Haru Ichiban

My other favorite is the Tonkotsu broth which should not be confused with tonkatsu (which is fried pork cutlet). Tonkotsu is a pork-based broth made by boiling pigs’ bones for several hours. The result is a creamy broth that is so fantastic.

The Soy flavor is chicken broth seasoned with soy sauce. Be warned, this broth is on the salty side. I stopped getting this because I got tired of diluting it with my hot tea just so it can be eatable. However, if you like your food salty, then this is perfect for you. The Miso flavor is a salt-based broth infused with soy bean paste. This isn’t your regular miso soup, instead, the broth is sweetish with a nutty undertone.

Haru Ichiban has the best Shio Ramen in town hands down. I recommend you stick with the roast pork topping for your first visit as this is how it is normally served in Japan. It will also allow you to taste the basic flavors the way they’re intended to be.

Note: I am compiling a side-by-side comparison of Japanese ramen from the three best places in town so stay tuned for that.

Insider tip:

Lunch menu also available on Saturdays.

The scoop:
Haru Ichiban
3646 Satellite Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 622-4060

Haru Ichiban on Urbanspoon

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