from Atlanta Magazine, June 2011
Accolades plus my death row meal, the best onigiri, buns, and ramen and you’ve got this amazing, no-longer-unknown izakaya sensation in Inman Park. Miso is definitely one of my most favorite restaurants.
Izakaya. This term has evolved and no longer just encompasses sake houses serving yakitori. These days, Japanese izakayas tend to refer to places that serve great food (small plates and snacks) and great drinks (sake and shochu). They do all that at Miso. Plus more. Incidentally, did you know Miso has the largest selection of shochu in Atlanta? The LARGEST.
Aside from being a chef-driven restaurant, what sets Miso apart from the rest is its use of local and seasonal ingredients. Chef Guy Wong hits a couple of farmer’s markets each morning to acquire the day’s ingredients. A two-man team in the kitchen, he and sous chef Melissa Allen go in early every single day to prep the ingredients and get a head start on braising meats. Every single dish that comes out of the kitchen passes through those two sets of hands. Labor of love. Oh and the staff. They treat you like family (shout out to Dyna, Will, and Hong). They’ve all been there since Miso opened.
I get great pleasure from reading menus the same way people do with books and magazines. Today, Miso unveils its new menu. It’s something I’ve read so many times, imagining the dishes in my head and the flavors in my mouth. With an obscene amount of visits under my belt (I have late classes in grad school next door and its proximity is so convenient for late dinners), it’s no accident that some of those visits happen when Chef Guy Wong is experimenting in his kitchen. My good friends and I — regulars at Miso — have been lucky enough to taste some of those experiments.
The Pork Kimchi Rice. To. Die. For. Before Chef Guy made this mind-blowing dish, I used to take his Pork Kimchi dish and mix it with a side order of steamed rice. I call it Kimchi White Rice and I do this everywhere fried rice isn’t served. Imagine my surprise when one day, a $9 bowl of Pork Kimchi Fried Rice appeared before me. It was the best thing I have ever eaten this year. Phenomenal is an understatement. My sister insisted getting an order to go. And my good friend Thom, lucky enough to taste clone number 3 (with another good friend GT), gushed all over Twitter and Facebook, even adding, “I would pay twice as much as Chef Guy is charging me for this right now.” Think kimchi laced with tasty morsels of pork married into fried rice then topped with a fried egg. It’s a match made in heaven. And crazy good.
Fried Green Tomatoes. You know how frustrating it is to eat this because the breading falls off the tomatoes every single time, in every single bite, at every single place on earth? Well, not here. Chef Guy and Chef Melissa were able to figure out how to glue the coating to the tomatoes. Not only is it ingenious, it is amazing. The tartness of the tomatoes is tempered by the the side of karashi cream (Japanese mustard).
Katsu Curry Japaghetti. I have this ongoing battle for mayorship with my very good friend Troy, who stole the mayorship from me, and whom I’ve had many dinners with at Miso (we have
22 24 combined visits, by the way). During one of those dinners, we were lucky enough to try the Japaghetti. How was it? In Troy’s own words, “This is the BEST *bleep* curry I’ve ever had in my life!!!” But don’t take his word for it. Take mine I’ve noticed that tonkatsu in all places in Atlanta are usually bland; with the dipping sauce acting as the flavoring agent. The MI katsu isn’t like that. The tender, juicy Riverview pork tenderloin cutlet is flavorful on its own and coated in flavorful, crunchy batter. Double flavorful. But wait. It’s the curry that will blow you away. Peppered with fork-tender bites of beef and simmered for over 8 hours, it is thick yet smooth and velvety. The flavor is bold but not offensive. Savory and delicious. The chuka soba noodles provide more textural backdrop to the meat and curry. YUM.
Fried Camembert Cheese. Clothed in thin tempura batter then fried golden. Nothing beats the crunchy exterior and gooey, soft cheese inside. Forget ho-hum mozzarella sticks. This is the wave of the future.
Crab Noodle. If you love crabs like I do then you would love this dish. Fresh blue crabs from that morning’s farmer’s market find are steamed, flaked, then stir-fried with eggs. Think fried rice except with soba. The crabs and egg stick to the noodles. Served on a bed of crisp lettuce and topped with a few sprigs of cilantro. Squeeze a few drops of lime, stir, eat. The taste of crab is evident but not overpowering. Unbelievable. So delicious.
I’ve had practically everything on the old menu. Everything here is fantastic. Most of my favorites are making a repeat appearance on the new menu so be sure to try them all: buns, onigiri, gyoza, shoyu tomago… And you can thank me later
619 Edgewood Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
Closed on Sundays
Dinner every night from 5:30pm
Late night dining: Every night except Mondays from 10PM-Midnight