Thursday, July 23, 2009

Taka




385 Pharr Rd. NE, Atlanta 404/869-2802 http://sushiandpassion.blogspot.com/

Ever since Soto closed his amazing restaurant a few years ago and moved to NYC I have been a little depressed, feeling that Atlanta had lost its sushi superstar. I've been to a few other places that have received great critical acclaim but I've left disappointed. I was beginning to think that Atlanta would never again host a sushibar with stellar quality fish and original, creative, hot and cold specials.
That was until I ate dinner for the first time at Taka, on Pharr Rd. in Buckhead.

Last night's dinner was a perfect opportunity for me to review the restaurant, because my friend John and my new friend Keith treated me and several other sushi-lovers to an awesome variety of dishes. I had the great fortune to sample at least ten different specialties and rolls, paired with some wonderful wines from Cakebread Cellars and a '95 Dominus. Thanks, guys!

Taka Moriuchi is brilliant. Each one of his dishes was a work of culinary art. The fish was super fresh, the vegetables bright and enticing, and the aromas invigorating. Taka's hits were too numerous for me to completely detail without droning on for twenty paragraphs, so I'll just go over some of the highlights here.

The salmon ceviche was cool and bright, mixed with surprise seasonal white grapes and sliced grape tomatoes. It was packed with flavor. The Aji Tataki - Japanese jack fish with ginger, green onion and shiso leaf, was perfectly prepared and left me scraping the plate, hungry for more. The grilled chilean seabass, marinated in miso and sake, was just as good as the baked seabass I had at Soto's years ago. It was unbelievably tender.

And finally, the Japanese pancake, the okonomiyaki. Ahhh. I have read a few reviews of this that noted Taka is the only restaurant in Atlanta that serves it. What a shame that it's not more commonly offered. The complex flavor of the combination of fish and the beauty of the dish will astound you.

My only criticism is of the passion roll, which is eel with spicy avocado paste topping, red tuna and orange salmon. The sauce was so hot that I felt it overwhelmed the more delicate flavors of the fish. Other than that, I can't complain about anything.

Incidentally, the service was great. Taka Moriuchi himself stopped by our table several times and was all smiles. So would you be, if you had his talent with a sharp knife.

Verdict: The best sushi I've eaten in Atlanta since the close of Soto on Piedmont. Should be the number one choice of any sushi aficionado.

3 comments:

  1. So glad you tried Taka! Since I first tried that place when I moved down here 4 years ago, I have been telling everyone I know that it is the best, relatively reasonably priced sushi in town. I took a Japanese friend of mine, and it is now his favorite in town too; he said it reminded him so much of home! It doesn't hurt that they have a great sake selection and are located right up the street from me! You've been reviewing all of my favorite neighborhood spots lately! Cafe Agora, Basil's and now Taka!

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  2. Taka is a breath of fresh air in a town filled with stuffy, upscale, overpriced sushi restaurants that really have nothing more than repackaged Americanized sushi dishes at best. Soto set the standard for quality, originality and deliciousness. He consistently lived up to the acclaim. I've said many times that, "Kings and Pharaohs didn't eat that good." Since his departure, Tomo, off Cobb Pkwy, has been the only sushi restaurant that has somewhat compared; until Taka. It is no wonder Taka is skyrocketing to sushi fame in Atlanta, he worked under the Master, Soto. Unless you can go to New York to visit Soto himself, Taka is a great alternative. The atmosphere is nice and the prices are VERY reasonable considering the outstanding quality and presentation of the dishes. I'll be going back soon. Thanks, Keith and Misty: Can't wait until next time.

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  3. OMG!!!! Having lived in Japan for three years, I am a total sushi/Japanese cuisine snob. There are several Japanese owned and operated places in Marietta and Roswell that are exactly like places I frequented while living there and where local Japanese expatriates go I should tell you about. BUT - I've NEVER EVER found okonomiyaki anywhere except in NYC, and it was one of my favorite things while in Japan!
    I've never heard of this place, but am going there immediately! Thanks, Misty!!

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