January 5, 2016
Buckhead Dining: Doraku Sushi
The Cardigan Kitchen
OFF THE BEATEN PATH OF THE SHOPS BUCKHEAD ATLANTA IS THE TRENDY NEWCOMER, DORAKU SUSHI.
The fifth location for the Miami-based restaurant group, Doraku offers sushi and inventive takes on Japanese-fusion cuisine. I was particularly excited to try this location, because I used to frequent the downtown Miami location and remember loving how fresh their sushi was.
My husband and I visited Doraku on a Friday night. It was pleasantly busy, without being overrun. It is tucked to the side of the Shops, but conveniently located next to the parking garage entrance off Paces Ferry. We were quickly seated and I ordered my favorite Doraku cocktail, the lychee martini.
The interior really draws you in with the pretty lanterns above, and the warm wood panels.
Chef Todd surprised us with a few courses.
I’m so glad he did, because we would have never ordered some of the items brought to our table and they were each so good!
We started with the Brussels sprouts and tuna tacos. The sprouts were seriously AMAZING. They were cooked in a chili sauce with mint and candied walnuts and the whole combination was irresistible. The tuna tacos were also good. Fresh chunks of tuna topped with guacamole. You don’t expect to have guacamole at a Japanese restaurant, but it worked.
Our next few courses really surprised us. Chef Todd took us for a walk on the exotic side, introducing us to…fish liver! I’ve never had fish liver before and while it may not be something I order every time, it was definitely worth a try.
The monkfish liver was a little too fishy for me, but the scallops were perfect. The triggerfish was a nice, mellow fish and the liver was soft.
We were also pleasantly surprised by this pasta dish with roe, a favorite of one of the chefs who presented it to us. It was creamy, and almost reminded us of something you would get an Italian restaurant but with Japanese flair.
Doraku’s sushi platter was an absolute treat. Presented simply, each piece of fish was fresh and nicely sized. We were given pieces of tuna, mackerel and squid, to name a few.
But wait…there’s more.
This is Texas toast, hollowed out and filled with caramelized bananas, pieces of toast, ice cream and caramel sauce. I certainly didn’t expect this kind of dessert, but it was delicious! Apparently, this is similar to honey toast desserts served in Japan.
Doraku is great if you’re looking for traditional Japanese items, but also if you’re looking to shake things up a bit. Prices are reasonable, especially with various specials throughout the week. I’m a fan of the dinner happy hour from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. with $4 rolls and $6 firecracker shrimp, among others.
Next door is Doraku’s sister recent, Qing Mu. It’s a humbler locale, focusing on Chinese noodle bowls. I haven’t been there yet, but plan to visit soon!
The Aoki Group, which Doraku belongs to, hosts a trip to Japan ever year. The Doraku manager totally sold us on it and if it worked with our schedule, we’d probably go! You can learn more here.
Thank you, Doraku for dinner. Thoughts are my own.
Link to the original article here.