Season Eatings: Doraku Sushi
August 11, 2015
Atlanta Social Season Magazine
Until recently I felt like there had been a dearth of world-class sushi in town. Sure, there are a few standouts, but during Atlanta’s recent ascension to a globally respected epicurean mecca it seems as if Japanese concepts have lagged with the rest of our gastro-development. But recently there are lots of signs pointing toward the Rising Sun coming back to town in full force. The latest is Doraku Sushi, a concept created by Kevin Aoki, son of Benihana creator Rocky Aoki. Started in South Beach, Doraku brings a swanky izakaya outpost to the Buckhead Atlanta shopping district with some seriously tasty and very pretty dishes. The buildout feels slick and right at home in Buckhead, but also casual, with a bar that sits front and center and an open kitchen in the back. Above the main dining area sits an impressive wood-carved Buddha bust on the wall that looks as if it’s hovering above the outstretched roots of a mammoth tree.
I had the cold water oysters topped with a fatty tuna known as otoro. For any raw fan, this is pure bliss. I also loved the tuna tataki served on a Wakame Daikon Salad and garnished with garlic aioli and ponzu sauce. For the hot dishes I cannot gush enough about the misoyaki cod; it’s a real mild and flaky fish cooked perfectly and glazed with a miso sauce. The sushi was top shelf all the way. For the semi-pro sushi eaters I can tell you that the rolls I tried were outstanding. The Doraku roll made with Maine lobster, masago, bell pepper, tomato, and cucumber topped with King Crab was not only sublime, but it might have been the prettiest roll I have ever seen. And sushi purists like me will also be pleased – Chef Todd Kulper labored under such greats as Nobu in South Beach and Thomas Keller in Napa so I was blown away by not only his ability to get the rare cuts of fish but how exquisite many of the bites were. And of course I had to delve into the sweets with the tempura-fried brownie served with vanilla ice cream that manifests as wickedly sinful as it sounds. And remember, an izakaya is a Japanese gastro pub with an emphasis on pub. Doraku boasts one of the best selections of sake in the city, and specialty cocktails with Asian twists such as the mango jalepeño martini and the lychee martini. I am ecstatic to see Japanese cuisine coming on strong and Doraku catapults right to the top tier in my book.
Link to the original artilce here.
Photography by Heidi Geldhauser