Sunday, May 8, 2011

Taka Sushi-Sushi and Passion

Ah, good old Taka—one of Buckhead's best sushi restaurants. Heck, it's probably one of the best sushi restaurants in Atlanta. Taka Sushi's main chef is Taka Moriuchi. He even has his own food blog that I read. I'm guessing the restaurant is named after him.

Taka's Omakase

People seem to buzz about is his omakase. Omakase is where you give all your trust to the chef, and let him choose what to feed you. So Mrs. Kitty and I tried both of his omakase: the standard and the nigiri omakase.

For the standard omakase, you get to taste Chef Taka's special creations. They are unique and show off Taka's creativity. 

You can opt for the 6, 8, or 10 course omakase.  I chose the 6 course option. I'll list what I had using pictures:

1. Gazpacho–cold tomato soup with crab meat, in honor of Cinco De Mayo.

2. Seared Tuna with Guacamole–it had a nice kick thanks to the jalapeño peppers.
3. Salmon Tartar–tomatoes, daikon?, salmon, olives, and pickles with some sort of sauce. It was very interesting.

4. Shiitake Mushroom Croquette

5. Gobo Root Tempura. 

6. Cucumber Salad–A nice medley of seafood and cucumber.

7. Taka's Omakase bonus! Yaki Buta–it tasted like the pork he uses in his ramens. 
Overall, I thought the omakase was impressive, creative, fun, and great to look at; but I didn't love it. I know what Taka was trying to do, but it didn't work for me. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it. It just left me feeling unsatisfied.

One reason was its low value. For $40, all I got was small bits of seafood and vegetables. Yes, Taka was cool enough to give me the bonus pork dish at the end—which concluded the meal well. But if the 7th dish didn't come out, I would've felt something was missing. Maybe that's why Taka gave us the 7th dish.

Also, I might be a traditionalist on Japanese cuisine, and the omakase had a lot of fusion dishes and interesting variations of Japanese cuisine. I guess that took me by surprise since I didn't know what to expect.

The Nigiri Omakase

Taka also has a nigiri omakase, which also comes in 6 course. This time, like the name implies, it's all nigiri. Again, here are the sushi in pictures:

Taka's sushi tastes and looks top notch. He uses fresh ingredients. He also gives high quality stuff like fatty tuna and live scallop. I also like the fact he puts wasabi in his nigiri. That's how I'm used to eating sushi from Japan.

Just like the standard omakase, the nigiri omakase costs a lot. But I think it's a better value. Why? Maybe because I like Taka's sushi so much. Also, like I mentioned earlier, it's because I'm more of a traditionalist for Japanese cuisine. You can't get more traditional than nigiri.


Our stomachs still grumbled after the omakase. So I did what I always do at a Japanese restaurants when I want something extra: order ramen.

Taka has the best Shoyu Ramen in Atlanta. When it comes out, I suggest not jumping in slurping up the noodles right away. Let it settle for a few seconds. Drink the great, flavorful broth first. Try piece of the pork. Mix the ingredients around. And then dig in. In a nutshell, eat it like that old ramen master scene in  Tampopo.

As for the best ramen in Atlanta, Yakitori Jinbei's tonkotsu ramen still is number 1. But Taka's Shoyu Ramen is no slouch.

Best Shoyu Ramen in Atlanta?
Mrs. Kitty got the Zaru Soba. It came with a great tsuyu—the dipping sauce—and the soba was cooked perfectly. This was first time Mrs. Kitty tried Zaru Soba.

I realized not many people know how to eat Zaru Soba correctly. Sometimes, I see people dumping all the noodles in their tsuyu. That makes me shake my head. To eat Zaru Soba, it's easy. Pick up a chopstick full of noodles from the bamboo plate, dip the noodles into the tsuyu, and slurp the noodles up. You don't let the noodles sit in the tsuyu. You just dip and slurp.

Other Stuff At Taka

Taka's menu looks huge. They seem to have packed a ton of stuff in there. Taka also features a bunch of creative sushi rolls. They have American sounding names like the Home Depot Roll. I haven't tasted much of his rolls, but if they're anything like his nigiri, I expect them to be stellar.

There's also a "secret" Japanese menu that features a few traditional Japanese entrees such as their Shoyu Ramen. It's not really a secret menu. It's actually called, "The Japanese Extended Menu." But I call it the secret menu because its mention is hidden in their massive, regular menu.

I tried their curry rice from the extended menu, and it sucked. The rice came out fried. And the curry tasted like it had cinnamon in it. That was a weird combination and made it unbearable to eat.

Taka Sushi is pricey. We spent over $100 for just the two of us.  It's not a place we can go often because of our budget. But it is one of our favorites. Even though it seems like I didn't like the omakase, I suggest you to still try it. It is an interesting experience. And of course, try his sushi. They taste great. Mr. Kitty gives this place 4 paws up.

Taka Sushi
385 Pharr Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 869-2802
Taka Sushi Cafe on Urbanspoon

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