Thursday, August 14, 2008

Restaurant Review: Sushi House Hayakawa

Much has been written about Art Hayakawa's new sushi restaurant on Buford Highway. After years spent living in LA and NY, both great sushi cities, I've struggled to find good sushi options in Atlanta, so I was quite excited to give Hayakawa a go.

This restaurant is a bit of a schlep for intowners, but it's definitely worth the trip. As per usual for Buford Highway restaurants, it's in a nothing strip center and isn't even obviously labeled as Sushi House Hayakawa. Fortunately it's the only sushi joint in the complex, so it wasn't too hard too identify. The interior is low-key, traditional sushi style with blond wood and a long open sushi bar. We would have preferred to sit at the bar to see Art in action but the seats were reserved, so we were relegated to a table.

Service was a bit slow, and we waited ages for a server to stop by. Apparently only two were on duty despite a significant crowd. Once we got a server's attention, though, we received attentive service the rest of the night. I've heard Art Hayakawa is a charmer, but alas, we didn't get a chance to meet him.

The other odd service issue was that the sake menu had just about everything crossed out on it. Perhaps it's time for Hayakawa to print up some new menus? Given the restaurant is so new, it's strange to be out of so much, but we were happy with the sake we ordered (the only on the original menu not crossed out or out-of-stock). The sake is poured into a glass that sits in a bowl and the sake overflows into the bowl. It looks cool, but I would have preferred a more traditional small cup and bottle to pour the rest because some precious drops of sake dripped onto the table when I tried to maneuver the bowl.

Since it was a Tuesday night, we decided that the full omakase was a bit too rich for our blood, so we ordered the sushi combo and the sashimi combo so we could still let the chefs choose the night's freshest fish for us. We were not disappointed. Not only was there great care taken in plating a truly lovely assortment, but the fish was all incredibly fresh and delicious.

The boyfriend never seems convinced that ultra high-end sushi is really worth the extra expense, but I contend that you really do get what you pay for. This sushi was melt in your mouth tender and the rice was perfectly prepared to compliment the fish. We cleared our plates and loved every morsel. The scallop sashimi was placed in between lime slices and had a lovely citrus flavor. Everything was great, but that dish really stood out for me. This definitely isn't a place for trendy rolls; it's a classic sushi restaurant for true lovers of the cuisine. When I'm ready for more of a splurge, I will definitely be back for a seat at the bar and an evening of omakase.

Pros: Truly top-quality, ultra fresh fish, uniquely pleasant atmosphere for a Buford Highway strip mall
Cons: Slow service, a bit of a hike for a weekday dinner, limited sake selection

Pros: Super fresh fish, authentic, well loved chef
Cons: Off the beaten path, somewhat slow service

Sushi House Hayakawa
5979 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30340

Sushi House Hayakawa on Urbanspoon



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