Tomo Japanese Restaurant has, apparently, been on my radar since August 2006 (when I first saw it mentioned in Atlanta Magazine’s 101 Favorite Restaurants edition, as “new and noteworthy” – the original paper “list” I carried in the trunk). When Atlanta Magazine’s restaurant critic Bill Addison announced he was stopping his regular gig there to move on to be Restaurant Editor at Eater.com, his final regular article was about his favorite restaurants in town. When we were going through that list last weekend, I mentioned Tomo, again, as a spot we had missed. When I was asked to find a spot for dinner tonight , I went to opentable and made a reservation there.
There was surprisingly light Friday evening traffic (particularly for a holiday weekend), and we made it downtown in record time, arriving ahead of our reservation. That didn’t seem to be a problem, as most of the place was virtually empty when we arrived. We were seated at a four-top near the door, with banquette and chair seating. It was a good thing it was a table for four – when Jo sat at the end nearest the door, the table top was at mid-chest height. Fortunately, when she shifted to her left, there was much more cushion there. The menu was divided into nigiri and sashimi, appetizers, salads, entrees, signature dishes and rolls. There were way too many choices for me to wrap my head around, so we talked with the server and asked questions about the kimme-dae.
I ordered a sushi-sashimi dinner which was served with soup and a salad, which we split – soup for me
and salad for my date.
There was nothing that particularly stood out about either one of these, but the salad did have different greens than the iceberg you get at most Japanese steakhouses.
We started with a kimme-dae tempura, which had three pieces of buttery, flaky fish, along with three vegetables.
The tempura batter was slightly sweet and the fish was absolutely phenomenal – light and flaky. Looking up information about kimme-dai on the web leads to half a dozen references to Tomo, but most of the other links say that it is a golden-eyed snappers (there a couple of other options for the fish it could be, but I went with the consensus). Two of the vegetables were a mystery (we recognized the broccoli floret). After tasting and talking, we were still at a loss, so we flagged down a server – turns out they were slices of sweet potato and lotus root. Interesting tastes to both of them.
Jo ordered three rolls – shiitake mushroom, a California roll (with real crab as opposed to imitation) and a tempura shrimp roll.
The mushroom roll was a gamble, as it was wrapped in seaweed, as opposed to rice and she was not overly fond of it. The California roll was overly salty, perhaps due to the crab (I noticed stronger “sea” flavor to my sashimi than I’m used to, which may be attributable to the freshness). The shrimp roll was her favorite, by far, with asparagus and spicy mayo.
My meal (nigiri, sashimi and a spicy tuna roll) was served on a giant golden platter, which I had to separate into two photos to do it justice.
The sashimi side (from bottom right: octopus, sea bass with trout roe, yellow fin tuna, blue fin tuna, salmon).
The nigiri side (from bottom right: eel, shrimp, yellow fin tuna, blue fin tuna, fluke, salmon). Of the massive amount of mostly raw fish, my least favorite was the sea bass. It is a fish I thoroughly enjoy when cooked, but did not care for in the least in a raw state. On the upside, the tunas were all excellent, but all of the fish seemed “saltier” than I’m used to having. It was a good experience, but were we to go back, I’d stick to every version of the kimme-dai that I could find, and forego the rest of it.