Another place that has been on the list for a decade is Sushi House Hayakawa. When it first appeared on my radar, I was not nearly as adventurous an eater as I’ve evolved into. As a result, whenever I was looking for a place to go, it kept moving toward the bottom of the list. As my horizons broadened, the timing just never seemed right. But when the new “50 Best Restaurants in Atlanta” list in Atlanta Magazine came out, it was apparent there were a few gaps to fill. Hayakawa was one near the top of the list, so I immediately called for a reservation (they are reservation only) and took the first spot that they had open – a Sunday night in about three weeks.
There are several individual tables (we were at a four-top), a couple of communal tables (like the one above) and seating at the bar. In total, it likely holds less than forty folks at a time.
Things to keep in mind:
- Just because it is on Buford Highway doesn’t mean that it is going to be cheap – you can easily spend $100+ on a sushi meal for two here;
- You won’t find Americanized rolls (California roll and the like) here. Chef Art made a conscious choice to remove those during the re-model last year ;
- They do not take walk ins – call ahead and plan your visit; and
- I understand that they don’t allow children under 12.
We looked the menu over and started with a teriyaki steak dish that was perfectly cooked and melted in your mouth.
We followed that with a flounder starter that was topped with cherry blossoms – that led to the pink color.
It was delicate – flaky, but not dry with a crispy skin. I don’t know why I expected the cherry blossoms to impart cherry flavor, but they did not.
My beloved ordered the lobster box roll – a square roll with pink soy paper topping the lobster. She enjoyed it, much more than she expected to.
I chose the chef’s choice nigiri. Starting in the bottom right corner:
- Sake – salmon;
- Tai – Japanese red snapper;
- Hamachi – yellowfin tuna;
- Something I would swear he called “shark jet”;
- Ebi – cooked shrimp;
- Tako – octopus; and
- Ikura gunkan – salmon roe (which the server warned us already had soy sauce on it, so we wouldn’t add more) and
- Uni (sea urchin).
The rice underneath was slightly vinegary and served warm.
Today I was out on the proverbial sushi limb. Ive only had sea urchin once and octopus a few times. And I know my opinion of salmon row. Onward we forged. The salmon, tuna and shrimp were as good as I’d expect. The sea urchin was very briny and earthy at the same time, but not unpleasant. The octopus was as tasty as any I’ve had – not chewy or rubbery at all. And the salmon roe was excellent.
A winning dinner all around. And we didn’t have to share a table, either.