Sunday, July 19, 2009

Taka Sushi Cafe - Atlanta

I know that I’ve driven past Taka Sushi Café dozens of time. It blends into the scenery of Pharr road between Piedmont and Peachtree, but at my sister’s suggestion, I pulled into the inconspicuous location.

Having just come from a cocktail party, neither one of us was in the mood for an extravagant, heavy meal.

A cucumber salad was the perfect thing to start the meal. I was immediately impressed with how thin the cucumber had been sliced, as well as its delicate flavor. Not only was the salad delightful refreshment for the hot June day, it was seasoned with just the right amount of vinegar and sesame.

I simply cannot an Asian restaurant without trying some sort of dumpling. Taka was no exception.

At the suggestion of the waitress, we ordered the shrimp gyoza. The first thing that surprised me was the sheer amount of shrimp that was packed into this wrapper. Unfortunately the second surprise was how bland the gyoza was.

Minutes later, it was time for our sushi.

One thing I loved about Taka was this brush. Instead of making a mess and dipping your delicate nigiri upside down in soy sauce, you simply brush the correct amount of soy over your nigiri. It’s a delightful solution to the rather common problem of overuse of soy sauce on sushi.

The first of our two sushi plates held the eel (unagi) and salmon skin roll.

I love a good unagi. There’s just something so appealing about a the flaky, charbroiled meat and the sweet and thick sauce that accompanies it. While this unagi specimen was very nicely charred, it lacked the depth of flavor that I’ve come to expect from eel nigiri. Although it have a certain creaminess to the meat that I rarely experience with unagi. The salmon skin roll was excellent. It had that tasty, fishy crunch that I love to order from time to time. Unfortunately, Jennifer was not really a fan and didn’t finish her half of the roll.

The second sushi plate held a few more pieces than our first. With salmon (sake), a spider roll, and a dream team roll, I knew that we would be needing a takeout box.

First off, the salmon (sake) had the wonderful taste of fresh salmon, and this piece of nigiri was the perfect application of the soy sauce brush. Behind the salmon was the spider roll. I love the sweet saltiness of fried soft shell crab. Unfortunately, this did not have the extra crunch of freshly fried crab. Lastly, the dream team roll seemed to be at odds with itself. Full of salmon and tuna and topped with avocado and shrimp, nothing really seemed to dominate this roll. While this made for a very light roll, the flavors never melded.

All in all, I came away from Taka with mixed feelings. I loved the small, intimate atmosphere and the cheery, nice wait staff made the meal more than pleasant. On the other hand, some of the rolls and the gyoza were simply lacking. I think it would be worthwhile to try more of the menu at Taka, but it seems like the time would be better spent at Shoya Izakaya or MF. However, neither one of those can boast the autographed Barry Manilow picture on the back wall of Taka. I have no idea how old that picture is, but it’s completely random and fantastic.

Taka Sushi Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

jess said...

agreed, good unagi is soooo divine!

you should definitely submit your photos to their goal is to create a visual restaurant review site with a template similar to that of tastespotting.