Stepping into Momonoki, the relatively new Japanese restaurant a stone’s throw from the Connector, already feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of Midtown. During the holidays, when “hustle” becomes everyone’s default speed, the serene restaurant is a veritable sanctuary. Enjoying a complex, aromatic pot of tea and having a light, refreshing bite to eat, it’s easy to put the stress and heaviness of the holidays behind you.
No dish is better for this than the yellowtail jalapeno bowl, from the “raw” side of the bowl menu. Though Momonoki offers much richer dishes, such as miso grits and “sandos” filled with a variety of fried items, it’s the delicately dressed raw bowls that stand out at this time of year.
The tuna is incredibly fresh, and served at just the right temperature, indicative of the restaurant team’s expertise. The same owners run Brush Sushi Izakaya in Decatur, which has a cultish following. A spicy, ginger-based dressing kisses the fish, and mixes just enough with the sticky sushi rice, neither disappearing nor overly asserting itself. Fresh daikon adds a sharp bite, while tiny cucumber and radish slices provide cooling balance to the dressing.
Though Momonoki is a cheerful spot for a quick lunch, it’s also an excellent place to linger with tea and a healthy snack. While the overindulgences of the holidays are fun, nearly everyone eventually needs a vacation from their holiday. If you’ve reached that point, visit Momonoki for a dose of delicious yellowtail and a side of self-care.
Momonoki. 95 8th St., Atlanta. 404-390-3052, momonokiatl.com.
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