The look: Here, Doraku is situated next to Buckhead Atlanta luxury condos, The Residence. It shows off its Japanese-meets-South Beach roots with an atmosphere that comes off as a teahouse designed for the clubbing set. Around assorted rustic Asian decor, the space features both intimate and see-and-be-seen seating at booths, high tops, a communal table at the center of the dining room, and a full service bar.
The scene: Last week, Kevin Aoki was in town to host a delayed opening party that brought together a swirling crowd of media, VIPS and neighborhood residents. There was a DJ spinning dance music, while Akoi presided over a cask-smashing sake ceremony with several toasts to good fortune for the restaurant and those assembled.
The food: The sprawling menu includes sections of soups and salads, bowls, hot and cold dishes, and all manner of maki, nigiri and sashimi, from a la carte toro to wild style rolls. The deluxe Doraku Roll ($19.75) is a melange of Maine lobster, masago and veggies, topped with king crab, yuzu, soy reduction, and micro greens. Hamachi carpaccio ($14.25) is lightly seared and garnished with ginger, jalapeno and garlic. Roasted salmon ($16.25) is served with shiso guacamole, truffle edamame, and yuzu hollandaise.
The drinks: On the beverage menu, look for selections of sochu, sake, signature cocktails and Japanese and American craft beers, including Sweetwater 420 pale ale and Brooklyn Sorachi Ace saison.
The extras: Next door, look for a new Aoki Group concept, Qing Mu Noodle Co., serving up Chinese-style noodle soup ($9.95-$11.95) with a few sides ($5.75-$6.75) and draft beer and sake.