First Look: Doraku Sushi, Buckhead Atlanta


Lunch: 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 5-9 p.m. Sunday.

Soups and salads, $4-$12.95; cold dishes, $8.75-$13.50; hot dishes, $4.75-$$27.50; bowls, $14.95-$23.95; maki, nigiri, sashimi, $4.75-$46.95, desserts, $5.25-$9.25.

267 E. Paces Ferry Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-842-0005,

One more addition to the burgeoning Buckhead Atlanta development, Doraku Sushi offers takes on traditional Japanese dishes with twists of Asian and Latin flavors. Kevin Aoki, founder and CEO of the Aoki Group, and son of wrestler and Benihana founder, Rocky Aoki, opened the first Doraku in Miami’s South Beach. Since then, the company has added two locations in Hawaii and another in Miami Beach.

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.