In search of ... sushi

Sushi can be a blessed or bland experience, considering who’s ordering and cutting the fish. These five spots are some of the area’s best for the art of fish and rice. You can vote for your favorites all weekend at Access Atlanta’s Best of the Big A at www.accessatlanta.com

MF Buckhead

3280 Peachtree Road, Suite 110, Atlanta, 404-841-1192, www.mfbuckhead.com

Before MF Buckhead opened in 2007, its sister MF Sushibar, both owned and operated by brothers Chris and Alex Kinjo, was the best sushi restaurant in the area — a small, quiet, stylish spot more like what might be found in Japan. But MF Buckhead has done something that no other restaurant in Atlanta has ever done on such a grand scale. Its 8,000 square feet of jaw-dropping space has finally combined the big, bold Buckhead look that Atlanta loves with an absolutely incomparable dining experience. No detail — from the perfect thickness of the wooden chopsticks to the amazing sake list — has been ignored. The sushi bar spans the length of the main dining room and boasts 12 to 15 sushi chefs during busy hours. Toward the end of the sushi bar is a robata grill where specialties like King Atlantic prawns and succulent Japanese black cod marinated in a sweet miso sauce until translucent and caramelized are prepared. But it is the sushi bar — and incredibly fresh fish cut perfectly — that is the beating heart of this restaurant.

MF Sushibar

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265 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, 404-815-8844, www.mfsushibar.com .

The slick digs and power-lunch players belie what’s behind the success of this Midtown wonder: some of the freshest, best-made sushi in the city, second only to its sister spot, MF Buckhead. The crunch of nori wrapped around a hand roll with crispy salmon skin or spicy tuna gives a palpable sense of quality to sushi in Atlanta, as do any of the well-procured and cut fish.

Taka Sushi Café

385 Pharr Road N.E., Atlanta, 404-869-2802, www.takasushiatlanta.com

For years, Takao Moriuchi has combined the art and tradition of sushi making with the showmanship Americans demand. Maybe the Diet Coke roll and the Italian roll seem a little kitschy for the sushi purist, but you can’t argue with taste. And Takao gives loads of that — from traditional cold appetizers to Japanese dishes hard to find elsewhere. The restaurant doesn’t just master sushi — the menu spans many Japanese treasures, from kanisu to dumplings, plus a nine-course omakase menu.

Tomo Japanese Restaurant

256 Cobb Parkway (in Riverview Shopping Center), 770-690-0555, www.tomorestaurant.com

I’m not sure white truffle oil, siracha and cilantro were destined for a traditional Japanese menu, but chef-owner Tom Naito has brought them together in a karmic cataclysm of tastes that make the Philadelphia roll look like maki purism. Sometimes traditional, sometimes oddly mixed with French and Italian influences, the menu here is a wild ride of tastes. Even more odd, it works.

Sushi House Hayakawa not yet rated

5979 Buford Highway, Atlanta, 770-986-0010, www.atlantasushibar.com

If you’re looking for a sushi find, you just found it. This BuHi spot turns taste buds with its expertly cut, super fresh fish, but behind the sushi is a traditional Japanese menu of family-style favorites. Look for a review in the AJC’s Go Guide soon.

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