Named after the Japanese word for happy, Genki Noodles & Sushi captures the feel-good delicacies enjoyed by owner Reid Zeising during his childhood in Tokyo. Reid now oversees three locations that dish out a signature menu of traditional and experimental sushi rolls, tuna specialties, and Japanese barbecue bowls packed with grilled meats or tofu mixed with noodles or rice. In many dishes, classic flavors of spicy tuna and fresh water eel mingle with unusual additions such as parmesan cheese or mango.
Though each location sports its own distinct décor, all three locations glow under flat screen TVs and the blue light of fish tanks populated by ocean critters and a merman trapped in the body of a hermit crab. The Virginia Highlands location mingles exposed brick with a covered outdoor patio replete with breezy fans.
True to its name, Maki Fresh crafts all of their dishes?from traditional sushi to their unique maki sliders?the moment guests place their order. Beyond classic sushi rolls, the menu features sashimi-grade fish arranged into unorthodox dishes. For example, a hibachi bowl comes with carrots, cucumbers, and spicy sauce atop filet, and burgers surprise taste buds with the interplay of pickles, maki spicy sauce, and tempura onion rings. Maki's chefs ramp up production for catering services, and host private parties of up to 30 people in the Atlanta location's private dining room.
Zuma's extensive Highland and Toco Hill menus showcase a plethora of traditional and innovative sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri, made from the freshest ocean-plucked fish available. Lounge at the Highland spot with an order of lobster tempura ($14.50) for a crunchy accompaniment to the ihi pokki, boasting yellowfin tuna that hangs out with a spicy free-wheelin' crowd of sriracha and scallions ($7.50). Poultry enthusiasts at the Toco Hill eatery can enjoy the deep-fried confines of the chicken katsu ($11.50), and maki lovers can watch the scallop and mayo explosion of the Super Volcano roll ($14) from the safety of their magma-proof chairs. With its cold noodles and delectable dipping sauce, the zaru soba ($5.95) sates Far East pasta pangs.
At the third-generation family-owned Nakato Japanese Restaurant, you can experience Japanese food in an array of Japanese dining experiences. In the hibachi area, guests gather around flat iron grills to watch chefs prepare their steaks, scallops, shrimp, and tofu right in front of them. This style of dining has become popular at Japanese restaurants around the country, due in no small part to the chefs tossing knives and spatulas into the air and doing the Hustle to entertain diners seated around them. Nakato puts its own twist on this experience by serving only housemade sauces with the hibachi entrees.
Guests can also belly up to the sushi bar to enjoy seasonally changing maki and nigiri made with morsels of smoked salmon, tuna, albacore, and quail egg while overlooking the Japanese garden. For ultra traditionalists, guests can opt for omakase, during which Executive Chef Yoshifusa Kinjo will set up and choose a seasonal menu for you and your guests (starting a $80 per person).
The two most traditional ways to dine at Nakato are washoku- and tatami-style. During washoku meals, patrons sit at normal dining tables and enjoy tapas-style Japanese bites, including miso-marinated black cod, or sukiyaki and shabu-shabu hot pots. The shareable hot pot dishes require diners to use a hot pot on the table or a cup of hot lava they've brought to cook thinly sliced meats. During tatami-style feasts, guests relax on floor-level seating for authentic multi-course feasts prepared personally by head chef Yoshifusa Kinjo.
Taking inspiration from his grandmothers, Justin Cox has always loved cooking. He launched his official culinary career when he was just 15, and over the years, he's worked under acclaimed chefs, including two James Beard–award nominees. When he joined the team at Thrive, he created a menu of New American dishes heavily inspired by global influences, especially Asian fusion cuisine, and started buying fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers whenever he could. And this pursuit has paid off—Gayot credits Cox's connections with the fact that his tomato salad "reveals how close the notable vegetable can come to nirvana." In Thrive's kitchen, Cox and his culinary team whip up starters of braised short ribs wrapped in bibb lettuce alongside a selection of sushi, nigiri, and sashimi. They follow that with dishes ranging from classic, such as a fillet of beef tenderloin, to playful, such as scallops and grits with bacon, fennel, pea-shoot salad, and a citrus vinaigrette.
The menu's sophistication is matched by the striking modern dining room designed by architect Bill Johnson. Amber-tinged light spills from the honeycomb ceiling structure lofted above high-backed dining chairs and stark white walls, set off by accents of green print. Zebra-wood barstools helpfully suggest their favorite drinks in the lounge area, where white leather couches invite diners to settle in with a drink.
Helmed by a chef with 17 years of experience, Yoi Yoi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi treats visitors to a spread of stir-fried rice, delicate shellfish and tuna nigiri, and hearty dinners of grilled chicken and steak. Hard at work in the kitchen, hibachi chefs stir fry lo mein noodles, grill steaks, and sear plates of lobster and filet mignon. Sushi experts meticulously prepare traditional delicacies such as tamago or octopus nigiri, as well as more contemporary and adventurous sushi bar dishes, such as handrolled maki with salmon and mango, or tuna and avocado arranged in a martini glass with masago roe.