Dining Out: Brush Sushi Izakaya
I'm guessing most of us know what defines sushi. However, I'm also guessing most of us DON'T know the Japanese word "Izakaya" which is basically the Japanese equivalent of a tavern. So when you're looking for Japanese food, if you choose a sushi restaurant expect raw fish, rolls, and a minimum of cooked dishes. However, if you go to a sushi IZAKAYA restaurant, expect an assortment of cooked food as well.
The good news is Atlanta has several incredible options for izakaya around town. In fact between Miso Izakaya in O4W, Shoya Izakaya in Doraville, and now Brush in Decatur, you have every opportunity to experience the fabulousness of Japanese "tavern" life.
While all three of these spots are really terrific, Brush has the distinct advantage of having both great food AND a wonderful location for post dinner wandering (there's not much to do after dinner in the O4W or Doraville locations). Still, Brush would be worth going to an island for their amazing food. I'm so excited for you guys to find this place!
To start, we went with a cold appetizer, the poke which is tuna, salmon, avocado, house-made chili oil served in a beautiful arrangement.The fish at Brush is never frozen and much of it is flown in from Japan. I swear you can taste the difference. If you've never eaten raw fish, this should be the place to start. AMAZING!
Next we opted for a cooked dish, the dumplings called Wagyu Gyoza which is American kobe beef, cabbage, chives wrapped as dumplings. The dumplings are cooked on a plate with the dough, then flipped over to be served. Thus it appears as a pancake-like dish. However, when you break the dough apart you find your more traditional dumpling. As fun as the presentation is, the taste is better. Definitely put this on your short list!
Next up we ordered the chef's sample Yakitori (2 @veggie/chicken/pork), which are grilled skewers of meat and vegetables. The pictures really don't do the flavors justice. While the veggies were decidedly unremarkable, the chicken and the pork skewers were so richly flavored I could have made a meal of them.
The skewers are cooked on a charcoal grill using Japanese white charcoal which apparently reaches 1000 degrees! I checked out the prep area and the coals were white and oddly shaped - like a long rectangular cube.
Whatever the secret, the output was just delightful!
Next up was the House Chashu Rice with seared pork belly, green onion, soy-cured yolk. We LOVED this dish, but since we had just finished a pork belly skewer, we would probably switch it up next time.
Finally, we were onto a couple of sushi rolls. For me, any decent sushi bar has to have a great spicy tuna offering. Fortunately, Brush does...Doesn't this picture scream GET IN MY BELLY??
I hear it!
That said, the show-stopping, shut-the-front-door, drop-mic, game-changing dish of the night was the final thing we ordered, the Salmon and citrus made with sundried tomato and cucumber.
The next time Creative Loafing comes out with a Best Dish List, this HAS to be on it. I can't even tell you how happy I was to eat this creation. There was a light, tangy taste which was surprising and delightful.
Friends, if you eat at Brush, please let me know what else you order. We are most definitely going back!