Doraku Sushi located in the Shops at Buckhead Atlanta is both a serious Japanese restaurant with items like Scallop with Monkfish Liver, Oyster with O-Toro, and Sea Urchin noodles and a crowd pleaser with a beautiful atmosphere and Salmon Sashimi Taco and Double Happiness Roll.
I’ve been to many media dinners, but Chef Todd Dae Kulper and the staff really outdid themselves with the 9-course meal they provided for The Association of Food Bloggers last month. Dining at Doraku is a feast of taste and texture, but it all begins with the sense of sight. Not only is the food gorgeously presented, the decor of Doraku is magnificent. From the large wood table carved from one tree to the beautiful and intricate wood carvings, the colorful lanterns, Doraku seduces you with its cool vibe.
Our table was already full of sensible yet tasty snacks of Lotus Root chips (much like potato chips but healthier), edamame and Sake. However, we all ate sparingly knowing a 9-course meal was ahead of us.
Pictured at the top, is the James River Oyster. Such detail in the presentation. I should tell you that the menu we sampled at Doraku was designed to give us a sampling of their best dishes, so this in no way represents portions or quantities you’d get when you go there. But we totally wish Chef Kulper would do an Omakase similar to this on a regular basis as this was a killer meal.
A second course at Doraku featured a Salmon Sashimi Taco, Deviled Egg, Ahi Tuna Poke, Eggplant Miso and Alaskan Cod. Wow! The salmon taco was a favorite of the table, but I equally enjoyed the Ahi Tuna. See that green bottle that keeps appearing (below)? That’s our Sake for the evening. Though I’ve never been a big fan of Sake, this brand, Dancing Crane, expertly goes with every dish we eat that evening at Doraku. The label says it is 15 percent alcohol, so go easy if you aren’t used to Sake.
A Roasted Truffle Salmon is complex and blended with flavors you wouldn’t expect. There’s a guacamole sauce plus a Yuzu sauce (below right). This sauce with Yuzu very closely resembles a hollandaise sauce. Can you imagine how delicious this would be on a salmon benedict?
Another course sampling included Doraku’s Brussels Sprouts. If you know a brussels hater, have them try these and they will be converted after just one bite. Another item, the Chicken fried Octopus, resembled chicken nuggets, but after one bite, there was no disguising the octopus. Chef Kulper says they use fresh, never frozen octopus, which ensures Doraku’s octopus is not rubbery or chewy. And then there was the monkfish liver, which tasted like…wait for it…chicken liver.
If you enjoy ramen, then you will love the Sea Urchin pasta (pictured below) at Doraku. Chef Kulper tells us it is the extra gluten in the pasta that gives it the creamy consistency. Sorry celiacs. This is a perfect dish for a cold, rainy winter evening.
Where’s the sushi? You were starting to wonder, right? Never worry. The next two courses of the evening at Doraku give us our sushi fix. The first is a trio of Nigiri: tuna, salmon, and grilled-in-butter King crab. Doraku sources their foods from all over; the tuna from Hawaii and the salmon from Faroe Island. While we all devoured this sushi, even if we were on the course #7, the crab was a clear favorite of the group. Gotta be the butta!
I’d already made up my mind that eight courses was plenty and that I would be skipping dessert. Until they brought dessert to the table. Tempura. Fried. Brownie. I ate ever last bite and don’t feel guilty about it.
Tip: Doraku Sushi has many discounts on food and drink during the week.
Monday: Industry Night (1/2 off Izakaya)
Tuesday: Wildcard Night (different specials)
Wednesday: Ladies Night ($7 specialty cocktails)
Thursday: $2 Pints
Friday – Sunday: 25 percent off for teachers.
Note that most restaurants in this complex offer validation up to three hours of parking. But as Roger of Friday Date Night put it “Don’t overstay your welcome.” Because if you do, they’ll hit you up for the full amount – $8. That being said, three hours should be plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely meal at Doraku. Most people won’t be having a 9-course meal. Disclosure: Our meal was in conjunction with The Association of Food Bloggers and was complimentary but the opinions expressed are 100 percent my own.
The Shops Buckhead Atlanta
267 E. Paces Ferry RD NE.
Atlanta, GA 30305