Sushi House Hayakawa, aptly named for owner Atsushi “Art” Hayakawa, has quickly established itself in what has become a densely populated sushi scene. Now while this is no Soto, Hayakawa will serve as one of the better alternatives for any of my fellow “Soto-ites.”
The interior is distinctly Japanese, the staff is extremely pleasant, and Art is a lively one. Though people are not greeted quite as robustly as are the guests of Sushi-Huku, right away you will get the sense that this is a carefree and indulgent atmosphere. So much so that during my second meal there, everyone participated in a game of rock-paper-scissors! My friend came in second, though we both swear she was robbed!
As many other critics will tell you – the clientele at a sushi bar is a great indicator of how good the food is. Many will tell you that a large portion of the guests at Sushi House are indeed Japanese. Though I firmly disagree with them in the technical accuracy of that assumption, I do agree with them in its’ spirit. Many of the customers are Asian, and yes some of them are Japanese.
Hayakawa briefly sharpened his tako hiki under the tutelage of Sotohiro Kosugi. In this case, I stress the word briefly – I think he was there less than one week if memory serves me! Haya-san then relocated to Haru Ichiban before he settled in at MF Sushi Bar. He pretty much took care of me personally at MF from ’04 thru ’06. In fact, my satisfaction with MF is in large part due to Haya-san. It is great to see him get out of there as his talents are best utilized in a more relaxed setting!
Alright, enough of the background – let’s get onto the meat of the review: how’s the fish? In a nutshell, it is excellent. The majority of the fish is flown in daily from Japan. However, I was very pleased to hear that Haya-san will cherry pick a few things from other regions. Though I find the dishes prepared by the kitchen to be somewhat disjointed, everything that I have had from the sushi bar has been excellent at best, and very good at worst.
At Sushi House, they take great pride in the plating and presentation of the food. Haya-san’s creativity reminds me of my beloved Soto. Though the sashimi is not phenomenal, it is excellent. Each piece is precise and refined; additionally, all of the fish has the appropriate texture (which is very important with sushi!). Many of the items Haya-san served me during my visits were signature dishes of his. As such, I strongly suggest you order omakase and mention a willingness to experiment. In addition, while the dishes that are put out by the kitchen leave your palette confused, the cooked items prepared at the sushi bar are excellent.
I am quite pleased with the selection of sake. Though it is not the best list I have ever seen, the list did surpass my expectations. If you are not familiar with sake, you are best off playing pointy finger roulette as the wait staff does not seem terribly up to speed with the choices. They will let you sample a couple before you settle on your sake of choice.
Though distance is a huge detractor for me, I intend to get back up here just as much as I possibly can. Oh, and before I forget: Though the website is pretty much a disaster – it is DEFINITELY worth at least one visit. As of this writing, you are treated to a flash “Batman-esk” Christmas card that features Art!
Address: Chamblee, 5979 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30340 // P: 770.986.0010