Remember my favorite combo meal?
The truth is, when I first tried the Hokkai Don (sushi rice with uni, ikura, shrimp) I thought the salmon roe (eggs) tasted funny. They were not as salty as usual, and didn’t have the briny bump they usually bring. I had to try it again and get to the bottom of the situation.
I went to Sushi House Hayakawa with my favorite Atlanta foodie friend, Hilla. She had never been and I had a love/suspicious relationship with the Buford Highway restaurant.
We ordered a slew of dishes and shared them all:
Jellyfish salad with a strong note of citrus-y ponzu sauce. Woke up the palate and added an a nice crunch
Matsuake mushroom appetizer: not my thing (don’t like mushrooms), but Hilla said it was top notch
Grilled squid leg flavored by house special sauce (or salt) served with Japanese Mayo: it was hard to share this one because I loved it so. I almost ordered a second plate to eat by myself. It was smoky from the grilling, with a slight crisp combined with a hefty chew-factor. Sprinkled with lemon and dipped in the Japanese Mayo and I could make a meal out of a few orders of this.
Zuke Don (a collection of fresh cut fish marinated in house special wasabi sauce arranged over sushi rice): a nice sampling platter with a slight deviation from the usual sashimi. The addition of the sauce allowed the different cuts of fish to blend together without getting any one overpowering the rest. Highly recommended for the types who are inching towards eating sashimi but are a bit scared.
Salmon Tartar topped with scallop: suggested by the sushi chef because according to him, the scallop was exceptional (always ask what’s the freshest, or just flown in!). This was a bit more mild than the rest of the meal, so the pure, silky, smooth, fish flavors took center stage. The ingredients alone demonstrate how this dish can’t fail: salmon, avocado, scallop, ikura, japanese mayo – stellar bites when each element was combined on a chopstick.
Lastly, we had to order the Hokkai Don:
Similar to the ‘Don’ in mobster movies, this is the be-all end-all in sushi. Simply put – Fresh Sea Urchin, marinated Salmon eggs, Sweet Shrimps and lightly fried Shrimp head over sushi rice. I learned the ikura tastes different than elsewhere because the chef is from a northern Japanese island where they prefer their ikura sweeter. Therefore, he marinates his fish eggs in a house-made sauce with soy sauce and a few other secret ingredients. Mystery solved! I enjoyed the departure in the usual taste once I learned the background information and after I heard Hilla rave about it (osmosis is a real thing).
Sufficiently full, we hung around the sushi bar and watched the gregarious chef (Hayakawa himself) grate fresh wasabi.
And he shared a bit with us:
Sushi House Hayakawa
5979 Buford Highway NE
Atlanta, GA 30340
http://www.atlantasushibar.com (awesome pics!)