Thursday, June 21, 2012

Buckhead Will Soon Welcome Two New Japanese Eateries

Orlando-based Amura will soon open in place of MF Buckhead in Terminus.  MF closed this past February, after opening in 2007.  The restaurant received a Five Star rating from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, a rarity these days, but was far more expensive than Atlantans or evenout of towners were accustomed to.  The Kinjos closed MF Sushi Midtown this past November following the January 2011 closing of NAM.  At the time of the Buckhead closure, the Kinjos indicated they were in talks to relocate MF Buckhead to a smaller, more economical location on Pharr Road, but sources say the Kinjos are no longer in Georgia and are instead (planning to open) in Houston, Texas.

Amura owner Chris Chung, actually trained Chris Kinjo years ago, and will open a similar restaurant where his protege failed.  Chung has two distinct advantages in having an established restaurant with steady cash flow and a far more approachable price point.  I'm told that one could dine at Amura for about $10 at lunch and around $30 at dinner, prices that would likely only cover tax & tip at MF.  I have yet to dine at Amura myself, but sources tell me it's definitely better than nearby Ru San's.

Amura also will offer far more variety than MF did, with an expanded selection of Japanese favorites and other Asian fare.  The menu is likely to include items such as cashew and / or sesame chicken in addition to Yakisoba noodles.  New York beef teriyaki and Wagyu beef are also likely to be found on the menu in addition to crab cakes and miso soup.  The restaurant will also feature a kids' menu with meat, fish and noodle options with the ubiquitous french fry pairing for younger diners.  

Chung plans a total renovation of the space, completely transforming the current layout into a far more user friendly setup.  Having just recently executed a lease on the space, Chung hopes to be open by late December or early January. 

Not far down Peachtree at Two Buckhead Plaza, Fuyuhiko Ito and his wife Lisa (who handled service at the Omakase room at MF Buckhead and made their desserts), will open in the former Mayor's Jewelers space.  Ito, a robatayaki master, plans to open his as yet unnamed 60-70 seat Japanese eatery that will undoubtedly feature a great selection of sushi options.  

The space is hidden from view from both Peachtree and West Paces but is easily accessible from the nearby St. Regis Hotel as well as numerous white collars in the area. Mayor's moved to this space a few years ago, after closing its Peachtree Road location (now Brown & Co.) but now operates locations in both Lenox and Phipps and opted to close the Buckhead Plaza location. Given the proximity of the hotel and offices and other eateries like Chops Lobster Bar and Seasons 52, the limited visibility may be less of an issue than it is for others.  It's worth noting that Bento Sushi-To-Go opened in a street level space in the same project (on West Paces Ferry, facing Whole Foods) but has since closed.  Bento featured an approachable menu but limited offerings and difficult parking.  

No opening timetable for Ito's new venture thus far, but I'd hope to see them open by the fourth quarter of this year.  

Where is your favorite sushi restaurant in Buckhead... in Atlanta ... in the U.S.?  Who do you think is better situated for success?  Are you just glad that the egotistical Kinjo brothers have left town?  Please weigh in below in the comments section.  


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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"it's definitely better than nearby Ru San's"

Gorton's Fishsticks are better than Ru San's!!

Chris Routledge said...

Sushi house in Buckhead is very underrated - intimate, almost NYC feel to it with food that never disappoints..

Jinny said...

Sushi Huku in Marietta is definitely the best sushi in Atl~

Anonymous said...

MF SUCKED price point wise. The new place will last much longer. There is something to be said for volume and quality.

kittenmasks said...

So, so excited about the opening of Amura. He has impeccable design taste, so I'm sure the space is going to be utilized beautifully.

There is no good sushi in Buckhead. The best sashimi is (without a doubt) Shoya, which is surprising as it's traditionally billed as an izakaya. Best hamichi and freshest tuna in this land locked city.

Anonymous said...

@kittenmasks

as if non-landlocked US cities are teeming with fresh sushi-grade fish ready to be plucked out of the adjacent ocean...

Michael said...

I'm tired of all the froufrou Japanese places sprouting up around the city. To me, they’re no more appealing than a Benihana. Atlanta really needs a good, traditional Edo-style sushi place or a high end Kaiseke-style restaurant.

Allen Mueller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allen Mueller said...

um, no. Hayakawa is the only zero-BS sushi place in Atlanta. Although Shoya Izakaya is a great place for grilled fish and beer, it's definitely not the best sushi available. Ru San is mashiska - so there's no point in even bringing it up.

Allen Mueller said...

um, no. Hayakawa is the only zero-BS sushi place in Atlanta. Although Shoya Izakaya is a great place for grilled fish and beer, it's definitely not the best sushi available. Ru San is mashiska - so there's no point in even bringing it up.

kittenmasks said...

Allen - I said SASHIMI. I've never had sushi at Shoya.

Atlanta can't afford kaiseki, and it doesn't have the power to entice a skilled chef to offer that type of dining.

Anonymous said...

Bishoku in Sandy Springs is the best kept secret in town. Very authentic.

Anonymous said...

Just read amura reviews in Florida... hope urban spoon is wrong... looking toward to a new sushi place here...