Unpretentious Imari is a Sushi Hit
I first heard about Imari about 2 years ago, when an article in the AJC stated the local Japanese contingent had migrated from Soto to Imari when Soto was temporarily closed. The first thing you will notice is the very basic Japanese themed interior. This is not an LA club disguised as a sushi bar. Imari places their emphasis on other areas of the dining experience, instead of an eclectic or fancy decor. The next thing you may notice is that it never seems too crowded. Don't let this distract you. The sushi is amongst the best in the city, with slightly better prices than the pretentious MF Sushibar and the reknowned Soto.
The menu is an extensive assortment of sushi and traditional Japanese fare. Lady Steakhead and I started with a bowl of miso soup and some seaweed salad. We next moved to the rolls. The Dynamite Roll (formerly called Gekkikari Roll) is the best spicy roll in the city. Crunchy spicy tuna with an extra topping of hot sauce. We also tried the Volcano Roll. Not a traditional roll, the Volcano features a California Roll in a bowl, covered with a concoction of partially cooked tuna, clams, spciy mayo and rooster sauce (the spicy red sauce served in Asian cuisine- named for the rooster sketch on the bottle).
The Nigiri is also amongst the best in town. The yellowtail being the best of the best. We splurged on the Toro (fatty tuna from the tuna belly), though it was just a tad rubbery and not worth $5 a piece price tag.
So, you ask- How did the bill compare to the pricier places in town? It is definitely more reasonable than MF or Soto, but you can get into trouble when ordering a la carte. Imari does offer several complete sushi and sashimi dinner options that may be a better deal at the end of the day. But we like the rolls so much, that it wouldn't be a huge saver for us.
Bottom line is this place is a must for the true sushi lover in Atlanta. I have been to the places that consider themselves the best, but this place is truly it. Grade: A.
PS- Steakhead finally reviews a steakhouse. Coming this weekend!