It’s a small place, Taka Sushi, and without the road sign would be easy to miss. The Pharr location brings back memories of driving into town to browse at Oxford Books, unfortunately long since gone. Ever since Foodie Buddha posted his list of chefs that blog, though, I’ve had Taka Sushi marked down for a visit. Part of the appeal is the size: I know I won’t get a loud crowd in a tiny eatery. Further, it hearkens to the tendency in Japan to very small eateries. Zack Davisson, for example, is open about the lack of personalized eateries, so often seen in Japan. So yes, Taka is the “real deal”.

My daughter was going to a prom, just off Clairmont Road. My wife wanted to stick close by. I saw a chance to pick a Buckhead eatery and I’ve been looking forward to this one for months. So we suffered the minor hell that is Lenox Road and made our way down to Pharr. I was expecting to see a park and then the eatery but the sign soon loomed to our left. Parking is small and a little cramped. Taka itself is in a small brick building too far from the road to see. The sign is your best bet.

Taka has indoor and outdoor seating. With the weather being cool, staff was offering outdoor seating a lot. With my wife’s asthma and the harsh-for-asthmatics Atlanta spring, I asked to sit inside. A quick look at the menu showed a lot of sushi and a lot of drinks. There were a few Japanese foods. Udon was one, and there were also soba noodles. Tonkatsu, one of my wife’s favorites, was one of the specials this day. I ordered a salmon ceviche while my wife made up her mind.

She asked for the extended Japanese menu, and then asked plenty of questions about the differences between the two udon Taka served. As the fancier version seems too fancy to her, she tried the plainer udon. In the meantime, I ordered salmon roe sushi and then later black cod. The sushi was inhaled; I have almost no pictures of sushi because it was getting eaten way too fast. Sorry, it had been a long day and we were hungry. That said, the salmon roe were tasty, salty, pristine. The cod was delicate, fatty, savory.

My wife liked her udon but thought it a little too plain. She later ordered octopus sushi and that went over extremely well, so much so she ordered a second pair. Her comment was, “Very fresh”. I had mackerel sushi and it also lacked any fishy flavor I’ve normally associated with mackerel. When you go to a sushi expert, it should be no surprise that you get expertly crafted sushi.

I ordered a salad and Taka’s tsukemono (pickles). It’s perhaps the best tsukemono plate I’ve seen served at a Japanese restaurant. Yes, it does not compare with Korean banchan in terms of sheer diversity, but quality and taste were there.

In short, this is a terrific place to eat. Staff is graceful, helpful, largely unobtrusive. Any reputation Taka has is earned. Sushi quality is high, the digs are nice, the place a keeper. I will be back, even if it takes another prom visit to get us here.

Verdict: Perhaps the best example of a small, high quality sushi shop in Atlanta. I’d rate this place as exceptional, my highest ranking.

Taka Sushi and Passion
375 Pharr Road
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 869-2802

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