Naan N Curry is an Pakistani-Indian restaurant on Breckenridge Road a block or so north of the Breckenridge intersection on Pleasant Hill Road. It offers an inexpensive buffet at lunch, one very easy to get to and get into. Just pick up a plate, choose your foods, and pay once you’re done. The clientele are mixed. There are plenty of South Asians here, and watching whole families show in traditional dress is visually exciting.

img_6899

img_6901

Buffet items. Top and right has cabbage curry.

Buffet items. Top and right has cabbage curry.

The buffet has perhaps 15-20 choices or so at lunch, a salad bar that contains chutneys, among other things, and slices of jalapenos that have pretty reasonable spice to them. The buffet is notably clean, not as confused as the one in Asma’s Cuisine.

There was one notable dish out of the ones served here. The cabbage curry is quite good and worth your time and effort. Other dishes were lacking something, perhaps even disappointing. I’ve never had a single solid piece of beef when I show here. All I see in the beef dishes are plenty of bones. Outside of the cabbage curry, the dishes lack spice.

Asma’s is a spicier, more interesting buffet in my opinion, nor does Naan N Curry rise to the level of the buffet in Moksha Kitchen. Now, you won’t suffer from eating here, but if you’re wanting plenty of flavor, consider alternatives.

Naan N Curry
3083 Breckinridge Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 912-9924

Naan 'N Curry on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Jang Su Jang is not a place to try during peak hours, because you’ll wait. Koreans know the place cold, are the bulk of the customers here, and keep coming back. I don’t blame them. The building is well and strongly built, with thick wooden frames that evoke an almost medieval sense of solidity. The tools used here, the stone bowls, plates for stone bowls, are again, solidly constructed, and show signs of heavy heavy use. People eat here, and they eat here a lot.

In the  beginning, water and  barley  tea.

In the beginning, water and barley tea.

Banchan? As fresh as their reputation.

Banchan? As fresh as their reputation.

Soon dubu, a rich and thick version of this dish. Bowls used lack the shine of new ones being sold at Super H, and  show signs of heavy use.

Soon dubu, a rich and thick version of this dish. Bowls used lack the shine of new ones being sold at Super H, and show signs of heavy use.

Bibimbap construction kit. Toss this over the rice (in a stone bowl, not shown).

Bibimbap construction kit. Toss this over the rice (in a stone bowl, not shown).

Other reviewers (e.g. Sean, of Take Thou Food and Chloe, of Chow Down Atlanta) have remarked that the mandoo is exceptional here, the soon dubu (silky tofu soup) is quite good, and the other dishes are okay. Sean noted the freshness of the banchan, a real sticking point for him. Bella Viviere, by contrast, felt Jang Su Jang was generally good, but pricey. I had soon dubu this day, as did my wife, and my daughter had the bibimbap. We enjoyed what we had, but we didn’t eat enough to really challenge any critical notions of this place. I will say that if you eat sanely, this place is not expensive. It when you try to delve into various specials for 2 or more that it can become more expensive.

When you arrive you will be served barley tea. It’s an acquired taste, served other places as well. More Americanized spots won’t bother. There is a button on the table, as in many Korean eateries, but this one is a little hard to see and not as obvious as in many places. You can ring the button to tell waitstaff to come to your table. Banchan should come out just before your meal arrives. At lunch, service was actually pretty fast, even though there were enough folks the day we showed that we had a couple minute wait before being seated.

Everything we had was good. I liked the food, but the atmosphere, even more. If you want to feel immersed in the character of a culture, this place can put you into that frame of mind. It doesn’t act like an American eatery, and isn’t trying to be. But it’s accommodating enough to those who grew up around pine trees, cotton, peaches, and red clay, playing backyard football till you have to swim to cut through the sweat, that you’ll enjoy the meal. And for those looking for the “authentic experience”, this certainly can provide.

Jang Su Jang
3645 Satellite Boulevard
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 475-9170

Jang Su Jang on Urbanspoon

Blue Fin is the reincarnation of Sakana Ya, moved north along Peachtree Industrial from the Tilly Mill intersection to a location above Duluth Highway. It’s pretty enough inside to take a date, serves nice large bowls of food, has quite a few Japanese clientele.

This is more likely what you'll see when approaching Blue Fin.

This is more likely what you’ll see when approaching Blue Fin.

img_6817

I would describe the menu as smaller, but reasonably diverse. We came at lunch, so really have no feel for the dinner menu. There is a long sushi bar on one side, and a scattering of tables throughout the space. If I had to guess at capacity, it looks as if it could handle 50-75 diners. Although it’s not postage stamp tiny, it’s not a huge place.

img_6812

Outside of sushi, there were tempura and donburi offerings, ramen and noodles of various kinds, edamame, tonkatsu, the seaweed salad I ordered, as well as tuna tataki. Sushi selections were not limited to nigiri and rolls. They had a good looking chirashi zushi on the menu, and the salmon bowl, a second cousin to chirashi, was what my daughter ordered. The salmon roe in the dish looked quite appealing.

img_6813

The tuna tataki was a photo op on a plate. The dishes in Blue Fin present well, and are graceful on the table.

Tuna tataki.

Tuna tataki.

We enjoyed the eatery quite a bit. I didn’t see any signs of wildly overpriced food, given the serving sizes involved. Prices here are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. And at Blue Fin, what you get is a quality dining experience.

Blue Fin Sushi
2863 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30097
(770) 232-5004

Blue Fin Sushi on Urbanspoon

Las Costas Nayaritas is unique. There is nothing like this restaurant in the city. It is an eatery focused almost purely on coastal Mexican seafood combinations. The closest to this theme was the old U.S.S. Vallarta, now long gone from Gwinnett Place Mall. There was a restaurant similar to this that I saw in Dallas, Big Shucks, but Big Shucks was largely oriented towards shrimp cocktails of various kinds, inexpensive beer, and futbol on large television screens.

img_6776

I showed up at this restaurant a day before their Grand Opening, at a time when their lunch menu was also their dinner menu, and so the lunch I had may not be the lunch offering you get. What I saw were a lot of staple seafood varieties and not a lot of exotica. There were things on the menu like crab, clams, oysters, shrimp, and octopus. Fish included tilapia, salmon, and perhaps a flatfish or two. There aren’t many exotic or rare items.

Tortillas are large, crisp, corn based and a little granular on the tongue. The tostada appetizer is better than anything I ever had at Lobster House.

Tortillas are large, crisp, corn based and a little granular on the tongue. The free tostada appetizer is better than anything I ever had at Lobster House.

The plates of food tend to be expensive, relative to prices you might see at a Red Lobster. But by way of compensation, the serving sizes are *enormous*. No other word for it, enormous. This is a place to feed a lot of people with a few plates of food.

Unless you eat Thai bird peppers for fun, be sparing of this hot sauce.

Unless you eat Thai bird peppers for fun, be sparing of this hot sauce.

What I ordered was the filete relleno, which Google tells me translates to ‘stuffed filet’. In fact this is a filet of tilapia over which a mixed bag of seafood and white cheese is poured. Again, the serving easily could have fed two and for the price, was actually a generous amount of food.

This photo doesn't really give the viewer any feel for how large this plate really is.

This photo doesn’t really give the viewer any feel for how large this plate really is.

I spent a lot of time fishing the interesting bits out of the white cheese and trying them out. The dish was delicious. The octopus ran a little chewy but it was sliced so thin that wasn’t an issue. In the mix were things like fish, shrimp, octopus, crab meat, sauteed mushrooms, and various vegetables.

The sheer novelty of the restaurant has me contemplating it still. I think what would work best for most folks is to go in groups, buy one or two plates and share. I don’t think it has small amounts of food for small eaters. Serving size tends to be enough for two normal eaters (or one Chloe Morris).

Update 9/8/2013: as Emily of Spatial Drift points out, the style of this cuisine is Nayarit. A nice introduction to Nayarit cuisine online can be found here.

Las Costas Nayaritas
1555 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 635-6000

Las Costas Nayaritas on Urbanspoon

If laid back and casual are what you want in a restaurant, you’ll love Oh! My Samgyupsal. If you like waitstaff that for the most part have flawless English, you’ll like Oh! My Samgyupsal. If you want good bbq in an atmosphere that doesn’t feel like an “after the karaoke” event, then this eatery may be good for you. All that said, if you’re a newbie to Korean BBQ, this also is a great place to start.

img_6784

If you’re wanting a fancy place to impress the relatives, this isn’t it. The tables and chairs are pretty ordinary and there is graffiti everywhere. I happen to like places with graffiti, it’s a very college thing to do, but it’s not for everyone. The drawings, however, show some artistic touches and it can be fun trying to recognize the folks they often parody.

img_6788

sprouts, kimchi, and some brisket getting "the treatment".

sprouts, kimchi, and some brisket getting “the treatment”.

I’d rate the food as good. The brisket isn’t as fine as the marinated brisket at Honey Pig but it is very thinly sliced and tastes very good if it’s well crisped. There are multiple kinds of pork belly, including the garlic pork belly that Bella Viviere likes. My family are hardly pork belly fans so we tend to eat brisket, wraps, “salad”, and cooked sprouts and kimchi.

If I haven’t suggested this so far, staff may be the best thing this restaurant has going for it. The English the staff use is mostly flawless. And therefore, if you’re one of the folks who has never had “all you can eat” BBQ in the city, this is one of the most English friendly spots you could start with.

In short, Oh! My Damgyupsal is a perfect spot for a beginner, a great spot for a casual crowd, a useful respite from the late night oriented eateries.

Oh! My Samgyupsal
3585 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096

Oh! My Samgyupsal on Urbanspoon

The lunch buffet here is a syrupy mess, with beef, curries and chicken tikka. It’s inexpensive: a buffet and a soda cost less than 8 dollars. It can be, at times, hard to dig the meats out of the pools of broth, and access to one or another ingredient may be very dependent on whether the buffet is recently stocked.

img_6766

img_6767

Beef nehari, beef karahi, and on the bottom of the photo, bagare baingan.

Still, it was good, with decent spice in some dishes. I especially liked the beef nehari. There was decent flavor in that dish. I wasn’t as pleased with the beef karahi, which seemed all bones to me. The bagare baingan was quite good, and at times, could really bring on the heat.

The mall Asma’s is located in is a halal hotbed, full of small places to eat. Further, in the mall, an Indian Chinese restaurant is going to arrive soon.

img_6765

I don’t recall convenient Indian Chinese since the one restaurant on Peachtree Industrial was around (back when Books Japan was on Peachtree Industrial, and in the same mall).

Asma’s Cuisine
3099 Breckinridge Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 380-9548

Asma's Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Bahama Breeze surprised me a little. I thought it was a singles bar, but turns out to be a casual food concept, with a lot of space, wicker furniture, reasonable if not ambitious eats. It affects a bit of island influence, but is hardly that. Food similar to what they serve here can be found in Cheeseburger in Paradise, Frontera’s, and some of the simpler dishes from Red Lobster.

The lack of ambition is heralded up front when the chef’s special the night I came was wood grilled fish. In fact, that’s what I had when I came here, a beer and their wood grilled salmon. Understand, wood grilled fish isn’t the special on most seafood places, it’s a central part of the repertoire. I can get a decent cedar plank salmon at Shucks in Loganville and theirs comes served on the plank of wood. Not so at Bahama Breeze.

Wood grilled salmon.

Wood grilled salmon.

That said, it was a good plate of fish. The salmon had a lemony balm, the vegetables were decent, the service was very good to excellent. The bar, where I sat, had wry understated staff, very likable. It’s a perfectly good restaurant as long as your expectations aren’t exceptional and you avoid any really ambitious dishes. Otherwise, your dining experience could end up like Chloe’s, here.

Last, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how the driving habits of Bahama Breeze patrons affected everyone for some years. It was typical for Bahama Breeze patrons to stop in a no stop zone at the corner of I-85 and Pleasant Hill, waiting for enough traffic to clear so they could cut across three lanes of Pleasant Hill Road traffic in about 100 yards. Why they didn’t just continue on to the light, turn right and then do a quick 180 off a local lane, I never understood. But it happened so often and so frequently, it was easy to hate this restaurant. The recent redesign of the bridge and all the intersections nearby has eliminated a lot of these issues.

Bahama Breeze
3590 Breckinridge Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 935-6509

Bahama Breeze on Urbanspoon