Sushi Avenue on Scenic Highway in Snellville is the third restaurant in a small Atlanta chain that began with the original restaurant on Ponce De Leon and was continued with a second restaurant in Decatur Square. It has been around at least since 1997, and though by almost all measures is a popular restaurant, it hasn’t been visited by any media or bloggers in some time.
What we saw today was a place that had newly opened, and was conveniently located on Scenic Highway just opposite the large mall that houses O’Charleys and Texas Roadhouse. The new “Grand Opening” sign simply cannot be missed.
Upon entering the eatery, you enter a longish room, with 4 booths to the left, a sushi bar in front of you and a bit to the right. To the immediate right, there are a couple more tables and there are also a few tables past the sushi bar. We were seated at a booth, and given a large menu, as well as a sheet which had a few dozen sushi choices, both nigiri and various rolls. Both staff and chefs appear to be Japanese.
From discussions on Citysearch and Yelp, I expected a very limited menu, but that’s not what I saw. There are dozens of dishes available at Sushi Avenue, including things most hibachi restaurants would never have. There is yakitori, for example. There are three different kinds of gyoza. Edamame is available. Donburi of various kinds can be obtained. You can order tonkatsu, and chirashi sushi is also available. For those looking for something other than garden variety teriyaki meats or tempura, I’d strongly recommend perusing Sushi Avenue’s specials.
My wife ordered a tempura and chicken teriyaki plate. My daughter was dying to try donburi, so she ordered the oyakodon. I ordered otsukemono (Japanese pickles) and their salt grilled salmon, a couple sushi rolls and some nigiri. It wasn’t long before the pickles, miso soup and a couple small salads arrived:
The pickles were good, the miso soup was good, the salads were good. Soon after the salt grilled salmon showed up, followed soon after by the sushi.
The salmon was the hit of the meal, firm but tender and it tasted great. The sushi was good as well. The maguro (tuna) nigiri was blessed with a thick slice of tuna, richly red. And soon after those two came, my daughter received her donburi and my wife got her tempura.
I only got a taste of the donburi after a while, but my daughter ate too much for it to be a bad dish. My wife’s dish, she really enjoyed the tempura but the teriyaki was just okay. She told me after the fact that she probably should have gotten the nabeyaki udon along with some tempura. She also said with a contented smile, “We can take my mom here.” As my mother-in-law is full blooded Japanese, that is fairly impressive praise.
To summarize, this was a very good meal. It wasn’t a perfect meal, but a very good meal. What impressed me was the breadth of the menu and the authenticity of the experience. I’ve talked about what makes a Japanese meal in America authentic before, and that’s when a Japanese restaurant gives you enough real choices to have some sense of the quality, breadth and character of the cuisine. It’s not about the Brookwood High roll or the Super Duper Snellville Roll in the end. And it makes me wonder if Sushi Avenue, in all its guises, has been seriously underestimated.
Verdict: Good food, good sushi, good service, with a diverse enough cuisine to deliver an authentic Japanese experience. Highly Recommended.
2118 Scenic Highway, Suite F
Snellville GA, 30078