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Ethnic dining mashup

Today I’m going to do a round-up of dishes I’ve recently had around town. Some of these were research for blog stories or revisits of existing ones to try other things that I didn’t get to the first go-around.

It must be Japanese

If there is one cuisine I eat on a consistent basis more than others, it is Japanese. I wouldn’t say metro Atlanta’s Japanese restaurants are world class but they are respectable.

Chicken karaage and ikura

Chicken karaage and ikura

On a recent evening after work, I visited Sakura (named after Japanese cherry blossoms) in East Cobb. I ordered some crunchy chicken karaage (think chicken nuggets) and several pieces of nigiri, which included ikura or fish eggs formed gunkan style (seaweed wrapped around rice shaped in a boat form). The sushi here is decent (not spectacular) and the chef is pleasant and chatty. If you are in the area and looking for a light dining option, stop in.

Sakura Japanese Restaurant, 4880 Lower Roswell Roadd # 130, Marietta. 770-565-6369.

nasu

Nasu dengaku

Then there is Nakato off Cheshire Bridge Road, which has been around in Atlanta as long as I have. They have a lovely small dish on their menu called nasu dengaku, or miso grilled eggplant. It is made with the thinner, tubular Japanese eggplant and grilled in its skin with a sweet miso glaze, and then topped with black sesame seeds. Two words – yum mee.

Nakato, 1776 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E., Atlanta, 404-873-6582.

Ethiopian breakfast

bfastI’ve been meaning to follow up on my recent review of the stellar Desta Ethiopian Kitchen off Briarcliff Road. One thing I wanted to work in the review (but didn’t get to unfortunately) was the breakfast I had there. My wife and I went one Sunday morning and sampled their breakfast combo big enough for two. It’s a large plate filled with kinche (crushed wheat, sort of like a drier cream of wheat), lamb fir fir (injera bread soaked in red pepper spice with cubes of lamb) and some of the best scrambled eggs I’ve had in a while. The eggs are mixed with onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and seasoned with red pepper and Ethiopian butter. And of course, injera comes with it and is replenished until you’ve had your fill.

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen, 3086 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta, 404-929-0011.

Korean AYCE (all you can eat) barbecue

Sun and Moon Cafe - Duluth

Sun and Moon Cafe - Duluth

Wow, Korean + all you can eat = win win, no? There are a few spots in Duluth offering all you can eat Korean barbecue, which includes Iron Age for samgyeopsal (pork bellies) and chadolbaegi (thin brisket), Song Do for a mishmash of barbecue combinations that get more expensive the higher up the meat quality chain you go, and Sun and Moon Cafe, a fun AYCE offering indoor and outdoor seating (albeit covered).

Sun and Moon Cafe offers AYCE for $9.99 with the caveat that you order alcohol. According to an employee that I spoke to there, a two beer or one bottle of soju/sake order per person minimum is required to get the $9.99 deal. Otherwise, $14.99 and there is no alcohol requirement.

The meat that you get is like Iron Age, strips of thick samgyeopsal and curled thin ribbons of chadolbaegi. It comes with banchan and lettuce leave wraps, and you get to cook it all yourself on portable gas griddles.

Sounds like a lot of work, but it really happens to be a lot of fun.

Sun and Moon Cafe, 3555 Gwinnett Place Drive # 101, Duluth. 678-417-6755.

Gene-Lee-Tagline- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog

– Gene Lee writes about International Cuisine for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.

2 comments Add your comment

Edward

March 24th, 2011
2:01 pm

I like Iron Age (it’s not awesome, but quite enjoyable and filling), so I will have to give Sun and Moon Cafe a try.

That breakfast at Desta sounds great except for the injera. Wonder if they would mind if I brought some nan or a pita? ;-)

Gene Lee

March 28th, 2011
11:14 am

@Edward – I would give Desta a call if you want to bring your own, but the breakfast combo we ordered came with a small loaf of wheat bread.