When Tomo Japanese Restaurant moved from Vinings to a much larger and fancier space on the ground floor of the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Buckhead late last year, chef Tomohiro Naito seemed like he was going for the golden ring. With the decampment of Soto Japanese Restaurant to New York (where it promptly earned two Michelin stars) and the closing of MF Buckhead, Tomo was poised to be become the city’s preeminent sushi bar.
In my review, I found the restaurant to be an exciting and ambitious addition to the city’s dining scene but also sensed that the kitchen wasn’t quite up to the performance of the sushi bar.
Now there’s a new direction in the kitchen. Naito has hired Nick Anderson, a former sous chef at Canoe, to help him rework the menu. It now has fewer small plates and more typical Japanese restaurant entrees. While the menu looks less ambitious than before, it feels more focused. Anderson is slowly getting his bearings here, and making some intriguing specials. At left you have a Japanese-style onigiri (rice ball). But this one comes filled with smoky pulled pork and sits atop a Sriracha gastrique sauce. In other words, it’s North Carolina barbecue speaking with a Japanese accent. Fun stuff.
Naito has also refined his omakase (chef’s choice) menu options. You can order a very reasonable $50 menu that features a number of his classic dishes and a small sushi assortment. Or, if you call ahead, Naito will prepare a market omakase beginning at $100.
And the à la carte sushi, as you see above, remains superlative.