Monday, December 1, 2014

Shoya Izakaya - Doraville GA

(also updated my review on Yelp)
Shoya Izakaya is located at 6035 Peachtree Rd Ste A101, Doraville GA 30360 in the Super H Mart shopping center - at the Northern-most end. I've reviewed this restaurant before and was surprised to learn that it had been almost 4 years since the last time I visited, so I've decided to make up for it by taking many photos of a great variety of food, and providing some details lacking in my first review.

Shoya is my favorite restaurant to inform my friends about, when they want to get some traditional Japanese food (my other favorite is Nakato but for different reasons). To get an idea of how long it's been, the last time I ate here the menu was, from what I recall, about 4 pages of text. The current menu is this ginormous volume with tons of glossy photos. If you can't find something on the menu to turn you on then there's something wrong with you. By any standard, this is a fantastic and memorable restaurant. I'm happy to say that the service and quality is still up to par, even with my long absence.

Shoya was more of a type of "drinking" restaurant in the past - what I mean by that is that there are these, well let's call them pubs, in Japan that I experienced while living there, that feature many cask-aged bourbon and better-quality drinks, with small dishes that could be ordered to specifically enhance the drinking experience. These are mostly the kushiyaki that are on the current menu and much of it is served in small portions as yakitori (grilled bits of fish and veggies) in salt or covered with yakitori sauce (the thicker cousin on teriyaki that most Americans are familiar with) - if you're unsure of what to order, try a few of these - they're served on small plates like tappas. I'm happy to say that Shoya has greatly expanded the menu to include many other traditional Japanese treats like udons, soba, ramen and yakisoba (all noodle dishes).

Shoya has many interesting drink items on their extensive menu, however I elected to start things off with one of my favorite Japanese beers, Asahi Dry - note that it may seem expensive on the menu but these come in the big, honking liter bottles so they're actually a great deal.

For dinner, I choose the Tonkotsu Ramen (based on a great review by my friend Debby L.) and asked the waiter about something spicy as a Shoya special roll - he recommended the Red Dragon Roll (which I didn't find very spicy at all but it was still very good).

My dining companions ordered the following:

Orion Premium Draft - I got a sip of this and frankly, this will be what I order the next time. It was a bit crisper than my old standby Asahi Dry and quite good.

Duck and Scallop Kushiyaki - this looked quite delicious and smelled divine

King Oyster Mushroom Kushiyaki - another standby of mine

Tonkotsu Ramen - the non-spicy version of what I ordered

Chicken Karaage - your basic Japanese fried chicken with ginger sauce (my apologies about the blurry photo but you get the idea)

Hibachi Steak and Beef with Asparagus - fantastic cuts of meat

Eel Omelet - I've never had this, but it's basically unagi wrapped in tamago

Agedashi Tofu - tofu deep fried in potato starch

Doraville Roll - yellow tail, salmon roe, avocado and miso sauce

Shoya Box - bento boxed smoked salmon, flounder and salmon roe. This was quite good and had a rather delicate consistency, sort of like eating cake!

Totoro Tataki and Hamachi - fatty bluefin tuna - not cheap but well worth it!... and a piece of yellow tail.

Red Dragon Roll - spicy tuna, smelt roe, unagi, avocado and cucumber - this is the not-so-spicy roll that I ordered - it was served with a bit of whimsy to make it dragon-like, I guess. Good but it could easily have been twice as hot.

Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen - port broth, slice of roasted pork, bamboo shoots, hard-boiled egg - I really, really loved this dish. It's really hard to find good pork broth and Shoya does this right. The chili oil floating on top really makes this dish - I didn't leave a drop!

Service, in a word, was fantastic. In typical fashion the waiter talked really fast, was very accurate and did a great job following up with us. We got to the restaurant without a reservation about 6:30 PM on a Saturday evening and managed to get seated within about 30 minutes - the place was getting packed as we sat. If you decide to try Shoya, call ahead for a reservation. Plenty of parking and a waiting area off to the side.  Still 5 stars in my book, and yes, I'm keeping score!


-- John

Shoya Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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