Since falling in love with sushi several years ago, I rarely turn down sushi dinner dates with friends. But, when Milla of Happily Eating invited me to try out the sushi menu at Park Tavern, I was reluctant to go because I was stressed. Packing up our apartment and preparing to move while figuring out our next life decision kept me mentally and physically occupied all summer, aside from work. But in an effort to escape it all for dinner, cocktails and fun catch-up time, I decided to meet her for dinner.
Situated on the corner of 10th and Monroe streets, Park Tavern has been one of my go-to places to meet up with friends in Midtown. The American-style menu offerings are good, servers pour $1 draft beers when it’s raining and it’s the place for many festivals, concerts and events in the park. I’ve even planned parties here for my office.
But when it came to the sushi, I had no clue what to expect. I hadn’t heard much about their sushi menu and never ordered it there. I assumed that the sushi menu was more of an afterthought than anything else.
I was totally wrong.
The team at Park Tavern spares no expense in preparing and presenting mouthwatering sushi dishes. The chef purchases sushi-grade fish from Honolulu, which is flown in daily. The selection is a sustainable, high-quality mix of fish that they use for sushi and sashimi plates on their menu.
During our visit, we had the chef’s special: a sashimi platter with yellowtail, Hawaiian big eye tuna, Tasmanian king salmon, barbecued eel and avocado slices with real wasabi and pickled white ginger. I don’t think I’ve had a sashimi plate this good in a long time. The Tasmanian king salmon had a buttery flavor that lingered long after it was gone. The Hawaiian big eye tuna was a departure from typical sushi-grade fish I’ve had before. I appreciated how light and fresh it tasted. We were impressed with the dish and how the team curated this fish selection.
For instance, the chef chose the Hawaiian big eye tuna over the more popular bluefin tuna because bluefin tuna will soon be extinct and Hawaiian big eye tuna is just as tasty. The Tasmanian king salmon can be found in some of the richest, cleanest currents in the world, according to the chef.
And you might ask yourself, what is real wasabi and why have I not been eating this all of my life? Most wasabi is made with mustard flour, horseradish flour and green food coloring because real wasabi has to be cultivated and grown at a certain elevation, temperature and soil. It’s rare to find real wasabi outside of Japan and it’s expensive to purchase, too. Real wasabi has a sweeter, milder flavor with a zing on your tongue rather than your nose. The pickled white ginger replaced the artificially colored pink ginger.
Park Tavern also has a considerable number of sushi roll options. The firecracker roll consisted of spicy tuna, fresh jalapenos, shrimp tempura and avocado topped with more tuna, firecracker sauce, wasabi tobiko and fried, crunchy shallots. The subdued spicy flavors of the dish made it approachable, though you could add more of a kick with a small amount of wasabi.
The super crunch roll was pretty tasty too: avocado, salmon and cream cheese are combined and the roll is fried in tempura batter. Spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce are drizzled on the sushi pieces.
I also devoured a new addition to the main menu: a plate of steamed, pillowy buns stuffed with flavorful pork belly and shitake mushrooms.
As you can probably tell, I’m anticipating my next visit to Park Tavern when I can partake in that sushi again!
Where have you eaten amazing sushi in Atlanta?
Disclosure: I was invited by Milla of Happily Eating to enjoy complimentary dishes and cocktails at Park Tavern. Thanks again to Milla and Park Tavern for hosting me!