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Friday, June 14, 2013

Shoya Izakaya: A Slice of Japan in Atlanta

Warning:  The following may not be suitable for children under the age of 13 or those whom have never consumed sake.

Shoya Izakaya is a wonderful Japanese restaurant not to be phonetically confused with "Brother Hezekiah."
"It took me a while to get her goin', but when I did....."
Aesthetically, it is authentically a slice of Japan in Chamblee.  This is the Japanese restaurant meant for the Japanese.  There is no "westernizing"  here.  Though it has no windows, which kind of makes me nervous.  I checked and there were no 20 foot holes in the basement.
The above translates to "The Dry Rub is the Greatest Food Blog in the World"  Trust me on this one
It had been a while since the Dry Rub 4 had been together and unfortunately, we our Russian contingent bail for a work function.  So the renamed "Dry Rub Trio" pulled into Shoya Izakaya.

The location is interesting, it's situated right between Peachtree Industrial and (yes shockingly) Buford Highway, just behind the Brandsmart USA.  It's in what looks like a relatively new shopping center that appears to have a 15% occupancy rate.  So let's just say parking is the least of your worries here.
Spicy Kimchi
For the first time, I ran late to dinner after a rough day at work and my friends had Kimchi and Sticky Mushrooms waiting for me.  The Kimchi was absolutely delicious.  That's what friends are for!

Pre whacko/ psychic (has a psychic ever NOT been insane) Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Elton John with a bolo tie?  I'm in.  For good times and bad times, I'll be on your side forever more..........

We ordered enough food for 7 people and we didn't even come close to trying everything we wanted to.  Here are some visual samples of what we had.
Grilled Octopus
Octopus is far superior grilled as to any other method of cooking.  The slightly charred pieces were to die for.
Japanese Bacon
Bacon has to be the universal meat, right?  If there is a society that does incorporate bacon into their culinary tapestry, I feel truly sorry for them.  Like Cleveland Sports fan sorry.  God truly hates Cleveland.
Bizarre looking egg thing with pork and cabbage, with an empty suit in the background
This was Leslie's favorite dish.  She loved it so much she tried to wear it as a crown.

Grilled Eel
If loving eel is wrong, I don't want to be right.  Unagi is my favorite sushi, but I've never had a slab of it grilled like this with a side of thick Japanese BBQ sauce.  I'm not sure how that translates into Japanese and frankly I don't care.  Just don't stop making it!

Octopus Balls, really
We enjoyed this all the way down to the dreaded 7-10 split.  This was basically a fried pastry with octopus in the middle. The wording of the dish is slightly deceiving since it really wasn't octopus testicles.  Come on, I know you're disappointed by that.

We also had homemade Tonkotsu Ramen with creamy pork broth, pork, bamboo shoots and egg and it was absolutely delicious.  First time I've had Ramen were I didn't buy 5 packs for a dollar.  I lived on that for months at a time during college.
Balls and Eggs in the same meal.  Dorothy we aren't in Kansas anymore
While we dined, Atlanta was experiencing some violent storms and the power went out.  It was such a harrowing experience we had to turn to sake to cope.  It was a tough decision, but we decided to wait out the storms.  I now know how they felt on the Santa Maria.

Thankfully, they had a fully stocked Sake bar to waste the time away.  If you have never had a cold unfiltered sake, then you haven't lived life.
Sake it to me baby!
Overall, this was a great restaurant and better experience.  It rivals Enat Ethiopia Cafe in terms of a unique cultural experience.

You can't get this anywhere else in the southeast.  Though it still doesn't compare to the ambiance of Decibel in Manhattan's lower east side.  But the food is the focus here, at Decibel it's the sake.  You can see my blurb near the end of the following blog.

I have a feeling that I will come back with addendum after addendum to this blog because there were SO many more offerings I wanted to try.  My friend Jamie will be my tour guide on the next mission to Shoya since she is a regular.

That got us talking food (shocking I know) and she couldn't think of ONE food she did not like.  I found that hard to believe.  Even I have one food I don't care for, cucumbers.  If I absolutely had to eat them to save the world from a plague, I could suck it up, but it's the one culinary item I always avoid.  Any other foods I avoid are due more to venue than type.  i.e. TGIF or that dump the Cheesecake Factory.

And with that I'm out.  Later this weekend, Round 1, Day 1 of Atlanta's Best Hamburger.

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