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“Best sushi secret in town spoiling under new ownership”
Review of Umezono Japanese Restaurant - CLOSED

Umezono Japanese Restaurant
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 235 helpful votes
“Best sushi secret in town spoiling under new ownership”
Reviewed June 17, 2014

I have been going to this restaurant since the 1980’s. It was the best sushi secret in town – at least in terms of taste, quality, variety, and value. The service always seemed a bit lacking and the décor was outdated but that all accentuated the fact that the sushi was so great since people were still willing to wait over an hour to put up with it all.

The owner (whom I know) recently sold the business. In my opinion, the new owner is currently on the path to ruining the former glory of this restaurant for the following reasons:

- The atmosphere and clientele shifted downward. The owner said it will soon be renamed “I [heart symbol] Sushi”. This place is the answer to people who wished McDonald’s sold sushi because the Kroger sushi is too expensive. The waitresses have already replaced traditional kimonos with “I [heart symbol] Sushi” t-shirts. The décor is also now gaudy-Japanese, not traditional Japanese. The new owner is a wood carver hobbyist and has decorated the place with a lot of his own fish carvings, which I think is cool, but they make the place look like a seafood tourist trap theme restaurant on the Florida coast with these gigantic wooden fish hanging everywhere. Also, there are these ultra creepy wooden face carvings that the owner supposedly did himself, that make sitting at the sushi bar way too creepy!

- The prices increased while the food quality decreased or stayed the same. Most notably, they went up for each of their most famous sushi dinner sets (they have three: the nami (simple), chu (med), and jou (deluxe) and the quality and variety of the offerings went down respectively. Instead of uni, there's the cheaper crab roe. Instead of eel, there's another tuna. Instead of tuna roll, there is california roll. The rice is not quite as good as it used to be - all I can vouche for is from a taste point of view because I'm no sushi rice master, but the taste is not as good and there's something not as good about the way it doesn't hold together the same way when you first put it in your mouth and then let it gently fell apart (no "release" itself) into little flavor grains in your mouth. You almost have to "chew" the rice ball and chew the fish and as you keep chewing, the flavors combine...like chewing a corndog if you like cornbread and hotdog. The presentation is still beautiful though and the chef I'm sure is a master as most of the simpler nigiri tasted good albeit the same issue with the rice. The slices of each fish sufficiently covered the rice balls, but ideally, they should go alittle over the ends.

- There are some quirks that to me send a very bad signal that this place is about nickel and diming customers and I'm not just talking about increasing prices while lowering offerings ...for example, you used to get a complimentary scoop of ginger or green tea ice cream at the end of the meal...now there's some rule where only an individual order that is $20 or more gets that free scoop, otherwise, its $3-something. Multiples of $20 do not apply, so a $40 check would not get you two scoops if you did not order two items that were $20. I'm scared to ask for more wasabi or ginger. Reminds me of a restaurant that charged 10 cents for an extra napkin. Then again, some grocers charge a nickel per plastic bag, so maybe it's just me - but I digress.

Anyway, there is nothing wrong with the restaurant per se, I just I think this is a business strategy of the new owner to shift away from the smaller market of sushi aficionados towards the masses who are satisfied with adequate sushi and can't really tell (nor care for) the difference. (This is what happened to the Buckhead Rusan …now they make lots of non Japanese food so the mediocre-sushi customer who comes with someone who doesn't even like sushi can order stuff like shrimp fried rice and egg rolls.)

I’m hoping that this restaurant realizes that it is on a wrong path and will revert back to the great sushi secret that it once was, but only time will tell.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
13 Thank EBIATDA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

37 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    12
    8
    7
    5
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Best Japanese Restaurant in Georgia”
Reviewed March 3, 2014 via mobile

My husband and I have been going to Umezono for years and absolutely love it. We live about 40 miles away and gladly make the drive to dine here. We've tried many dishes and each one has been amazing. Best traditional Japanese food outside of Japan. The service is always very kind and the prices are reasonable with most dishes $7-12. Love it!!!

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank travelingmommy8786
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ATLANTA
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“My favorite restaurant in Atlanta!”
Reviewed December 12, 2013

By far, one of the best Japanese restaurants in Atlanta area! The food is what you come to Umezono for, hands down. The quality and authenticity is genuine and while yes, the location and sometimes customer service could be better, the food is so good no one with half a brain would care. If you are looking for real japanese food for an affordable rate, this is your place. My favorite restaurant in Atlanta!

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank TouristAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Average food, excellent service”
Reviewed October 19, 2013 via mobile

We ate here for a family birthday, and between the seven people at the table, we had a variety of dishes. Over all, the cooked dishes were much better than the sushi. The waitress was excellent and very helpful in selecting dishes. Would come here again and not get the sushi, but perhaps the Shabu Shabu which was delicious.

Helpful?
Thank akhdaniel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marietta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
85 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Authentic”
Reviewed September 5, 2013

This is the real thing. From Japan. I have been going here for 20 years. Good honest people with good honest food. No complaints. See youall soon. Clean kitchen, nice atmosphere. I give these folks a A+

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Gerald A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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