Late last year, Brush Sushi Izakaya shuttered in Decatur and was quickly replaced by a more casual spot called Cuddlefish. Regulars may have noticed the same man behind the sushi bar—James Beard-nominated chef Jason Liang—along with some menu similarities. This was no accident. Liang, along with business partner John Chen and pastry chef Ching Yao Wang, decided to move Brush to Buckhead.
“We noticed customers traveling from everywhere for the unique style, especially omakase, and Buckhead is easy to get to, right off GA-400,” Liang explains. “The [Decatur] space was still a good location. We just wanted something more neighborhood and family friendly—to bring the price down a little and make it comfortable.”
It was also difficult to garner the lunch crowd they craved, Chen explains. Enter Cuddlefish, which imports about 10 varieties of fish from Tokyo weekly, in contrast to Brush’s 15. “They’re not as ultra-high-end, which requires more skill to handle,” Liang says. “We get bigger fish that are easier to break down and can be more consistent. That makes it more affordable.”
Cuddlefish still offers omakase in a more abbreviated, affordable manner. However, those who prefer Brush’s more unique offerings need only wait until May, when the new restaurant will open in Buckhead Village. The 4,400-square-foot space is nearly double the size of the original and will include a 17-seat omakase room. It will feature a more modern design with low lighting, Japanese woodwork, and Binchotan charcoal grills
The menu will be elevated as well. Expect 25 to 30 daily sushi options, plus king crab and wagyu for the Binchotan, a grill that emits minimal smoke. The main dining room menu will be available a la carte, in addition to select prix fixe options. Instead of sushi rolls, the new Brush will serve Bo Zushi sticks made with mackerel and barbecue eel. Hand rolls (temaki) will be available, too.
As for omakase, Liang intends to utilize the dry aging technique. Small plates will focus on the chef’s childhood memories from Taiwan. “I want to put my own voice into the cuisine rather than just copy and paste from traditional Edomae style,” Liang says.
The beverage program will also expand. Bar manager Mona Allen recently earned her sake sommelier certificate and intends to highlight additional varieties of sake. She’s planning to expand the Japanese whiskey list and add more wines. Brush Decatur’s classic cocktails will be available, along with new craft creations.