The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Brush Sushi, Java Saga, and Verdure

A calming respite in Buckhead Village, Taiwanese fried chicken in Doraville, and a blend of Western and African flavors in Midtown

The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Brush Sushi, Java Saga, and Verdure
Brush Sushi

Photograph by Martha Williams

Brush Sushi
Dining in Buckhead Village is something I’m reluctant to do—the restaurants here tend to be buzzy and clamorous. But Brush Sushi’s new outpost (the Decatur location closed last year) is decidedly, and refreshingly, not that. Sophisticated and elegant, it soothes as you stroll in off busy Peachtree Road: Polished black brick tiles line the walls, olive green banquettes are plush and welcoming, Kumiko wood panels add visual interest, and gold details hint at art deco luxury. James Beard–nominated chef Jason Liang’s deep menu is impossible to cover in one evening. We sampled nigiri (the ocean trout was buttery and fresh); maki such as the negitoro, with chopped fatty bluefin tuna, salmon roe, and wasabi; and appetizers like the agedashi tofu (crisp and golden on the outside, supple on the inside, served in a tsuyu broth). I still dream about the yellowtail-jalapeño hand roll, shaped like a taco. Through it all, I sipped an Umami cocktail, an earthy, not-too-boozy concoction of shiitake-infused whiskey, mezcal, sake, a dash of shoyu, and orange bitters. As at sister restaurant Momonoki, ChingYao Wang oversees the pastry options. Dessert ends the meal on the right, not overly sweet note. But during the day, Wang also stocks a pastry cart with treats like yuzu-stuffed madeleines—that’s enough to draw me back to Buckhead Village. Buckhead

Java Saga
What began in 2016 as a food truck founded by Alvin Sun, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, has evolved into a brick-and-mortar in Doraville. The small storefront opened this summer, giving lovers of Taiwanese fried chicken an easy way to get their fix. The flavorful dish makes up for the space’s lack of frills. Enjoy it in sandwich form, with toppings like sweet pickles and mango habanero sauce, or as crispy, poppable nuggets—you can’t go wrong. If you do get the nuggets, make sure you get a side of the jalapeño ranch for dunking. As the name suggests, there’s also a robust coffee menu with espresso beverages and drip, as well as smoothies and tea. Doraville

Chef Jean-Louis Sangare opened Verdure Kitchen & Cocktails in July. Previously, the Ivory Coast native worked for French restaurant Le Bilboquet, and he brings his French expertise as well as knowledge of Ghanaian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Senegalese cuisines to this Midtown restaurant, located at the edge of Piedmont Park. The restaurant’s awe-inspiring design, with lush greenery and floor-to-ceiling windows, creates a lively canvas for just-as-lively flavors. Sangare’s menu includes a farro salad with Parmesan cheese, dates, and candied pecans in a blueberry vinaigrette, served with a side of baobab cream and blueberry shrubs; hot appetizers like charred okra with fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, and crispy onions; and entrees like chicken yassa, a traditional Senegalese dish of chicken in a mustard sauce, topped with caramelized onions and olives and served over fragrant rice. The cocktails match the vibrant aesthetic, with such stunners as the passion fruit kiwi margarita and a dawa cocktail (hailing from Kenya) with vodka, honey, and lime, among other (boozier) options. Midtown

This article appears in our December 2023 issue.