Review: District M brings ambitious, high-end Japanese to Sandy Springs

It's clear chef Jackie Chang hopes to capture some of the sushi fanatics who frequent Buckhead's Umi.

Review: District M
Otoro tartare

Photograph by Savanna Sturkie

Every few weeks, we offer our “B Review,” a short take on restaurants that are (sometimes) casual and (typically) not too pricey—and occasionally neither.

Sandy Springs used to be a culinary wasteland. But in recent years, restaurateurs eager to capitalize on the city’s many well-heeled residents have opened places that are finally kind of exciting. (See: Peter Kaiser and Kevin Rathbun’s Kaiser’s Chophouse, L.A.-based Jinya Ramen Bar, and il Giallo from the Veni Vidi Vici team.) To that list, you can add sushi and omakase spot District M.

Located in the slick Modera complex, District M was a smart move by chef Jackie Chang, who previously worked at high-style, minimalist Umi in Buckhead and dramatic, crowd-pleasing O-Ku on the Westside. Chang has replicated a little of each of those vibes at his new, industrial-ish restaurant.

The 16-seat sushi bar surrounding an expansive, open kitchen offers a front-row view of the small staff that turns out the ambitious menu. It’s not common in Atlanta to see Edomae-style sushi (a precise preparation served within 45 seconds) and uni tastings featuring three varietals (which could be from California, Japan, and Maine). A beautiful serving of Otoro tartare is packed into a bamboo box, artfully arranged on a bowl of ice alongside vessels of black caviar, wasabi, creme fraiche, puffed rice, toasted sliced white bread, and truffle yuzu sauce.

The fish is flown in daily from Japan and elsewhere, and if you’re looking to lay down some serious cash, a single piece of nigiri (live scallop, for instance) can go for $15. You can also take the omakase route, starting at $60 for a four-course meal, $90 for six courses or for 14 pieces of nigiri, and upwards of $120 for the Benzaiten (“chef’s freestyle”) feast.

It’s clear Chang hopes to capture some of the sushi fanatics who frequent Umi. The difference in the quality of the actual sushi is negligible, although Umi gets the edge on design and service (the tempo of District M’s service can be clunky). Still, for northsiders looking to avoid the Buckhead throngs, District M is a destination sushi restaurant in a part of town that’s no longer a culinary snooze.

★ ★ ★ ★
(Very Good)

Vital stats
6125 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs

This article appears in our July 2019 issue.