Miyako, Austell GA

My daughter had enjoyed her November trip to Happy Sumo in Norcross, one of our friend Matt’s favorite places, so darn much that she wanted to go to a Japanese steakhouse for her birthday. In doing so, she ensured that one particular establishment in Kennerietta got my undying hatred. Before I can tell you about my very good trip to Miyako, I have to mention that.

This is the first restaurant story that I’ve actually sat down to write since my father passed away earlier this month, which accounts for the short break in sharing stories last week. Well, we knew that it was coming, which is how I was able to pre-plan a break in the blog. For years, my parents have taken the family out for birthday suppers, and my daughter has usually announced hers about ten months in advance. She then spends the rest of the year changing her mind about where she wants to go, but this time, she finally settled on a Japanese teppanyaki steakhouse. Well, we knew that my dad’s deterioration was getting worse, and that this one mid-December evening was going to be my daughter’s last birthday with my father and so we hoped the evening would be pretty special. It was not. We ended up leaving this establishment (which shall remain nameless here, although I doubt anybody who wants to learn it will have much difficulty) after more than an hour’s wait at the table and constant lying assurances that a teppanyaki chef was right around the corner. I finally, roaring, bawled the owner or manager or whomever the incompetent fool was out in a manner few have ever seen me in, for ruining this most bittersweet and important of evenings for my family. You should have seen the guy. I had him bent over so far backwards that he looked like he was doing the limbo.

A few days before Christmas, my daughter got a kind of a consolation prize. She wasn’t able to enjoy the birthday supper with her granddaddy that she wanted, but my mother did take her and her brother to a different, obviously superior, steakhouse called Miyako. It’s on the East-West Connector between Smyrna and Austell. About a week and a half later, neither of us then aware of my kids’ visit, David rang me up and asked if he could give me a break from worrying about my dad’s failing health and take me to lunch here. He’d just found the place – it is not far from where he lives – and was raving about their lunch special.

Some days later, I asked my kids about their visit to Miyako, and they told me that it was really great and that they had a good time. My son says that he really enjoyed the shrimp, and quite liked pouring the “yummy yummy” sauce, which is what Miyako terms that yellow stuff, a strange mix of mayo and sugar and, sometimes, ketchup, that goes really well with seafood or vegetables, over his rice.

For my part, when David and I went by Miyako on a brisk afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I remembered what Matt always orders when he goes to his favorite steakhouse in Norcross, and asked for filet mignon and steamed rice. It works for him and it worked terrifically for me. But what really impressed me at Miyako, even more than the high quality of the entree, was just how well they do all the extras.

The salad had a nice ginger dressing, certainly, but it was a much milder, white, light cream rather than the thick and chunky orange-colored dressing that most Japanese restaurants serve. I mean, I don’t mind that thick orange stuff, but when you see the same dressing all over the place, you realize that it’s coming from Sysco’s “oriental restaurant” catalog. The light dressing that Miyako offers is much tastier. Even the miso soup tasted considerably different and with a sharper taste, with much more mushrooms and onions in the broth than any Japanese restaurant that I have ever visited.

I’m the sort of person who always looks for silver linings. The reason that I brought up those morons who ruined my daughter’s last birthday dinner with my dad is that if it were not for that incident, Mom wouldn’t have looked around for an alternate for them, and I, too, probably would have passed on David’s suggestion of a steakhouse lunch, in favor of something different. So we didn’t get that dinner, but my children and I did get to discover a very good restaurant in its place. Now the next trick is to get Matt out this way so that he can compare Miyako to the place in Norcross that he enjoys so much. I bet that he’ll really like it.