Bomb Shelter

You can have an Atomic time at this West End sushi joint

Of course, that would run counter to Atomic's attempted "me too" Chang mainstreaming, and it might scare off those Melton might peel away from their T.G.I. Friday's or Hooters habits.

But wouldn't Bombay chicken do the same? Though it can be had in similar shades, curry is generally not something that pairs well with orange hot pants. Gad, but this dish is tight, at least from a flavor-profile perspective. The dirty-yellow curry sauce is smooth, potent and exquisitely balanced with a subtle thread of ginger that explodes on the palate every now and again, keeping the tongue on its buds. The chicken is juicy, tender and firm.

Yet this Bombay bash has one problem: onions. Under normal circumstances, I have no problem with onions. They add dimension to everything from salads to stocks to potatoes. But this otherwise sublime dish is overrun with acres of coarsely cut white onions that swamp the red bell pepper scraps and the chicken.

One sushi burger, hold the wasabi: Atomic Sushi operates in what was once a Johnny Rockets grill.
Karlisch
One sushi burger, hold the wasabi: Atomic Sushi operates in what was once a Johnny Rockets grill.

Location Info

Map

Atomic Sushi & Grill

1718 N. Market St.
Dallas, TX 75202

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Downtown & Deep Ellum

Details

Edamame $3
Miso soup $3
Smoked squid salad $6
Lettuce wraps $6.25
San Francisco seafood fusion $18.95
Bombay chicken $8.95
Sushi $3 to $7
1718 N. Market St., 214-651-9990, open for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; open for dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. $$

Still, the headline here is Japanese, and some of it is as compelling as the curry. Smoked squid salad is a little slump of pink squid strips pummeled with sesame seeds and sown with strips of brown and green seaweed and little scraps of bell pepper and carrot shavings. It's all packed in a tiny blue bowl and washed with ponzu sauce. The smoke is subdued, the squid meat tender but firm enough to solicit a hearty chew.

Other elements work as well. The edamame is bright green (without any brown blotches), warm and supple with a generous blizzard of sea salt. Miso soup is rich with tofu, seaweed and scallion confetti. To seal the Japanese deal in concrete, a large post bursting from the '50s diner décor is painted with a sumo wrestler.

But Melton hangs his rep on sushi, and he always seems to put respectable stuff on those rice plugs: not stellar, but cool and consistent--workhorse fish. The strips (yellow tail, tuna, red snapper) were silky and smooth. The California roll was tight but unexciting.

But can sushi make it in the West End? A chat with some of the carriage drivers who trot horses around the cobblestone down there say the West End is mostly an orphan at night. The American Airlines Center was supposed to change that (as well as turn downtown and parts of Oklahoma into thriving metros), but the developers wisely sought to keep their captive audience satiated by offering more food options than a sushi joint, no matter how many culinary mutants erupt from an enriched plutonium burst. The lingering corpses of Planet Hollywood and the movie theaters don't help either.

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