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Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna

posted on November 15, 2007 at 12:12 pm

RESTAURANT REVIEW:
Ever since I returned from Japan, I have been craving Japanese food all the time. I have been making my rounds at the many Japanese restaurants of Atlanta in search of Japanese homestyle dishes–there is so much more to the cuisine than sushi.

Yakitori Jinbei had been on my list of places to try after a reader recommended it a while back. I finally got the chance to stop in today for lunch. The restaurant specializes in yakitori, which is pieces of chicken (and other items like quail eggs or Japanese vegetables) grilled on a stick and topped with your choice of sea salt or a sauce. Yakitori Jinbei only serves yakitori at dinner, but the lunch menu has plenty of delicious items like soba noodles and donburi to choose from. Since it was so cold outside, I opted for the bowl of ramen noodles swimming in pork stock and topped with roasted pork slices, seaweed, and green onions ($9 for the soup, salad, and small bowl of fried sticky rice). I rarely see ramen served in Atlanta so I took advantage of the opportunity.

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Tonkotsu (“pork bone”) ramen

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Closeup of the noodles
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Fried rice
The soup was absolute heaven. I think I may have actually made some yummy noises out loud. The noodles had the right amount of bite and the bright bursts of green onion and ribbons of seaweed contrasted the rich stock perfectly. That has to be the best ramen I have had in quite some time–it was silky, creamy, and complex…insane. The pork was very tender and sliced into little thin rounds. An overall great soup that is worth the trip. I also spotted a tonkatsu platter passing me by that looked scrumptious. I’ll get it next time. And, trust me, there will be a next time.
RESTAURANT INFORMATION:
Address: 2421 Cobb Pkwy, 30080
Phone:(770) 818-9215
Hours: Closed on Sunday
Payment: Cash and credit
Website

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19 comments

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · November 15, 2007  5:09 PM

    My parents love the yakitory at this place. Only place we know in town that serves chicken skin yakitory…

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: KJ · November 16, 2007  10:42 AM

    Among Japanese in Atlanta, HARUICHIBAN is one of the best places for Ramen. It is located at Satellite Blvd and Pleasant Hill Road. But real good one is only found in Japan. Throughout Japan, each area has its own special Ramen… They all use different broth “DASHI”.

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · November 16, 2007  11:35 AM

    Among Japanese people in Atlanta, HARUICHIBAN is know for relatively good RAMEN. The one you had at Yakitori Jinbei should be TONKOTSU RAMEN which is specialized in Fukuoka prefecture. Each area has its own special RAMEN with different broth “DASHI”, noodle texture, toppings and etc… KJ

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Hilla · November 16, 2007  12:47 PM

    i love that you went here! i was stuck living with an ex-bf at post village for a summer, and i would eat here all the time. here and swapna, the indian joint on cobb, close to the highway 🙂

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: The Blissful Glutton · November 16, 2007  12:58 PM

    KJ–

    Thanks for the recommendation and explanation on the origins of the dish. As I said, I had never seen ramen around Atlanta before so it is nice to know I have another option. The broth in the tonkotsu was such a nice change from the ‘clear’ stocks I normally eat. I cannot believe it was just pork bones and chicken. Amazing flavor.
    I went back for some tonkatsu and it was pretty good. They don;t give you cabbage (iceberg salad instead), but it was still very good.
    Jennifer

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: biskuit · November 19, 2007  6:30 PM

    How many types of ramen do they have? Just one? One of my favorite places out in california was Santa in San Mateo, which specialized in ramen and had three bases (soy, pork, and… something else) and about 7 versions of each base. Favorites were a spicy kimchee one and also a seaweed and citron one. YUMMMMMM.

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: The Blissful Glutton · November 21, 2007  5:03 AM

    Biskuit,

    They had a couple of versions–the others being a shoyu-based broth. Really good. You must try.

    Jennifer

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · November 27, 2007  2:38 PM

    I went here today for lunch and was real satisfied with this tonkotsu ramen. Incidentally, Hashiguchi Jr over by Lenox has a similar version but the noodles were slightly less al dente (ha gotai) then the ones at Yakitori. So in the end, Yakitori edges slightly with theirs b/c of the noodles.
    Rai Rai Ken in NYC has a good curry version. I MISS IT..

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: atlstarter · December 5, 2007  3:41 PM

    Thanks for including Smyrna, an area too often ignored by food critics in town. Appreciate it.

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Weremonkey · December 28, 2007  5:03 AM

    A friend of mine with who works for a Japanese company here in Atlanta had this to say. –

    One of my Japanese coworkers has not been there herself but has heard less than positive reviews from her friends.
    Another of my Japanese coworkers said it’s too expensive for what it is. (“it’s ok but not great”)

    Way out in Gwinnett (Duluth) is Haru Ichiban, a favorite of our office staff. Very tasty.

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · March 13, 2008  9:27 AM

    Hmmm, I am sensing Haru Ichiban employees on here quietly sabotaging like ninjas any japanese place that threatens their authenticity.

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Weremonkey · March 13, 2008  12:20 PM

    I believe this might be an opportunity. We should organize two group dinners – one at each place – maybe a week apart to compare.
    Yum!

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · June 14, 2008  10:19 AM

    hi! im am looking for a japanese bbq restaurant in atl. do you know of one???

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · December 21, 2008  1:04 AM

    I’ve been living in GA for almost 4 years and always search for Japanese restaurants that serve authentic ramen, but never found one. Thank you for your blog that I just found tonight helps me find this restaurant along with the Haru Ichiban from other comments above. I’ll definitely try both of them out. I miss having good ramen so much. I moved from Hawaii where there are so many good Japanese ramen, other Japanese and Korean restaurants.

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · March 26, 2009  9:43 AM

    Just ate there with a friend today and was somewhat disappointed. I ordered the Tonkotsu and actually had to send it back. The broth was super-gamey, milky, and in my opinion nasty. If you’re into gamey flavors, go for it. Was not my thing. But in their defense, they did take it back and brought me the shoyu ramen which was better, but still not great. I think Hashiguchi’s noodle bowls are better, and their ginger dressing can’t be beat.

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Anonymous · June 24, 2009  10:44 AM

    Haru Ichiban's ramen tasted like a frozen one I bought in Buford Highway…

  • Re: Yakitori Jinbei: Smyrna
    posted by: Owen Renn · May 11, 2010  11:59 AM

    Great review with photos that do the restaurant justice compared to my efforts on my blog for the same.

    Just an FYI, Jinbei is now open Sundays after 5PM despite the fact their own website and this review state otherwise, so if you get that craving Sunday night, you can satiate the hunger!

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