For a while, I had been hearing the Monkey 68 buzz, friends telling me tales of ridiculously good sushi and "Refined Asian" cuisine outside the perimeter in Roswell and Alpharetta (just opened in December 2019). Just before Covid-19 shut down the world I bravely made the trek, sat in traffic to get to Roswell on a weeknight and arrived on a small street off the main drag in Roswell. And I was blown away.
The concept comes from Mali Hu and George Muh, the duo behind other successes including Ichiban in Alpharetta and Cumming and One Sushi+ in Brookhaven. Monkey 68 refers to Hu's Chinese zodiac sign and birth year and the menu meanders beautifully through Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean-inspired classics.
Executive Chef David Yun vacillates between traditional preparations like baked Korean spiced ribs with sweet chili and pan-seared dumplings, in addition to comfort dishes like kimchi fried rice with pork belly and egg over easy. But then they go off the path with "Curious" options complete the menu, like calamari tempura with wasabi lime, squid leg fries with five-spice seasoning, and yellowtail jalapeno shots with cilantro, sriracha, radish, balsamic pearls, and honey yuzu. My favorite experience was a smoked yellowtail tuna sashimi dish--a glass dome of hickory smoke was placed over exquisite cuts of hamachi and the smoke filtered into the fish for a phenomenal bite. Every dish I tried was fun, delicious, and out-of-the-box creative.
And if you need a drink (and who doesn't these days?), Monkey 68's beverage program stands out in the Atlanta scene; handcrafted cocktails inspired by Chinese zodiac signs with tropical ingredients are the stars of the show. Check out whimsical (and delicious!) creations like the "Charming Snake" made with mezcal, Luxardo cherry, blackberry peppercorn shrub and lime and "Monkey See Monkey Drink" featuring tea-infused rum, osmanthus syrup, amaro meletti, giffard banana, lemon and egg white. Also enjoy Japanese sake, domestic beer and wine. Monkey 68 Alpharetta also serves a broad selection of specialty single region coffee and teas.If you are like me, the pandemic has made me crave things I cannot prepare or grill at home: sushi and cocktails...and Monkey 68 dominates in both departments. Both locations now offer dine-in services, takeout, curbside pick-up, and local delivery. Check their MENUS to place an order to carry out for Uber Eats for delivery. See website for dine-in hours and reservations.