The Secret's Out

By Kate Abney | December 23, 2015 | Articles

It’s hard to hide what Umi owner Farshid Arshid and business partner Charlie Hendon have achieved with the reservations-only Japanese craft cocktail lounge they just opened a few doors down from Umi. Himitsu—which, literally means “secret”—is accessed by referral from a friend or by sending a reservation request to (don’t forget to include the word “love” in the subject line). From there, hopefuls must wait patiently to hear from the lounge’s world-class team. Once you’ve been granted access, an impossibly poised hostess awaits and will lead you onward to the dramatic bilevel concept designed by visionary Tom Dixon and his London firm, Design Research Studio.

Channeled leather banquettes and an enormous Todd Murphy painting punctuate the 1,300-square-foot space, which has seating for about 70 and presents a swanky atmosphere previously only available in places like New York, London and Paris. “The most sophisticated Atlantans regularly travel all over the world, so this is what they’re used to,” Arshid explains. “It’s the exact same patronage as Nobu or Sushi Nakazawa, except it’s in Atlanta.” Take note of the luxe textures—think honed concrete, smoked mirror, veined black marble, natural cork and gleaming copper. Walls and floors are adorned with 11,000 hand-cut pieces of end-grain wood, and the crystal, custom-commissioned from Baccarat, is valued up to $400 per piece. They’re ideal vessels for designer cocktails by Tokyo-based mixologist Shingo Gokan, who collaborated with Atlanta’s T. Fable Jeon to execute his subtle, symphonic beverages.

Among the drinks are faves like the Toryufu, with pear vodka, grapefruit juice and truffle honey; and the Ko-Hi, with smoky mezcal, coconut liqueur, coconut water, cold-pressed coffee, Kokuto and bitters in a cocoa-dusted tulip glass. A small, curated list of sake and sochu will satisfy the straight-shooters.

The eats are equally impressive. Executive Chef Fuyuhiko Ito has pulled out all the stops, crafting dishes like soybean hummus; tuna pizza; diver scallops in yuzu juice; and Kobe beef tartare with Gorgonzola cream cheese on crostini. Find a few hits from the Umi menu, like the crunch lobster box and sashimi, as well.
Ito’s pastry chef wife, Lisa, dreamed up the desserts, which include trinket boxes filled with dark-chocolate truffles and vanilla-raspberry macarons, and fudge-drenched profiteroles. Don’t miss the hojicha (roasted green tea) creme brulee, which can be enjoyed with a cup of espresso at evening’s end—even if it’s 1:30am.
“None of this happened by accident,” Arshid explains. “Everything is by design.” And what a fine design, indeed.

3050 Peachtree Road NW


Photography by: