In Atlanta’s frenetic West Midtown neighborhood, Mujō offers a minimalist retreat. The omakase restaurant, which opened in February 2022, and its interior of black tile, red accents, and cedar countertops creates a pared down yet sophisticated atmosphere, one that’s echoed in the dining—and drinking—experience.
Mujō is the brainchild of Fred Castellucci, the president of the Castellucci Hospitality Group, and Jordan Trent Harris, a sushi chef that relocated to Atlanta from New York, where he worked at such esteemed sushi restaurants as Sushi Ginzo Onodera. Over the course of two years, Mujō evolved from an early pandemic pop-up into the present 1,500-square-foot restaurant, which seats only fifteen people at a time at the sushi bar (with only four seatings per night).
While Atlanta has plenty of omakase experiences, Mujō is the only one to offer edomae-style sushi, which entails curing and marinating the fish to preserve and enhance its flavors. The style goes back hundreds of years, but Mujō puts a twist on it, flying in fish weekly from Tokyo for their daily changing menu and serving it alongside locally grown produce.
The cocktail list, created by mixologist Mike Satusky, focuses on variations of the classics. A daiquiri made with kabosu, a Japanese citrus, for instance, and a riff on the Japanese shochu highball. “There are certainly innovative people out there doing really wildly inventive stuff,” Satusky says, “but the classics are classics for a reason.”
The Tea House Negroni, in particular, stands out. Satusky gives the classic Italian aperitif an umami layer by infusing a Japan-distilled gin with hojicha, a roasted green tea. “It has more roasty, caramel notes, some vanilla, and it doesn’t have that vegetal character that other green teas can have,” Satusky says. “Something that would fit a little more nicely, especially with Campari and vermouth.”
Infusing the gin yourself is actually quite simple. “It tends to be a method that I recommend often for people who want to engage a little bit more with the process of making a beverage at home—beyond popping a hard seltzer can,” Satusky says.
Eschewing a traditional pine-forward gin, Satusky instead uses and recommends the citrus-forward Nikka Coffey, which has only subtle hints of juniper. The kabosu and yuzu notes of the gin shine, he explains, and complement the bittersweet Campari.
The resulting tipple tastes at once bitter and citrusy, with earthy undertones, making it a great aperitif or a cocktail light enough to be enjoyed alongside a meal (sushi optional).