“It happened one night over dinner. We were discussing our passion for food and sushi because Amkha loves sushi. I’ll never turn down an invite to go eat at a sushi restaurant,” Snackboxe Bistro owner Thip Athakhanh says of the impetus behind her new take-home dinner service Amkha Omakase.
In this latest food venture, Athakhanh teams up with Snackboxe Bistro chef and general manager Amkha Sayasan, the inspiration behind the new business and its name, offering a takeaway Lao sushi omakase based out of the restaurant’s Doraville location. Kicking off in mid-November and offered just twice a month on Tuesdays, when Snackboxe Bistro is typically closed, Athakhanh and Sayasan hope to showcase the food of their native Laos in a new and exciting way through an omakase experience.
Sushi is familiar territory for Sayasan, who for years worked as a chef in Japanese restaurants like Goldfish, Kona Grill, and Sekisui in Atlanta and then in Memphis. A close friend of Athakhanh’s husband and business partner, Vanh Sengaphone, Sayasan returned to Atlanta in 2018 to help the couple open and run Snackboxe Bistro as its general manager. He eventually moved into the head chef position there, adding new dishes to the restaurant’s menu. Sayasan will also eventually oversee the kitchen at the forthcoming Duluth location for Snackboxe Bistro opening in November.
Over the years, Athakhanh says, friends and family have asked Sayasan to put together sushi platters for dinner parties and holidays at home. She says, while many Thai restaurants offer sushi on the menu, most do not incorporate Thai flavors or sushi takes on Thai dishes. That’s what will set Amkha Omakase apart from other chef’s choice sushi offerings around Atlanta, Athakhanh claims.
“Sushi is definitely his passion. That’s what he’s known for in his career as a chef,” she says. “And he’s always been great at Lao food and its flavors. Combining these together for this omakase experience seems natural.”
During a coursed-out dinner with a full bar taking place at the new Duluth location on Tuesday, October 26, Sayasan and Athakhanh will offer a sneak peek into the dishes people can expect to find on the menu for Amkha Omakase. This includes a ramen-inspired take on a Lao noodle soup dish called khao poon. The red curry noodle dish includes a coconut base but is infused with the flavors of tonkatsu ramen.
Once launched in November, people can also expect dishes like spicy miso shrimp tempura, salmon carpaccio with limoncello ponzu, uni oysters with truffle ginger and chili lime, and desserts such as coffee jello made with Vietnamese espresso, coconut condensed milk, and coconut whip. While pricing is still being worked out, each omakase meal will likely range between $45 to $60 per person, and feature appetizers, salad, soup, noodles and other chef’s choice sushi and sashimi dishes, along with a dessert.
If Amkha Omakase proves successful in Doraville, Athakhanh and Sayasan hope to expand the service to Snackboxe Bistro in Duluth, and may even consider opening a restaurant some time down the line.
“I’m extremely excited about this omakase. It’s going to be something different, something pretty, artful, and collaborative,” says Athakhanh. “We both love the omakase experience and want to create something special for people to enjoy at home with family and friends during the holidays, or just a night in during the week.”
Follow Amkha Omakase on Instagram for updates on the launch date, menus, and pop-ups. Snackboxe Bistro in Duluth expected to open in mid-November.