By Greg B. I love sushi, and tend to eat it several times a month. And while I love the raw fish, it also serves as a great food style when looking for an easy place to grab a lunch with my pescetarian girlfriend. There’s no question about what food will be available, we all know the standards. The only real question, in my mind, is ‘will the fish be fresh?’. For Geisha Sushi, I can unequivocally answer ‘yes!”
Ambiance: Traditional Japanese, but with separate rooms including one large party room with large TV
Food: Sushi and other Japanese cuisine, with some Korean options as well
Service: Knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating
Wine & Beer List: Extensive list of sake (impressive, actually), standard beers and wines available. Also have Soju!
Attire: Wide range, from short and flip flops to business suits during the week
Overall rating: Recommended. Good food, good service, diverse wine list and good happy hours
Location/Contact Info:http://sushibargeisha.com/ 201 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201 410-685-2099
Review: Jessica and I were taking a walk up to the VERY disappointing flower festival (also known as the flowermart) taking place here in Maryland. If I may take a small detour from the restaurant review for a moment, the flowermart up near the Washington Monument was anything BUT a flower market. There were several stages where people sang songs, about 30% of the booths/tents set up appeared to be selling food, about 40% were selling kitschy scarves and skirts and carved wooden things, followed by about 25% selling locally made jewelery (you know, the big clunky type stuff?), with the remaining 5% of the booths offering plants. Not necessarily flowers, but there were a few sad looking plants around, with the most impressive selection being the ‘carnivorous plant’ booth. What a crock. For a festival that promotes itself with pictures of flowers, there was a devastating absence of flowers. But I digress.
We needed some nourishment. And on the way to the Baltimore flowermart, we decided to drop into Geisha sushi for lunch. I’ve eaten here a few times now, and already had it in my head as a good location for sushi. Sadly, at 12:30pm on a saturday the entire restaurant was quite empty… we were the only people inside. I suppose they do most of their business on week days when local businesses folks need lunches. But, Jessica and I sat down and placed our order.
- 1 miso soup
- 1 tempura vegetable
- 1 spicy tuna roll
- 1 soft shelled crab roll
- 1 eel and avocado roll
- 1 order of smoked salmon sushi
- 1 order of scallop sushi
The miso soup was good (have you ever had bad miso soup?) and the tempura vegetables were also very tasty. I used to greatly enjoy them when eating lunch specials at Sushi Hana, and in this case I got a chance to go back to my roots, dunking deliciously fried vegetables into that dark and tasty sauce that accompanies them. Jessica enjoyed that sauce so much we kept it, trying it with different sushi as well! The eel roll was pretty standard, and the spicy tuna was good, Jessica enjoyed the heat, though I would have enjoyed it a bit hotter. Luckily, this is a place where the sushi is made right, so I was able to add the wasabi to my liking and really jazz up the roll.
The soft shelled crab roll was a favorite of mine, out of these three rolls. There was a good amount of crab, and though I felt the crab might have been slightly overcooked in the thinner ends of the crab, the main body of it, within the roll, was tender and juicy. I’ve never eaten soft shelled crab in this manner, and when it’s served with freshly cut vegetables inside rice, it really has this lovely sweet flavor and crunchy texture that make this a good roll to sample, especially since soft shelled crabs are in season!
Now we get to the Scallop. Ordering raw shellfish can be somewhat… risky. While fish appear to be somewhat robust in their ability to remain fresh, compared to shellfish, things like scallops spoil very easily. And here I was, eating raw scallop. I recalled years ago, at another sushi restaurant ordering a scallop, and being served a rather tough, chewy piece of something that tasted like mucky brine and went down really hard. But at Geisha, I had an entirely novel experience. The scallop was so extremely tender, you would bite through it and hardly know it was there in terms of texture. But this very light mouthfeel belied a very clear ‘scallopy’ note. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s different than cooked scallops with generally have butter, garlic and oil, along with caramelized edges. These scallops tasted slightly briney, sweet like a shrimp and.. well with this other flavor that, like I said, is ‘scallopy’. It was delicious. The Chef’s presentation was quite beautiful as well.
In the end, the highlight of our trip to the flowermart was the stop at Geisha Sushi. I got to try some really fresh and delicious raw sehellfish, we enjoyed several rolls and were able to pop in and out in a very short amount of time. That’s one of the things I like about sushi, the service and preparation is always quick, so you can take as little or as much time with your meal as you would like. Nice work, Geisha.