Friday, September 21, 2007

geisha sushi bar

Some of the best sushi spots I've had the pleasure of dining at in Tokyo were complete dives, many times subterranean refuges in an office building or dark alley. I have a theory. The deeper down you go, the better the sushi. Similarly, my descent into the newly opened Geisha Sushi started the same way. Located in the basement of an office building on Charles Street, Geisha tends to get packed for the lunchtime rush, but is overlooked in the evenings. It is presided over by chef Kim, who has over 26 years of extensive training starting in his native Korea, moving on to Japan, and here to the U.S. to open his first restaurant. Soft spoken and well mannered, chef Kim is focused and a perfectionist when it comes to ingredients and presentation. Every morning (and we're talking 4-5am), he scouts out the best cuts of fish at the Jessup fish market. The quality of fish truly spoke for its self- creamy, fresh texture and taste.

With our group of 4, we ordered the "Love Platter B," an impressive presentation of assorted sashimi and specialty rolls. Generous to say the least, the chef offered us 6 kinds of sashimi (salmon, tuna, white tuna, mackerel, red snapper, and yellowtail), salmon roe, 4 of his creations, an eel and avocado roll, and my favorite, fresh uni riding on the back of a "cucumber slug." It was amazingly sweet, with the texture of a soft peach.

Of the specialty rolls, the Imperial Shrimp (shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, crab, scallion, masago, and eel) and Green Tuna (generous portions of spicy tuna and tempura flakes, topped with avocado and more tuna) were my favorite. The New York roll (apple, crab, mayo, and masago) was nice and mildly sweet, but kept falling apart on my plate. The Bay Bridge roll (crab, cucumber, masago, wrapped in steamed shrimp and avocado) was also quite nice, covered in a light white creamy sauce.

Imperial shrimp roll

Holiday roll

Chef Kim was kind enough to send us a specialty roll, on the house. It was the Holiday roll, presented like a whole fish, with the asparagus poking out as the tail. It was delicious, except for maybe the cream cheese, which I am not a fan the way, when and why did Philadelphia cream cheese ever find its way into sushi?

This was one of the most aesthetically pleasing sushi presentations I've seen in a long time, and really, ever in Baltimore. Chef Kim's knife skills are impeccable, and he has a real eye for color and balance. It's clear that he's all about the details; take this lovely edible rosette, for instance.

It's with a sad heart that I share this great new find of a restaurant...I want to keep it all to myself and my friends. But someone would have surely exposed this jewel soon anyway. I, for one, will most definitely become a regular here, as long as Chef Kim continues to offer me the highest quality of fish and his sophisticated, artistic presentation. And no doubt he won't.

Sushi Bar Geisha
201 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201


Matt Von Boozestein said...

Thanks for the recommendation! We went this weekend and loved it. The sushi was so fresh and melt-in-your-mouth good.

Stephen said...

Wonderful review. I enjoy the place, too.

Shouldn't your last sentence read, "And, no doubt he WILL." instead of ...he won't."?

Best, Stephen
BTY -- Do you know if they have a website or online menu?

Anonymous said...

Their online menu can be found here:

Anonymous said...

I went there a few weeks ago and was blown away. It is the best fish I have had in the city and the presentations were spectacular. We sat at the bar and were asked our preferences, the rolls reflected what we were after. The service was top notch, we felt pampered. The chef was more than willing to talk to us and share some of his knowledge regarding fish and knives. You are only fooling yourselves with the other more trendy places. If it is top quality service and food you are after and not the pretense then this is the place.

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