« National Geographic Traveler does Baltimore | Main | My latest obsession »

May 12, 2009

Joss Cafe & Sushi Bar opens

Thanks to 20something for reminding me that Joss Cafe & Sushi Bar has finally opened, in the spot where Kawasaki once was on N. Charles Street. This is the Baltimore branch of the popular Annapolis restaurant.

It opened Monday, May 4. I'll be talking to the general manager tomorrow to get more details and set up a photo shoot. But if anyone has tried it out, please post below.

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:55 PM | | Comments (33)


What kind of name is Joss Cafe?

What kind of name is bazinga?

It goes with the whale song, bazinga.

(That was a reference to The Register's branding boutique, where they make fun of people who think that a logo change and a new slogan [or a font change] will save a failing company.)

What kind of name is bazinga?


It goes with the whale song, bazinga.

Say what?

I must admit, I was greatly looking forward to the opening of Joss Sushi in Baltimore. My mother and I are devoted fans of Joss Sushi in Annapolis and agree that the Annapolis sushi joint offers a huge menu, creatively prepared and delicious food, in a vibrant and fun atmosphere. Perhaps my expectations were too high, or perhaps Joss in Baltimore is too new, but I visited Sunday evening and was sorely disappointed.

Joss Baltimore included a smaller menu than Annapolis complete with significantly smaller portions all at higher prices. Our waitress, who was sweet and knowledgeable, strongly suggested we try asparagus with salmon (smoked) and rock salt. For $11.95 for this appetizer, we each got less than a full piece of asparagus and two bites of salmon and yes, I felt cheated. And then our warm spinach salad came out freezing cold, for over $5.00 for the dish. The sushi we ordered, while more reasonably priced, was mediocre to average in taste, by no means anything special. I left under-whelmed by my experience and not at all eager to return. I believe in second chances and will give the place time to improve and then give it another chance, but then again, I might just get on Route 50 and head back to Annapolis.

Close. Latvian actually.

They are related to the convicts who owned Kawasaki - no thanks.

Less than a whole piece of asparagus? That's an accomplishment.

Based on TJ's review I think we have what I would call Tsunami Syndrome. Sounds eerily similar to what I heard about that Annapolis offshoot.

Joss is owned by the sister of at least one of the guys who owned Kawasaki. I think she is Tsu Ming Yang's sister or cousin. There was some sort of disgorgement or mandated transfer of the property by the convicted Kawasaki owners and this may possibly have included the liquor license. But the ownerships just shifted around a little in the famiglia.

Isn't a cafe a place where you drink coffee?

Owlie, this is the type of El Reg article I was referring to.

(The Register is a UK geek news website known for pretending to be a tabloid in the grand English tradition.)

I was underwhelmed at Joss. Bill was $100 for the two of us, he only drank one beer, and I left hungry. The highlight was the kobe beef sampler appetizer. Included 2 bites of each of the following: kobe wrapped asparagus, kobe wrapped spicy scallop, and kobe wrapped sweet shrimp. Even with kobe I still thought it was pricy at $21.
I had the spicy tuna avocado roll (average). Found their spicy sauce to taste a little like big mac special sauce. It was oddly sweet.
The waiter talked my DH out of a rainbow roll ($6.95) by telling him that they had a similar but better roll that hadn't made the menu yet. Basically the only difference was that it had spicy crab in it as well. When we got the check we were pretty surprised to see that it cost $15.95. Talk about an up charge!
I am glad we tried the place but we'll stick to Minato.

Had lunch at Joss. Terrible sushi. All rolls have more cucumber then fish. It is the same owner as Joss om Main St. in Annapolis. If I'd know it i would never go there.

I don't know where you all went to have sushi but Joss is really where it is at! I am in LOVE with sushi. I've been everywhere, Cali, New York, New Jersey, and Vegas, and I still love Joss the best. The price for Joss sushi is SOOO low. I don't know why anyone is complaining about it. In Columbia you're spending over 90 dollars on 5 rolls. At Joss, you can get 5 yummy rolls for ABOUT 50 Dollars. That's already 40 dollars less. You can't complain about that. So, I think everyone who's complaining on it, you're just trying the small stuff, the appetizer. Stop trying to be upper class and eating things that appear to be "posh" in your eyes, and taking them for what they are. They are small plate palate pleasers. You tell me where you can get any of those ANYWHERE else cheaper.

The service staff is wonderful! They're so nice, always making sure that the customer is being taken care of. The night my friends and I, the waiter was more than helpful recommending things for us to try. The Spring Roll & Maguro Poke is absolutely amazing.

So please. Anyone who is looking for great sushi and wonderful rolls, head over to Joss Cafe and Sushi Bar!

When it comes to sushi, cheap does not equal good.

Lame troll alert!!!

I prefer good sushi to cheap sushi.

Soo Shilly.

I don't have the energy. Somebody release the hounds

Sorry, Owlie. My dog is napping. He does that a lot now, since he's so old.

If the soo fits, dare it.

Were'nt you on Barney Miller?

Soo made me throw up in my mouth.

Anyone else look at that picture in the Sun this morning of the sushi bar at Joss Cafe, and wonder why the fish isn't on ice?

Major fish freshness fail there.

I'm no fan of slave-trading or deceptive property transfers amongst the sibling owners of Kawasaki and Joss, but the white horizontal lines at the top of the case are refrigerant pipes with frost on them. A decent variety. But I still won't eat there.

Refrigerant pipes aren't enough. Fish needs ice.

A friend I trust on sushi didn't enjoy her meal, so despite its proximity to work, I think I'll skip it.

There is typically ice under the green mats that hold the fish. I've seen them tear down the sushi case at Minato's a 100 times.

Let's get carryout from Minato and eat it standing on the sidewalk in front of Joss.

Good luck figuring out the relationship between Joss1, Joss2, and Kawasaki. As I recall Kawasaki owner Tsu was married to Uncle Lee's daughter.

Oh dear. The class thing again. I, for one, am SOO upper class that I only sail SOPH. POSH is SOO last century.

The owner of Kawasaki2/Ann St/renamed twice/still owned by them said last year Kawasaki's Tsu Min Yang was his brother and the Joss lady was his sister but it was a bit hard to understand him clearly. And they were born in Taiwan but went to high school in Japan. I think there were other partners and investors in all of this. But none were a guy named Soo.

Soo? Oh god, anything but a boy named Soo.

Why oh why didn't I trust the reviews here? But no, I had to see for myself because it's in my 'hood.

Sub-par sushi at obscene prices. A waitress that was both overly friendly and absentminded, which is a terrible combination for a server.

I don't mind paying obscene prices for excellent sushi but this sushi was definitely mediocre.

chocokitty, independent verification is a good thing. And some of the sh...people here liked it.

Post a comment

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected