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January 25, 2010

Asian restaurants with style



I have a new Baltimore trendlet for you: Asian restaurants with style. It's been one of the things I've missed about LA now that I no longer visit my daughter there.

Until fairly recently Baltimore's Asian restaurants seemed to fall into two categories: Little places done on a shoestring (either hole-in-the-walls or not) and restaurants where a lot of money had been spent on the decor, but, well, "style" wouldn't be the word that came to mind.

Can we count Red Maple in Mount Vernon? In spite of the Asian tapas, I don't think of it as an Asian restaurant. I think the first of our Asian restaurants where I walked in and said, "Wow. Cool!" was Minato Sushi Bar in Mount Vernon after it moved a couple of years ago. ...

Here's how I described it in my review:

There's a glittery retro chandelier. Light is also provided by the huge rainbow wave fixture, almost a sculpture, overhead. The fluorescent lemon-lime chairs are so bright they practically light up the place by themselves.The decor is kept from being garish by the soft blue wavelike pattern on the walls and the polished hardwood floors. It's fun and funky, and it works in a wacky sort of way within the structure of the once-elegant Charles Street townhouse with its ornate, partially gilded mantel.

Sam's Kid in Fells Point has that same sort of intriguing decor, and I'm pretty sure there are others. I just can't think of them now.

I think the following goes along with the decor: If you order wine, you don't get generic red or white in a discount store wine glass filled to the brim, once a hallmark of Asian restaurants around here. And more thought goes into the presentation of plates that aren't sushi.

(Christopher C. Assaf/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:09 AM | | Comments (7)


Jesse Wong's Kitchen in Hunt Valley Mall is pretty spiffy.

I suppose it's one note of deference I'll have to give Ra.

There's plenty of stuff I don't like about the place, but the decor is one of the few things that's not on that list.

For my money, I'll still be at Minato.

Much of the Asian style I've enjoyed on the West Coast begins when you first walkin. The servers are attired in Asian garb, some sexy, the music is modern and the interior decor picks up from there. Before the food even hits the table you know your in the right place. We've got along way to go in B'more for that LA/Asian vibe. Thank God our kids provide us the opportunity to experience different food cultures via their school and jobs.

My two favorite Asian restaurants that do it in style:
Joey Chiu's in Greenspring Station
The Bamboo House off Cranbrook Road.
I've never been disappointed at either place. They're like a good wine: consistent.

poirot moon (my Korean private detective name)

I am and will always be a P. F. Changs fan. the Oolong tea marinated sea bass over fresh spinach is amazing, house made shrimp dumplings and the chocolate dome for dessert, I just went and made myself hungry and it's after 2:30 am. wish I had leftovers!

Bamboo floor spam @ 3:43 pm!

thanks for the heads up sean. I really need some floor spam, it's the best kind.

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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.

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