Sushi. The mere mention of it conjures up for some, dreams of delicious buttery tuna on fresh rice. For others, it means grocery store California Rolls.
I’m not here to judge you on what kind of sushi you like or what first got you into loving sushi, I am here to give you some great sushi spots in Maryland. My sushi backstory starts in the late 90’s where grocery store sushi had just begun to take off. As a kid growing up, the idea of sushi really disgusted me and I think the only concept of it that I had was in Hot Shots Part Deux (How’s that for a 90’s movie reference?).
The whole concept of raw fish was just gross, WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT’S RAW? Ew. No Way. 10 year old Unmanly Chef wanted no part. Well, in comes the California Roll, and say what you want, but the California Roll is great for people who are scared of sushi. After I tried that, I slowly grew to love all kinds of sushi and now I’m a veritable sushi fiend! I love it in all forms and I’m always on the lookout for good sushi.
Quick back-story on sushi: It spread to Japan in the 8th century with the spread of Buddhism.The fish was stored with the rice as a form of food preservation and would develop a sour/pickled flavor. Interesting factoid, sushi is actually the rice and sashimi is the fish. There are two kinds of sushi, nigiri & maki, nigiri is typically placed on a bed of rice, while maki is in a roll.
For anyone visiting Maryland or just looking for a good spot to eat here are a few great spots to get quality sushi.
1- Sushi Sono – Columbia – This is probably one of Columbia’s most successful restaurants. It has been around for over two decades and has been a staple of the Howard County food scene for quite some time. It has a rabid following and is usually always packed.
2- Yama Sushi – Ellicott City – Nestled in the Dorsey Hall Village Center, you have Yama Sushi. This place has been around for a few years now and they do a great job delivering fanciful dishes. I personally like Yama better than Sushi Sono, the prices are slightly more reasonable and you can always find a table. There sushi boat is pictured above. I highly recommend getting the Fuji Maki and Tokyo Maki Roll. The service is great, you are always greeted with a smiling face and typically quickly seated.
3- Kiku Sushi – Federal Hill, Baltimore – I just went here during the Arctic blast with a friend of ours, my fiancee and I were blown away. Manned by just a solitary man, he quickly whipped up a sushi feast for us. This was probably the best sushi that I have had in a long time. Everything was super fresh, the miso soup was piping hot and salted perfectly. The Unagi was as my friend described “Fish Bacon” it was incredible.
These three are just a small sampling of what Maryland’s sushi scene has to offer, having access to great seafood allows for Maryland to offer a great sushi scene. Hopefully these help you in your journey to finding excellent sushi.