Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kawasaki


Kawasaki
907 S. Ann St.
Fell's Point, Baltimore
sushi
410-327-9400
Cost: $$$
Reservations: Varies
Date of meal: August 29, 2007
National Price-Quality Frontier: Inside It
Baltimore Price-Quality Frontier: On It

I had an excellent sushi experience at Kawasaki last night. When we arrived at 7:30 or so, there was plenty of seating indoors. All the outdoor tables were taken, but one opened up after a very brief wait. Kawasaki's decor is better than that of most Japanese restaurants, with the outdoor seating area overlooking the pier. This can also be seen from the tables by the window, which are low to the ground with floor cushions for the patrons.

We ordered the sushi and sashimi boat for two ($40, the boat for three is $55), as one in the group wanted vegetarian sushi (go figure). This was the most expensive thing on the menu, with other sushi combination in the $15-20 range; while I gave this a cost of $$$ I'd say it is a low $$$ and maybe even a high $$.

The boat took a while to be prepared (20-30 minutes), but was worth the wait. It had the usual combination of salmon, yellowtail, tuna, mackerel, red snapper (I think), and shrimp. The salmon and yellowtail were both outstanding. I was disappointed that it did not include unagi (eel) but was happy it did not include octopus, clam, or egg. It included two rolls, one with asparagus and (maybe) tuna, the other with a spicy sauce. The boat included a bit of seaweed salad, which was excellent, and some pickled vegetables. Everything was great, with fresher fish than either Asahi or XS. Asahi is slightly cheaper (but not much); XS has a slightly hipper vibe (but no view). Still, at this point I would go to Kawasaki over either of these options. The only better sushi I've had (except at astronomical prices) was at Oishii in Boston's Chestnut Hill.

One minor drawback of Kawasaki was service, which could have been faster and more responsive. Service was competent and polite, but they were understaffed both in and out of the kitchen.

Kawasaki has a rather sordid history of exploiting illegal immigrant employees and not paying taxes. This shuttered another branch of the Kawasaki brand on Charles Street. I understand that the Fell's Point Kawasaki is now under new management; I have no reason to believe current management engages in any illegal or unethical conduct, which is why I was happy to go. I guess the optimal number of employees went down once employees had to be legal, be paid more than minimum wage, and have taxes withheld and paid.

4 comments:

Bill Mill said...

Have you tried Matsuri? It became my favorite after some poorly prepared crab sushi at Kawasaki. Excellent Miso.

Marginal Foodie said...

Bill,
I haven't been yet, but it is definitely on my list. I've heard good things.

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