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