Tag Archives: review

District [Sushi] Geek – Episode 2

25 Aug

Located on the Inner Harbor, Edo Sushi has a second-floor, panoramic full-window view of Baltimore’s central iconic landmark.  The Harbour itself is home to warships, water taxis, street performers, and the Baltimore Aquarium.  In the ring of land that forms the harbor, there are shops as well as many restaurants.  Most are chains, and some are better than others.  Edo Sushi is one such chain (though I believe it is limited to Maryland), and that is where I had dinner on Otakon Friday*.
The first impression always lasts, and I witnessed a few slip-ups.  First, I tried to enter the restaurant via the stairs facing the harbor. Apparently all the doors on that side of Edo are locked, and I had to cut through another restaurant to get into the walkway that led to Edo.  When I stepped inside and told the hostess about my booking, she flatly stated that they took no reservations on Otakon weekend.  Although I understand why they should and did do that, I called one month prior to Otakon to ask about reservations, and I was told that it was fine and was booked.  I called the week before Otakon and was reassured that my dinner time was set.  Despite this failure in communication, they had open tables and my friend and I were seated promptly.  Service continued to be shabby, with two separate waitresses asking us for drinks orders.  Said drinks took their sweet time in arriving.
There was no real décor, per se.  I vaguely remember some Japanese art, but the most Japanese thing about the restaurant were the sushi chef coats that the male wait staff wore (or it may have been the chefs, pulling double duty?).  The chopsticks were run of the mill, and the soy sauce was straight from the Kikoman bottle.  The menu was quite large, offering many surf and turf options, in additional to traditional sushi shop fare.  As my friend could only stay a short while, I passed on starters and ordered three sushi rolls.   As I enjoy trying the ‘locale specials’, I ordered the Chesapeake Roll (Lump crabmeat, fried oyster & cucumber with special sauce), as well as an Eel roll and a Yellowtail roll.  And of course I got a couple of fish egg nigiri with quail egg on top.  They’re so squishy and tasty!
 
The rolls came in two separate orders, and the most obvious issue with them was the size.  They were massive!  Each roll had to be two inches in diameter.  When I tried to pick up a section, I saw that the probable cause for its ginormity was because the roll was not packed at all.  Nearly every other roll fell apart, no matter how gently I tried to lift it.  They literally barely fit in my mouth, so most had to be eaten in parts.  For the Chesapeake, this was fine, as the fried oyster nested inside was the best part.  I would recommend that anyone going to Edo just get an order or two of them and forgo the sushi.  The crabmeat/rice mush left from the roll was then my second bite.  The rice itself had little flavor, and the wasabi was not very spicy.  The eel and yellowtail rolls tasted fine, but they, too were just very difficult to eat.
 edo sushi
I found no fault with my nigiri. It looks like the simple rolls may be fine to order as well.
 
In summary, I would not return to this chain.   Although the fried oysters were great, and I bet they do a mean crab cake, there are other seafood establishments in the Harbor that I’d rather try.
If you had a different impression of Edo Sushi, or know of a better place in Baltimore let me know!
 
I’ll be posting more reviews in the coming weeks, as Groupon has been quite kind to me.  Half price sushi is extra tasty!
*To be honest, I mistook Edo to be KonaGrill, a wonderful restaurant with good noodles and a dark, classy ambiance.  (It, too, is a chain and national to boot.)
 

District [Sushi] Geek – Episode 1

31 May

I am a massive sushi lover.  As such, it’s my goal to go forth into the District in search of the tastiest sushi!  Today’s Episode is: Sushi Inside the Pentagon!

Disclaimer: Although I’m a food dork and love sushi, I grew up in a land where sushi was never fresh, and only in the past ten years have I begun to develop a palate. So please take my reviews with a few grains of salt!

I had the honour of dining at the Pentagon today, at what may be one of the hardest-to-access sushi stands in all of DC.  It was inside a simple buffet and market, and within the market two sushi chef stood at their meter-long counter, tirelessly making sushi.  Their menu contained many classics rolls such as the California and Vegetable, as well as typical Nigiri such as tuna, crab, and eel.  They also make party platters (for $60-100)!

I chose the seaweed salad, a staple on par with miso that I use to determine the baseline quality of their food.  I also decided on a “Five on Five Salmon” ($5.99) which was a roll with spicy salmon and cucumber with salmon on top.   A rather bland chili sauce topped the roll.  Then, of course I ordered the “Pentagon Roll” ($5.39).  It was a roll with Avocado, Cucumber, Shrimp and Crab.  Not even tempura anything… this roll just had those simple ingredients, sprinkled with sesame on top.  I thought to myself, maybe it’s a spy roll, hiding a secret taste (much like the building holds so many of the US’ secrets), though I recognized than the ingredients are very unoriginal for a signature roll (see: Shrimp Special, Deluxe California, Jordan’8, & Cal-Vada Maki for starters).

The seaweed salad was very typical, though perhaps with a bit less umami than I like.  Unfortunately, the salad was a vivid green, and one look at the sesame seeds confirmed that green dye was added to the salad to make it look so vibrant.  (Negative points for that.)  But the seaweed was crisp and refreshing, and other than the dye I had no complaint.  And at $2.99 for a serving, the price was completely worth it.

The sushi was presented pleasantly.  The ginger was a bit wilted and weak, and the wasabi was typical, with a nice, rough texture and medium heat (I could have some by itself and it was not hot, just spicy).  The rice was a bit rubbery, though not uncomfortably so, and it lacked a bit of the vinegar flavour that is typical of good sushi rice.  However, the rice was quite sticky and all of my rolls had their integrity intact throughout the entire meal.

The salmon 5 on 5 roll was very bland.  The fish itself had chewy bits and did not taste like the typical high-grade sushi fish that melts on one’s tongue (I had a second thought about maybe getting the tuna 5 on 5 instead!).  The spicy tuna inside was not hot at all, though there was a bit of flavour in the sauce.  And unfortunately the orange sauce on top was nothing but a decorative accent, with no definitive flavours that I could find.

Then came the Pentagon roll.  Avocado dominated.  With a bit of wasabi, I could imagine it being something better, but the shrimp was so thinly sliced I could not even taste it and the cucumber was very thinly sliced and not crispy (perhaps remnants, but not cucumber sticks!).   This unsuspecting roll did not live up to the grandeur of the building it was named after.  Yes, it was disappointing.  But somehow it was better than the 5 on 5.

All in all, I would give this un-named Pentagon Market Sushi Stand a 2 out of 5 stars.  It’s good for supermarket food, but even Whole Foods sushi is better than this was (review on Whole Foods sushi will be forthcoming! 🙂.

There were also no sales of alcoholic beverages in the Pentagon, so I have no review of Japanese beer or sake for this episode 😦

What’s your favourite sushi place?  Mine is California Rollin’, a hole-in the wall hideaway in Rochester, NY.  The thing is, it was where I had my full-on sushi baptism, so I’m not sure that it’s as good as I remember, now that I’m getting around the sushi scene.  Someday I shall return, and then it will be put to the real test! ❤

Review: That 80’s Prom 4 – Back to 1985

18 Apr

I did indeed attend That 80’s Prom Party (Warning: Sound) on Saturday night.  It was a great time and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the 8o’s.

The theme was Prom, and even before entering Blackfinn DC, I began to see girls in taffeta and neon walking the sidewalks.  And ‘lo and behold! Next to the entrance was a DeLorean! It turns out that a local named David brought his baby out for the party.  I was impressed.  They really did go all out.

This man has one sick ride.

This is serial number 2230, and it is in great condition.  She has 20k miles on her, and has only a few things that David wants to upgrade, such as LED’s on the door, adding a HAM radio to the back window grate, and putting in a brake light in the center rear.  I was surprised to learn that DeLoreans are automatic, and very low riding.  Also, the doors really are odd.  They had leather pull-down straps attached to the handles for people like me who don’t have a massive wingspan.  Also, when I got out of the vehicle, the corners of the door still nearly hit my head, and I’m 5’6″.  I can see why these doors didn’t catch on, even though they do look wicked impressive when deployed.

Whats hotter: me in 80s gear, or Davids ride? I vote the car.

As soon as I entered Blackfinn, I felt like they really did throw us back to the 80’s.  There were cardboard Pac-Men and Rubik’s Cubes hanging from the ceiling, along with the stereotypical balloon archway that proms always seem to have. (Was there a point to those things?  By the end, it was floating on the ceiling anyways…)  Almost everyone there was in costume, including the wait staff.  Neon hues and tight clothes dominated.  The Back to the Future series was playing on multiple screens.  On the other screens ran music videos from the 80’s.  I was hooked on those, and they provided the music when the Hair Band wasn’t playing.

...they werent that good, but looked pretty hot.

To be honest, I liked listening to and watching the music videos more.  They were all great, bringing back memories of Madonna, David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston… so many great artists with big hair.  People danced, sang, and imbibed.  And to top off the Prom theme, Blackfinn had its hosts act as chaperones: they served us drinks, asked how we were doing throughout the night, and even handed out towels to us in the bathroom!  It felt like we were in a VIP booth.  I loved it.  This is definitely worth checking out next year if you missed out, and I thank Lindy Promotions for planning it!

Unreal Engine 3 Highlights

8 Apr

This week, Epic Games released a video showing just how awesome the Unreal Engine 3 can be.  According to its YouTube description, this video highlights “the latest UE3 has to offer, from high-end DirectX 11 features to handy mobile game development tools.”  It begins with showing us a lot of character and background premades, and then goes into some details on worldbuiding using the engine.  I’m into graphic design, but let me tell you, there’s a ton on there that I can’t even imagine being able to make myself.  This thing is getting really good.

I have always been a fan of the fluffy hair, and it looks like their smoke generator is getting to be really realistic.  And the shadows.  Oh, man, the shadows!  In games, I have to admit I normally don’t look at the shadows, as they really just give a bit of depth to the scene and are pretty flat, but these really look good.  For games that want that realism, this is gonna put them over the top.

Now, I have to admit something.  As much as I claim to be a gamer chick, I haven’t played every game out there. And besides my Nintendo and N-64, I haven’t gotten a console since then (does a DS count?).  I’m a console bum.  I only play at friends’ places.  That is pretty lame, and it does limit what I play, but at least I still get some exposure.  So please forgive my ignorance on issues if it shows.  And feel free to correct me or chime in with more information. I’d appreciate it!

That being said, Unreal Tournament was one of the best first person shooters out there when I was in college, until Halo was released.  I totally rocked Unreal, though all we ever seemed to play was capture the flag.  I’m sure the graphics from back then now look like total crap, but, hey.  We’ve seen a ton of evolution in such a short span of time.  It never ceases to amaze me.

What games do you look forward to that are in development with this Engine? Seeing what UE3 can do, what might next gen consoles be like?