After somewhat disappointing meal there last time, I returned here to sit at the sushi bar hoping for a different experience and it surely was. While the tables and the regular bar was pretty packed, I was the lone person at the sushi bar just before 8pm, and was fortunate to have chef Taka in front of me preparing my meal.
I started of with three sashimi - otoro and saba recommended by the chef, and added kohada. Otoro was excellent, and saba cured by the chef for about 45 minutes brought out wonderful and gentle flavors that didn't need much else added. Kohada was also very lightly cured, and very fresh with subtle fatty flavors.
Next I ordered their Kumamoto oysters. There's 4 in an order, and is garnished with ponzu, momiji oroshi (graded daikon raddish and chili pepper), and scallions. The oysters were decently fresh, but for my taste I felt there was too much ponzu which subdues the oyster from shining.
After consulting with the chef, I settled on these for the nigiri course. I found the rice warm, well-seasoned w/ good texture, and chef Taka presses them gently which I appreciate. His knife skills are as good as the bests I've encountered in NYC. Generally the fish to rice ratio for nigiri here is higher than most authentic/traditional sushi shops. Otoro as nigiri was just as wonderful, and hamachi had slight textural bite along with its fatty flavors that were also very nice. Kinmadai - the golden eye snapper from Florida - silky and immensely flavorful for a white fish and revealing of chef's skill. Uni was bit off on my taste and chef explained it was from Maine. Anago was excellent with just a drip of the sweet sauce before serving.
Not quite full yet, I asked chef for a couple of more nigiri, and he asked me to try the saba as nigiri - interplay of rice with subtly cured fatty mackerel was very nice, and next piece of spanish mackerel with torched skin was education in comparison. All this time, as I am sitting with a view of the kitchen, I was tempted to try a grilled item and ordered the whole squid grilled - it came out of a packaged plastic wrap before being placed on the grill (likely frozen then thawed) and fairly overcooked though nicely charred for the tennacles.
I had a very nice time of enjoying the chef Taka's offerings, and learning about his view of aging fish. The serving staff was quite attentive, and it was a nice touch to a single diner for the manager to come by and ask how everything was on a couple of occasions. It was also nice for them to provide a finger cleaner (see pic) for those who like to eat nigiri with one's hand. Overall this was by far the best sushi experience I had in Baltimore, and it certainly competes very favorably with upper-tier joints in neighboring cities. Looking forward to returning here for more great experiences, and if you are planning to go for this kind of meal, book it for Tuesdays or early Fridays as these are the likely days to have the combination of best quality fish and most attention of the chef Taka. I highly recommend it.