Saturday, March 1, 2008

Aloha Tokyo

Cat and I decided to go to dinner by ourselves while Dog stayed home with the flu watching Twelve Monkeys (filmed in Baltimore, hon!). We got in the car and started driving and aimed towards Locust Point, or LoPo as we used to call it before it got to be the "it" urban neighbourhood (and got awful).

We decided sushi would be fun so found a parking place in front of Aloha Sushi on Fort Avenue. For the ten years I lived in LoPo, this space was the dark and narrow French Quarter, a desperation bar, when nothing else was open or you were in need of some carry out beer. It was an open secret that their main source of income was the numbers they were running, but who really cared. The Aloha Tokyo have just slapped their sign right over the old FQ sign.

Aloha Tokyo is about 14 feet wide and needs every inch of width. The bar takes up a third of the width, the chairs at the bar are way too deep for the place, and then there are tiny booths for two along the right side. The place is done in head-to-toe bamboo and a faux tiki look. The booths have tall benches and Cat and I, both being height-challenged, worried whether our feet would reach the floor. We saw one tiny woman struggle to get into the chairs. There wasn't two feet between the backs of the chairs and the booths, which made for some tight squeezes.

The first stumble happened when we ordered our drinks... Sapphire Gin and Tonics. The drinks arrived with the glasses half full and we correctly guessed that it was just gin. When we asked, the waitress said they didn't have any tonic and that the owner was going out to get some. She took our drinks and put them behind the bar. About a half an hour later, we saw the owner scurrying in with several grocery bags. We finally got our much watered down G&T's.

We each got sushi, mine a tuna with "crispy" on the top and Cat's an avacado and tuna. When we asked what crispy was, the waitress said it was powder. It was more like rice crispies. It added an interesting texture to the sushi.

One good sign for the restaurant was that three-quarters of the clientele in the place were Asian. That boded well for the food, which was pretty good. The entire waitstaff was Asian, and their command of English wasn't great. It was a little frustrating trying to get our drinks and then the check. The demographics of LoPo have changed so dramatically in the past few years that I am sure a sushi joint will be welcome. When I lived there, sushi was viewed as another word for bait.
Image: The Baltimore Sun

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