Raw fish with rice is just part of menu Restaurant: At Edo Sushi, kimono-clad waitresses will also bring you soup and salad, traditional casseroles, teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes.

January 25, 1998|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

Don't let the name fool you. Edo Sushi, the new Japanese restaurant in Timonium, offers much more than raw fish on seasoned rice. Traditional casseroles, teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes are all on the menu. About the only thing you can't get here is a Japanese beer; Edo Sushi doesn't have a liquor license. (The restaurant is happy for you to bring your own alcohol.)

This is a sunny, cheerful little dining room with lots of blond wood -- shiny and bright as a new penny. Kimono-clad waitresses carrying the sushi chef's pretty creations glide from table to table. Fragrant tea is kept steaming hot in thermos carafes. Voices are low. About the only thing that disturbs the feeling of peace is the drum near the door. Customers are supposed to strike it for good luck when they leave. And they do.

You can make a dinner of sushi here, with a choice of soup or salad and rice. The soft fish against sticky rice, counterpointed by the pungent horseradish-like wasabi and fiery-sweet slices of ginger, is not to be missed. But you could also begin with jTC piece or two of sushi and then follow them with one of the other Japanese dinners. That's what we did.

If raw fish isn't to your taste, the Maryland roll with crisp fried soft crab, rice and a tangy sauce is delectable. Or start with gyozo, clever little moon-shaped dumplings filled with ground pork and shrimp, made to be dipped in a vinegary sauce.

Edo soup arrives at the table in a miniature teapot. Pour the clear fish broth into the tiny bowl provided and drink it, then lift the teapot lid and pull the seafood out with your chopsticks.

The restaurant has fine tempura -- each jumbo shrimp and fresh vegetable surrounded with a thin, crisp batter that's remarkably grease-free.

Or you can get one of the casserole dishes, like shabu-shabu. The waitress brings a hot plate and a pot of broth to the table. When the broth comes to a boil, the designated cook adds napa cabbage, tofu, mushrooms, noodles, spinach and translucently thin slices of raw beef. It's eaten in soup bowls with spoons, but you also use your chopsticks to dip the ingredients into a lemon and soy sauce.

Those interested in a more straightforward meal will be happy with the tender boneless breast of chicken in a gingery, not-too-sweet teriyaki sauce. It comes with broccoli, steamed rice and a knife and fork.

I have very little interest in Japanese restaurants' desserts because Japanese restaurants have very little interest in desserts. This restaurant is no exception. There are only two on the menu, so we tried them both. After you've had Edo Sushi's fine tempura, the tempura ice cream seems like a travesty -- a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a topping of fried tempura batter. The green-tea ice cream is a lovely celadon, but shut your eyes and I defy you to tell the difference between it and the vanilla ice cream.

Edo Sushi

Where: 53 E. Padonia Road, Timonium

Hours: Open every day for lunch and dinner

Prices: Appetizers, $4.25-$7.95; entrees, $8.95-$17.95; major credit cards

Call: 410-667-9200

Pub Date: 1/25/98

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