A very good meal after a long wait


Despite delay, Tako is worth more visits

March 12, 2003|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I went for sushi and I made a new friend. It was Friday night and the owner of Tako Seafood & Deli was holding the fort with only one, obviously inexperienced, helper. The upshot: I spent a long time waiting for our meal in this quirky and appealing Lutherville carryout, hearing a good bit of the owner's life story.

Tako opened last summer next to a convenience store on York Road as a deli, serving sandwiches, subs and salads, as well as deviled eggs, an endearing touch, to be sure.

In the fall, it added a kitchen capable of turning out fried and grilled seafood dishes, and extras such as pork barbecue. Recently, the eatery added a small wooden sushi bar tucked off to one side. (There's also a fresh seafood case featuring a few varieties of fish and other items.)

After the long wait, we were rewarded with a very good meal. With the regular sushi chef off that night, the owner did a commendable job preparing spicy tuna rolls ($5), California rolls ($4) and an asparagus roll ($2.50). The tuna and other ingredients were fresh and came together nicely. Fried clams ($2.95) reminded everyone of Howard Johnson's, the highest praise when it comes to fried clams. Chicken fingers ($4.95) featured a fresh, thick piece of white chicken meat in a peppery, thick batter.

At the owner's suggestion, we tried a blackened-tuna sandwich on a soft kaiser roll ($5.75), and we weren't disappointed. The tuna was not overcooked - the usual fate of tuna in carryout restaurants - and the spices were piquant without being overwhelming. A second entree, grilled teriyaki salmon ($5.75), was also cooked quite well and featured an excellent sauce.

The one failure was the chicken potpie soup ($3), a thick blob of noodles and mystery ingredients that uniformly repelled all of us.

Despite the problems with the service, which were understandable given the staffing problems - and at least the owner apologized repeatedly - I would definitely visit Tako again.

There were no desserts on the menu the night I was there. A lot along busy York Road provides adequate parking.

Tako Seafood & Deli

Food: ***

Service: * 1/2

Waiting area: ***

Parking: ***

Where: 1540 York Road, Lutherville

Phone: 410-339-7966

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Sandwiches and subs from $3.95 to $7.25; seafood sandwiches and entrees from $5.75 to $7.75; sushi from $2.50 to $11; credit cards accepted

Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor:*

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