Sushi bars often open in the Baltimore area. Japanese restaurants that aren't steakhouses, not so much.
Hence the interest in the new Aloha Tokyo (1120 Fort Ave., 410-685-0545) in Locust Point. It was scheduled to open this week where the French Quarter was.
The owner is Sean Kim. (His neighbors, he says, Americanized his first name, Seon, and he likes it.) Kim is Korean-Japanese from Japan, and somehow Hawaii has gotten into the mix as well. He describes the cuisine as Asian, with yakitori (skewered chicken) and odeng (a hard-to-describe, fish-cake-based street food) being representative dishes. There's also a sake bar.
"The most distinguishing features of Aloha Tokyo," says Kim, "are the fusion interior and the music of Hawaii and Japan."
The restaurant was scheduled to open this week for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Faith and begorra --Yet another Irish pub has opened in the Irish Restaurant Co. Inc. group, which started in this area with Galway Bay in Annapolis. The new one is Brian Boru, named after the last great high king of Ireland, in Severna Park (489 Ritchie Highway, 410-975-2678). There is also the Killarney House in Davidsonville and the Kinsale Inn in Massachusetts. These places have been successful because they do the classic Irish pub thing so well and authentically.
Brian Boru is open for dinner nightly as well as for lunch Saturday and brunch Sunday, but weekday lunch should follow shortly. Entrees run from $13 for fish and chips or lamb stew to $24.95 for 24 ounces of prime rib.
Mamma mia --Pomo Grille opened last week (in the Freestate Shopping Centre, 15700 Old Annapolis Road, 301-352-POMO) in Bowie. It's part of the Monte Restaurant Development Group that also has Cafe Mezzanotte in Severna Park. Baltimoreans who aren't interested in traveling to Bowie for pizza and casual Italian will be more intrigued by the group's next, more upscale project, Carpaccio. It's a Tuscan restaurant and wine bar scheduled to open in Annapolis' Park Place next spring.
Almost true --In my Table Talk column of last week I reported that True, the Admiral Fell Inn's fine-dining restaurant, had closed for good and the space would be used for private events. I also said the Petticoat Tea Room would be taking over the catering.
Sherry Cohen, director of food and beverage for Admiral Fell Inn catering, tells me I was "given misinformation." (Given her job title, I can see why she'd like to clear that up.) Apparently the inn is planning to reopen the dining room next spring with a new name and a new concept. When I asked what the concept would be, she said probably "contemporary American seafood with a fusion twist."
Send restaurant news, trends, questions of general interest or observations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax me at 410-783-2519. Snail mail works, too: Elizabeth Large, The Sun, Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.