That evocative smell that hits when you walk in might make you think you’ve wandered into a sauna at a ski resort. But it’s actually burning logs of Japanese white oak, the fuel of choice for the robata (grill), which is responsible for some of the highlights here, including a delightful array of umami-rich chicken parts: heart, skin, tail, and more.
These aren’t the only temptations to make the trip to Michael Mina’s restaurant in the Baltimore Four Seasons, led by executive chef Jonah Kim. The sushi chefs are better stocked than most—there are 22 varieties of fish, including a daily selection from Tokyo—and also more artful.
You’ll drink as well as you eat if you explore the region’s most extensive sake collection (bottles range from $13 to four digits) or dabble in the Japanese beers. Don’t miss: Scallop sashimi with ponzu; egg custard with prawn, scallop, and mushrooms; Happy Spoon (oyster with sea urchin, salmon roe, and ponzu crème fraîche); “chicken noodle” ramen; tiny eggplants with spicy miso; miso-broiled cod; sashimi or sushi of live scallop, kadai bluefin toro, king salmon, uni, and mackerel; pumpkin sundae; dessert omakase tasting. Open: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Expensive.