Tatu – Asian Grill, Sushi Bar and Sake Lounge is coming to Power Plant Live-Restaurant Row in Baltimore. In fact, it opens on a limited schedule for August. Doors opening Friday, August 20th through to Saturday, August 21st, just Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays thereafter until the grand opening after Labor Day.
A handful of media folks were invited last night to come view, drink and eat even with final touches in construction and decorations still being done. With a modern twist on a 1930’s deco Shanghai theme, a plethora of Asian lanterns brighten the entrance and the sushi and sake bars greet you as you work your way into the restaurant. The venue is painted red with black crackling on the walls. A ‘T’ shaped mirrored top communal table wasn’t far from the carved wood wall bar and lush banquettes. The private party space on the 2nd floor wasn’t ready for viewing.
Have a drink
With the trusty Kodak point and shoot in hand, I did my best with limited lighting to get you snaps- view the slide show. I must say after 3 shots of Ai No Hime-sparking sake and a Lychee-tini my skill level definitely dropped. There are times this writer has probably been living under a rock, especially to what is new in drink. I’ve done sake tastings but didn’t’ know there was sparkling sake but it is number one on my list now.
Drinks were flowing but I cut off at the beginning of the evening though I tasted the my friend Patti DeCarlo‘s watermelon mojito and Asian pear mojito. Cocktail prices range from 8 to 18 for the scorpion bowl (for two) –sweet exotic fruit juices, Bacardi select, Ultimat vodka and amaretto, served with a flaming Bacardi 151 float.
The name: Tatu
One of the staffers said she had heard a number of explanations for the restaurant name and she shared one: it was named after the female Russian rock duo t.A.T.u.
The food, the concept and more
This is the second Tatu, with the first one being in the Ft. Lauderdale’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. In fact the chef from the original Tatu, Joe Babcox will be top toque here in Baltimore.
The concept is fresh Chinese, Pan Asian and Sushi under one roof being served in the traditional Asian manner, family style. Dishes are designed to be shared and arrive at your table individually as soon as they are prepared.
We tasted the pickled cucumbers amuse bouche and dishes burgeoning with edaname but we were forewarned there was a great deal of food to taste and they weren’t lying – here goes:
Calamari with Mixed Greens
lime, miso vinaigrette and chili oil
(one of my favorites for the evening )
Tatu Spare Ribs
Short ribs of beef seasoned with chilies, five spice, plum wine. They are cooked for six to eight hours so the meat easily comes off the bone with a touch of the chopstick. (They disappeared fast, well loved by all)
Wonton wrappers stuffed with cream cheese, crab meat and
scallions drizzled with sweet and sour sauce
(finally a crab rangoon where you can taste the crab)
With a chipotle sesame marinade on wonton chips
Wild Mushroom Pot Stickers
Pan-seared dumplings with a soy citrus butter and pencil-thin asparagus
(ooohs and aaahs abounded – they were loved)
maguro, sake, hotate, hamachi
(fresh and fresher)
Marilyn Monroll: Shrimp tempura, jumbo lump crab salad, fresh scallops,
cucumber, avocado, spicy aioli
Tropical Citrus Salmon Roll: salmon, mango, avocado, tobiko, lemon slices
(personal favorite of mine)
There were other rolls – all delicious just didn’t get the names marked down
Black Sea Bass
Deep fried and served with a sweet and sour version of nuoc mam
(loved this – fish was fresh, meaty – staff will assist to take fish off the bones)
Crispy chicken breast tossed with sesame, caramel and chili peppers
Thinly sliced marinated seared New York Strip
with cilantro, shallot and soy mirin sauce
(another favorite of mine)
Chocolate Hot Pot
Fresh fruit, candy, cake and warmed-chocolate sauce
(I went for the strawberries; some were keen on the cake – great communal dessert)
just plain fun
At the table
The bounty of the Tatu table was shared with the WTMD 89.7 crew; Scott Mullins, Tyler Laporte and Stephan Yasko. The always beautifully and fashionably attired Sloane Brown of the Baltimore Sun and Sloane Brown Designs kept the conversation going about movies and favorite movie stars. Before we started dining, Brian Michael Lawrence of Style Magazine popped in for sparkling sake and a quick tour.
Power Plant Live
Water Street adjacent to Ruth’s Chris
(former Blue Sea Grill location)
www.tatuasianrestaurant.com (website for the Florida location- will give you an overview of the menu)
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