Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sushi Yama In Ellicott City
Am I right that Columbia has its own style of sushi? Well, it certainly has a new sushi place that steps up the scene.
Somehow I discovered the "big roll" style here at Sushi King and Sushi Sono. I went from sushi pieces and tuna rolls in Virginia to the magical combinations like Sono's #14 that wraps together tuna, seared salmon and a sauce with a bite.
Now, add Sushi Yama near the top of the list. The new restaurant in the Dorsey Search village center off Rte 108 delivers fish that almost rivals Sushi Sono, This is a unique variation on the "big roll" style with a price that is probably a step smaller.
With a friend, we blew out on our first visit with four "big rolls" that I'd absolutely order again. Like the King and Sono rolls, the best ones relied on high-quality ingredients jazzed up by combinations and sauces. "Tokyo" includes spicy yellowtail, avocado, tuna, salmon and honey wasabi sauce. "Orange House" includes asparagus, sprouts, cucumber, and two styles of salmon.
The sprouts are the kind of touch that make me want to work through Sushi Yama's menu. Like at King and Sono, the Yama kitchen puts together flavors that work, not just stuff they slapped on rice. Those sprouts give a peppery flavor that paired with crisp asparagus and the fish. In the "Columbia" roll, a sweet mango sauce brought together a mix of shrimp tempura, crab, pine nuts and avocado.
Our quality test recently has been salmon skin roll. Bad ones come dry or just crunchy. Yama's salmon skin had the crisp, but also a slight chew and strong salmon flavor that contrasts nicely with the more-complex big rolls.
After one visit, Sushi Yama hasn't pushed aside Sono as my favorite spot. But I certainly saw that the prices were a touch lower, and I think there are two dozen rolls that I want to try. Lots of interesting sauces that go hot and sweet -- a kimchi sauce, mango sauce, eel sauce used in rolls without eel. Several interesting wrappers like pink soy paper. That's all on top of a standard Japanese menu with terriyaki, tempura and udon.
Don't let the Ellicott City address fool you. Sushi Yama is in Dorsey Search, which follows the Columbia style of making sure that nothing is visible from the main road. Once you find the place, it's a surprisingly modern decor, definitely a place where you could take a date.
(Update: HoCo Rising points out that Sushi Yama isn't new to everyone. It has apparently been open for two years. Two years? Someone's wife gets her hair cut in Dorsey Search, and I would have thought that a new restaurant two years ago would have warranted at least a takeout menu to bring home. Hmmmmm.)
4725-G Dorsey Hall Dr
Ellicott City, MD 21042
NEAR: This is in the Dorsey Hall village center. It's just off Rte 108 a block west of Rte 29. You turn north onto Columbia Road from Rte 108 and then turn right on Dorsey Hall Road to get to the shopping center. Sushi Yama is in the center. This is down from the Hunan Legend restaurant and its authentic Chinese menu.