Monday, February 18, 2013

First Thoughts: Sushi Tendou in Fulton

Yellow Angel and Pinky Control rolls
You don't add this much rock to a shopping center unless you have high expectations.

Sushi Tendou opened last week in Fulton -- across the lot from the Maple Lawn Harris Teeter -- and the little restaurant opened big.  Stone walls.  Cool lights.  A sculptural school of fish swimming along the ceiling.

I run a media empire eating in shopping centers, and even Mrs. HowChow and I were surprised to walk into Sushi Tendou and find a place that wants to compete with the best sushi and date night spots around.

This is high end sushi.  The prices and the dishes are clearly aimed at competing with Sushi Sono and Sushi Yama, not takeout fish.  Sushi is already one of Howard County's deepest cuisines, but we thought Sushi Tendou can swim with the big boys.  Unusual, interesting rolls.  A variety of classic sushi.  Japanese dishes like teriyaki, udon and soba.

We had two specials rolls that pulled off the trick of mixing fish, rice, fruit and other toppings.  "Yellow Angel" -- shrimp tempura, cucumber, mango and spicy, crunchy salmon.  "Pinky Control" -- spicy salmon, shrimp tempura, kani, avocado and spicy mayo wrapped in a pink soy paper.  Both were fresh, creative and delicious.  Strong salmon flavor with no fishiness.  Crunchy shrimp even on the last piece.

Inadvertently, our rolls both had salmon and shrimp tempura, but they tasted completely different.  Open less than a week, Sushi Tendou has already thought enough about the food to make unique items.  At the same time, our third roll was just one of their basics, and it came out particularly enticing.  Great fish tartar, and Mrs. HowChow pointed to the rice, which was moist and tender.

None of the great sushi in Howard County is cheap.  The big rolls at Sushi Tendou run $13-16 for a not-so-enormous size.  Most sushi pieces are $3 each.  An age tofu and three rolls filled us up, but we're not the biggest eaters.  We came warned by comments on a prior post, so it's seemed fair -- although probably not an every-week spot for most people.

Overall, Sushi Tendou is aiming high.  The interior design with stone and artworks looks like Facci or Iron Bridge, not like the Hair Cuttery down the row.  It's friendly enough to bring kids, but it's cool enough to bring a date -- especially if you can get one of the two-seat booths against the wall.

If I had one complaint, it was that I think they're still working out the kitchen.  We ordered a spicy, crunch tuna roll.  The waitress confirmed that when we asked, but there was nothing crunchy or spicy about the roll.  It tasted like great salmon so we snapped it up.

On the next trip, I want to try more Japanese food -- maybe the udon soup or the octopus appetizer.  I was also captivated by hand rolls.  Maybe that's a way to try get a taste of eel while eating with "no eel" valentine.

On that age tofu, does anyone have advice about how to eat it?  The tofu was beautifully fried, crispy but not greasy.  We just couldn't lift the soft tofu easily with chopsticks -- and often couldn't maneuver the tofu into the dipping sauce.

(And since the Internet often lacks humor, we all know "media empire is a joke, right?)

Sushi Tendou
8194 Westside Boulevard, Ste G
Fulton, MD 20759
301-317-3303

NEAR:  Sushi Tendou is just off Rte 216 in the Maple Lawn development.  It shares a parking lot with the Harris Teeter.  From Rte 216, you turn at the traffic circle for Westside Boulevard, which is just west of the main Maple Lawn entrance.  Sushi Tendou is on the end of a strip shopping center facing the supermarket.

Sushi Tendou on Urbanspoon

8 comments:

LisaBMrsS said...

Agree, agree, agree. I expected more wasabi heat in the Green Dragon roll, but it was still yummy. The Nymph roll was delicious! I think the Crazy Salmon Roll could easily become my go-to at this place. Definitely my favorite so far. They prepared some jellyfish for us to sample. I've never had jellyfish before. I don't like it. Tastes fine (well, almost like nothing) but I'm not a fan of the texture. I love the adventure of it. I'm so glad this restaurant is here!

Katie Graybeal said...

Cool to hear of a new place opening up. Don't forget about Columbia's newest and most hidden sushi gem of all ... Asian Palace Fusion. Excellent cuisine, overly-friendly staff and convenient location. Worth a review, looks like you may not have found this spot yet? http://www.asianpalacefusion.com/

K8teebug said...

I love Asian Palace's food, but haven't tried their sushi yet! And everyone knows the most romantic spot in a sushi restaurant is at the sushi bar :)

kam said...

LisaBMrsS -

I'm your opposite on jellyfish. I love the texture, and used to get it as an appetizer at Red Pearl, so this is exciting news for me. :)

-kam

Brian said...

I went to Sushi Tendou yesterday for dinner to check it out, and was fairly disappointed. The crab miso soup I got as an appetizer was pretty good, but the two special rolls I got weren't too far above average.

The bigger problem was that service was VERY slow. Appetizers came out in a reasonable amount of time, but the rolls took something like 45 minutes to an hour to show up and were delivered with no apology for the delay. And we weren't a large group or ordering a ton of food, just 4 of us ordering 2 rolls each.

One nice thing was that the green tea was pretty good and the free refills were constant...I don't think I ever got my mug to empty. On the other hand, if you like beer or sake with your sushi instead of green tea, it's worth mentioning that they still didn't have a liquor license as of Friday.

They are brand new and so might change over time. But as it is, if they plan to compete with Sushi Sono (a place I really like), they're not off to a super great start in my book.

mdfoodlover said...

We went last night & enjoyed it very much. I started with the peanut avocado salad. Pretty basic & tasty with the orange dressing on the side.
My wife's Boston rolls were her favorite version compared to our normal sushi spot's version. I had rainbow roll first. It was right on par with others. Also tried the Snow Mountain, which was delicious.

Service was excellent, provided by a very nice young woman who looked quite familiar.

The food came out in a very timely manner.

This may very well become my number one go to Sushi spot.

Anonymous said...

We had a very good meal there last night Definitely a nice addition to the area One note: they told me they are expecting their liquor license mid-March. So until then stop at IM Wine and BYOB (and save a few bucks on the restaurant up charge).

S. said...

We tried Tendou this weekend for lunch and enjoyed it. The interior is quite nice, we loved all the stone & wood and the fish sculptures are very unique. The service was efficient, we tried the veg.tempura appetizer along with a couple of Bento boxes (teriyaki salmon & teriyaki chicken), it was very tasty! For interested folks: the server mentioned they're expecting their liquor license in the next week or two (first weeks in April).