|Yellow Angel and Pinky Control rolls|
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?)
8194 Westside Boulevard, Ste G
Fulton, MD 20759
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.