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Otani Japanese Cuisine

Mar 05, 2013 06:23PM ● By Anonymous

With some help from a very friendly and professional staff, my guest and I ordered warm sake to take off the evening chill and began to look at the large menu selection. The sushi alone has every variety of fresh seafood available, with specials that look to be unique and popular. I chose to start with the lobster miso soup ($8.75) and the edamame ($4.95). The lobster miso soup was a mildly flavored stock with enoki mushroom, a split lobster tail, and scallions. The edamame was very tender and lightly sea salted, the beans popping out of the pods with little persuasion. My guest ordered the hot and sour soup ($6.75) and avocado Tempura ($6.95). The soup was served very hot with a strong flavored stock that had both qualities of its name, garnished with shrimp and a piece of lobster. I was curious about the avocado tempura at first, and when it arrived, the presentation was very traditional Japanese Culinary Art. Six large pieces of fresh, ripe, avocado, lightly coated in panko bread crumbs covered the plate that was delicately garnished with two sauces. The crunchy and velvet textures combined very well. The final battle over the last slice with my guest was entertaining, too.

I ordered the eel and cucumber roll ($5.50) to see how the two sushi chefs would assemble a very traditional roll and it arrived quickly, garnished in true Japanese style; simple and elegant. Good quality fresh-water eel and crunchy cucumber were rolled expertly with sesame seed. The expansive sushi menu can clearly stand alone for anyone to enjoy as a full meal. Sashimi, hand rolls, special rolls, sushi combo, and a nice selection of group sushi items grace the menu. Though we opted for trying entrées this night.

Entrée choices range from hibachi, teriyaki, tempura, and katsu, along with traditional udon and noodle dishes. I ordered the teriyaki scallops ($17.95) while my guest had saffron miso salmon ($25.00).

We each enjoyed the house salad that included fresh mixed salad greens and grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, and a very unique house dressing with fresh citrus and other mild seasonings. It was very refreshing and a good palate cleanser for the meal to come.

Saffron Miso Salmon

The teriyaki scallops were served in a mildly sweet teriyaki sauce over a mandolin-cut fresh vegetable medley and grilled zucchini. I prefer large sea scallops to the medium ones used in this dish, but I am aware of shortages in the size available in the market. A side of vegetable fried rice arrived in a pyramid shape with fresh broccoli, mushroom, carrot, egg, and scallion. We split this between us and agreed on its quality of ingredients and flavor.

Saffron miso salmon arrived piping hot, draped with gently wilted baby spinach, over a bed of black rice, and artistically arranged. It was a plate I wanted to just look at for a minute and enjoy with my eyes. The salmon fi lets were expertly cooked and very fresh. The combination of baby spinach, edamame, and saffron flavored black rice all came together very well. A dessert tempura banana $5.00 was in my mind, based on the fantastic appetizer I had with the avocado, but after the Christmas feasts I was a part of for several days in a row, I had no room for it.

Rib Eye Steak receives Teriyaki treatment

Otani is a fun place with authentic Japanese ambiance—very unpretentious with quality sushi. Take your time, enjoy a sake, and read the large menu selection, or go online to Otani Japanese Cuisine online menu for a look at what will be an enjoyable experience.

John Hetmanski is a certifi ed executive chef with the American Culinary Federation and has more than 20 years of restaurant experience. He is a former teacher at Baltimore International Culinary College, and currently runs the Steward Department at the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training in Piney Point, Maryland.

1153 Route 3 North, Suite K
Gambrills, Md. 21054

LUNCH: Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
DINNER: Mon.–Thurs. 4–10 p.m.;
Fri.–Sat. 4–11 p.m.; and
Sun. 3–10 p.m.

SUSHI: $2.00–$15.95
ENTREES: $11.95–$27.95
DESSERT: $3.50–$5.00