Say what you want about Baltimoreís restaurant scene, but there is certainly no shortage of good sushi. Hell, there are several areas where you can stand in front of a good sushi restaurant and throw a California roll at another one. Even Towson has gone raw-fish crazy with its own sushi circle. And everyone has their favorites. Donít try to tell a Kawasaki person that Kobe has the freshest fish or a Matsuri fan that Minato has more inventive makiótheyíll throw down. And you donít want to know what wasabi in your eye feels like.
Still, we have no choice but to go out on a limb and give the sushi title to one restaurant. And this year we picked quiet, unassuming Kiku. This so-small-your-rowhouse-looks-big restaurant is a hustle- and bustle-free zone in hectic Federal Hill. Why elbow your way into the eternally packed Matsuri when you can get a seat easily at this spot. Especially seeing how the fish is as fresh, the stunt rolls are as imaginative, and the prices are generally the same or better. We are big fans of Kikuís spicy dynamite roll filled with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, asparagus, and avocado. Itís generous while still fitting comfortably in your mouth and spicy without making you cry. We also like Kikuís wide range of affordable lunch specials. All this in an unpretentious pale-wood setting that makes you feel like you just walked in off the street in Tokyo.