Asian gourmet has really become a popular cuisine in many metropolitan cities. The combination of Asian ingredients with French cooking and plating techniques has really become something people desire. This trend is no more evident than at Tatu in Baltimore. Tatu is a Florida based restaurant that features many Pan-Asian/Asian Fusion dishes in a chic downtown setting.
The menu has the usual Asian dishes such as springs rolls, dumplings, and sesame chicken, but they also offer more unique dishes such as the Crispy whole fish or Shanghai Beef – NY Strip steak with hot oil, cilantro, shallots and soy-mirin sauce. Tatu has a full sushi menu which boasts some of the best sushi I have ever had. We started with Power Roll and the China White Roll as our appetizers. The power roll featured shrimp tempura, jumbo lump crab salad, tuna, avocado and cucumber. With that list of ingredients you would only expect it to taste amazing and sure enough it did. While you had a wide variation of seafood used, each had a balanced flavor in the sushi and nothing was overpowered. There was some citrus like ingredient in the roll which I am still trying to figure out. It tasted almost like a candied-lemon peel, but whatever it was, it totally brought all the ingredients together and was very refreshing. The china white roll was comprised of white tuna, spicy tuna, crispy wontons and citrus ponzu – another excellent combination of ingredients and textures. The ponzu provided a nice cooling effect to the spicy tuna, while the wontons made for a nice contrast against the soft white tuna. Even though the sushi is some of the best I have had, it is honestly quite over priced like everything else on the menu. The Power Roll was $18 by itself, while the China White Roll was $12. Even a California roll at Tatu carries a $7 price tag.
The menu isn’t very big at Tatu but it does showcase very intriguing dishes. Upon our server’s request, we settled on the Sesame chicken ($19) to share because we were a bit full from the sushi. The sesame chicken is lightly breaded, crispy chunks of white meat chicken mixed with a traditional sweet-soy reduction and paired with broccolini. The dish was very tasty but most importantly, they didn’t smother the dish with sauce – one of my biggest pet peeves in Asian cooking. When I visited Tatu in Fort Lauderdale last year I had a chance to sample another Tatu specialty, the crispy whole fish, which was a hefty 3.5 pound red snapper fried to golden brown perfection. The fish also had a sweet glaze over it but still maintained its crispy exterior. The fish was obviously very fresh because there was no fishy odor and the flesh was a pearly white color. We finished our meal with the Chocolate hot pot dessert which is a mediocre fondue dish with bits of cake, brownie, rice crispy treat and canned fruit. This dessert was not only a waste of money but it totally downplayed an otherwise outstanding meal. The fact that canned pineapple and canned lychee was used was so disappointing and showed Tatu’s corporate/big restaurant group side.
Aside from the dessert, my meal at Tatu was very memorable and delicious. One of the nicest features of Tatu or gourmet Asian food in general is that you never have to worry about the quality of the food (unless its dessert). Tatu definitely plays to this tune by using high quality meat and fish, home made sauces and fresh, never frozen, produce. I hope to return to Tatu very soon for some more sushi and to try other entrees on the menu. My only gripe with Tatu is that I think the prices are a bit high, even for a hip-downtown restaurant. The prices aren’t astronomical (roughly $28) an entrée but you may find yourself limiting what you order or how much you order based on the prices. All in all though, a job well done by Tatu.