Anyone know the name of the new Japanese/Spanish restaurant that opened in South Baltimore near the Wine Market? Anyone been there?
I would recommend giving Nasu Blanca another month before making a reservation. Since it is located on the end of my block, I have had the luxury of hanging out at the bar the past two Fridays in a row, and kind of non-committally trying a few apps. The Spanish-Japanese fusion idea is definitely a workable one, but they have some kinks to work out, as with any new opening. I will say: the gazpacho with seared scallop is excellent, and I look forward to trying one of their 6 different paellas. But a duck sausage with white beans was so heavy on the chinese 5-spice it tasted like apple pie (nutmeg, cinnamon), and the toro tartare left a *lot* to be desired in the flavor department. And seeing as the menu is pretty pricey, dropping a bundle on as-yet-unperfected food probably isnt high on anyone's list of things to do.
But the sake is amazing.
For some reason I have very high hopes for this restaurant. I think its b/c the concept sounds intriguing and partly b/c its a combination of my two favorite cuisines, but if anyone has been recently I would love to read more comments, the menu looks delicious.
Went to Nasu Blanca last night. Here is my opinion:
Staff was very friendly and informative. We sat at a table by the bar, and I was so comfortable I didn't bother to go upstairs to look at the main dining area.
I drank several glasses of sake sangria. It was delicious. It was the highlght of the evening for me. The asian pears, lychee fruits and mango in the sake were delicious. It was served up with a beautiful orchid, and was such a nice refreshing drink (with a kick!)
Our server - who was also tending the bar was such a delight and very helpful about the menu and also in helping us select our sake.
I ordered the Lobster Tempura to start. It was very lightly fried and the lobster was tender. It would have been perfect, but it was a little salty. Sadly, over or under seasoning was a reoccuring problem with many of the dishes our group had last night. The duck sausage was enjoyed by two members of our group and the gazpacho was described as "pretty good" by one of our fellow diners who is a chef. (I'm not a gazpacho fan). Our group didn't notice the the problems with the spice of the duck sausage as one of the other posters mentioned - but inconsistency in flavor seems to be a problem still with the restaurant.
Th calamari was fried perfectly, just as the tempura, but again, it was too salty. It was such a shame because it was tender, and fried just as it should be - a perfect amount of breading - too bad it was so oversalted. There were two delcious pieces at the bottom that were lucky enough to be hiding underneath and didn't get blasted with the salt - they were wonderful. The breading had enough salt and I just don't know why they added extra.
For my entree I chose the kurobuta pork with shisho spaetzle, and red miso pork jus - which in contrast was not seasoned at all and was bland in comparison to the other food. The shisho spaetzle was quite good in terms of texture, but unfortunatley absorbed the rather bland miso pork jus. One my fellow dinner mates got the pork as well and he said he was very "bored" by the entree.
My husband got the Valenciaga Paella with chicken, chorizo, seafood, mussels, saffron rice and it was quite salty - and I hate keep saying everything was either too salty or not seasoned - but it is the truth. So many of the dishes would have been PERFECT with a little more attention paid to seasoning.
The wild striped bass with fingerling potatoes and butter ponzu got rave reviews from one diner at our table and she said it was cooked perfectly with a nice carmelized exterior and tender on the inside.
Another diner at the table enjoyed the marinara paella which included striped bass, calamari, shrimp, clams, mussels, saffron rice.
Sadly, to our dissappointment - desserts were in short supply. There was only one left of the banana bread pudding and chocolate molten cake. They were out of everything else. Everyone else was left to order panna cotta. I hate when this happens at a restaurant particularly on a weekend night.
The banana bread pudding with white chocolate was one of the best desserts I have had in a long time. I did not sample the molten chocolate cake (which my dining mate loved) nor the panna cotta - which was described as average from our resident panna cotta junkie at the table. I can't say enough about how great the bread pudding was.
Our bill at the end with tip was $100 a person. I think I might give Nasu Blanca another shot to see if for some reason the chef "seasoning meter" was out of kilter. I must say, that for the price, I expected food which was seasoned and prepared well. I agree with a previous poster that Nasu Blanca might need a little more time to perfect the recipes.
I would stop by for the sake sangria for sure and for dessert and coffee (assuming they were well stocked!)