Alex Smith has revealed the name of and the executive chef for his Japanese restaurant at the Four Seasons Baltimore Hotel.
The new restaurant's name is Azumi, and the executive chef is Eiji Takase.
Smith said that master sake sommelier Tiffany Dawn Soto will be assisting Azumi with its sake list and beverage program.
Soto was the beverage director at Pabu, the original Japanese restaurant at the Four Seasons Baltimore.
Developed for the hotel by the San Francisco-based Mina Group, Pabu, along with the coffee shop Lamill, closed in June.
Both spaces are being re-developed and will be operated by Smith's Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group, which currently operates the Harbor East restaurant Ouzo Bay. Azumi is set to open in November.
Smith said he will soon be announcing his plans for the Lamill space.
A native of Tokyo, Takase was formerly the executive chef at Japonais in Chicago, the corporate executive chef for Sushisamba, a New York City-based group of Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurants, and the head chef at Shibuya, a Japanese restaurant at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"He’s a very impressive guy," Smith said about the chef, who goes by the name "Taka."
"When he came down from New York to interview, he prepared about nine courses for us," Smith said. "He brought nothing with him. He made every sauce from scratch in Ouzo Bay’s kitchen."
Azumi, Smith said, is a traditional Japanese girl's name that means safe harbor, or safe residence.
"We thought it was appropriate given our location on the harbor," Smith said.