Restaurant review

Miku Sushi and Steakhouse a pleasant haven in Cockeysville

Tim Smith
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Miku Sushi and Steakhouse in Cockeysville provides a casual, hospitable haven for sampling a wide selection of sushi, tempura and more.

Despite its name, this Japanese restaurant, occupying a space previously home to Saigon Remembered, doesn’t list a great deal of steak on the menu. That might be a good thing, judging by the tough beef pieces in a steak and scallop hibachi combination I ordered. But everything else about that dish clicked — the plump scallops, perfectly sauteed; the lovely rice and vegetables.

As for the uncooked side of things, I should first confess that I am not the most seasoned of sushi savorers. But I have been known, especially at social events surrounded by terribly snooty types, to drop the name of Nobu, the storied New York restaurant where I was introduced to the wonders of sushi in the late 1990s. So there’s that.

The more modest Miku may not reach such heights, but it offers an admirable level of finesse, a quality the more experienced sushi-eaters in our party corroborated. It was clear right at the start with our appetizers, which included a chef’s-choice sushi sampler of excellent tuna, salmon, snapper and others. The elegant visual presentation added to the effectiveness.

Tuna pizza was a vibrantly constructed charmer, its sushi slices sharing the top of a thin crust with avocado, scallions, a touch of caviar, spicy mayo and eel sauce. We enjoyed other starters, too. The shrimp shumai revealed subtle flavor, as did a pair of light, crispy spring rolls.

A satisfying meal could be made out of the menu’s specialty rolls, some sushi-filled, others containing fried items. The green phoenix roll was a poetic beauty of delightfully crunchy tempura shrimp, wrapped in soy paper with salmon and avocado. A sweet miso sauce provided the finishing touch on a lobster tempura roll that likewise delivered great texture and flavor.

A fine sesame seasoning brought out the personality in the very fresh-tasting stir-fried vegetables of a yaki udon, which our party kept diving into, no matter how many other temptations were on the table. Those temptations included chicken katsu — fried, panko-coated cutlets, sliced and, like everything else during the meal, artfully arrayed.

In addition to rice, the katsu and hibachi entrees came with miso soup (ours tasted rather bland) and a small, plain salad. Those extras are part of Miku’s tempura and teriyaki entrees, too.

This is a BYOB restaurant. Non-alcohol choices include green tea, sodas and ramune, the lightly citrus-flavored soft drink long a favorite in Japan. A sorry novice, I had to ask our charming server to demonstrate the fine art of opening the distinctive ramune bottle, which involves plunging a little marble inside. That whole process added an unexpected burst of entertainment to our evening.

After such a refined meal, dessert is hardly necessary. Even less necessary is the sort of option we gravitated toward, inexplicably getting into what I can only call a state fair mindset. Before we knew it, we were nibbling at tempura fried treats — ice cream and banana, heavy indulgences that made us wish we had quit while we were ahead.

Miku Sushi and Steakhouse

584 Cranbrook Road, Cockeysville

410-667-6000, mikusushimd.com

Cuisine: Japanese

Prices: Appetizers $2 to $11; entrees $11 to $27

Ambience: The dining area is pleasantly infused with shades of blue; the sushi bar is adorned with bright-colored, artificial flowers.

Service: Amiable and informative

Reservations: No

Parking: Shopping center surface lot

Special diets: They can be accommodated.

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Need to know: This is a BYOB restaurant.

tim.smith@baltsun.com

twitter.com/clefnotes

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