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A new treat in Owings Mills: Watami Asian Bistro

There has been much speculation as to what would go into the old New Towne Diner space. New Towne Diner closed in February of 2013 and, since then, it seems that everyone in town has had some kind of idea as to what "should" be going in that space. We have heard everything from a "new Martha and Mary's" to a Golden Corral. In January, the speculation came to an end when a new restaurant called Watami Asian Bistro opened its doors.

When you enter Watami, you will notice the beautiful, rich color palate and the nearly panoramic glass windows. The sides and front of the building are all windows, which affords the restaurant a great deal of natural light coming in during the day and a great view of Reisterstown Road in the evening.

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The restaurant offers both sushi and traditional Asian foods, lunch boxes and dinner specials.

Watami Asian Bistro serves several varieties of the lunch bento box from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Main dish options in the bento box include teriyaki salon, teriyaki shrimp, shrimp and vegetable tempura, chicken katsu, and chicken and vegetable tempura. Each of these is served with soup or salad, a California roll, and Shumai.

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Also at lunch time, the restaurant offers sushi meals, which are served with soup or salad, a California roll, and Shumai. Sushi varieties include cucumber, shrimp cucumber, shrimp tempura, Boston, white tuna, salmon skin, sweet potato, and many more.

Hibachi grill lunch specials are available during the same time, and include chicken, salmon, streak, and vegetable, all of which come with soup or a salad.

If you do not want one of the amazing lunch specials, the restaurant offers a number of wonderful and tasty soups, including dumpling; Yu Tofu, which has tofu and assorted vegetables; Tom Yun Kong, which is a Thai hot and spicy soup; Nabeyaki Udon, which is a noodle soup with shrimp tempura, egg, vegetables and beef or chicken; and more.

The salad options include seaweed, avocado, salmon skin, peper tuna, and Sashimi.

Watami serves both hot and cold appetizers. The hot appetizers include crispy calamari, fried oyster, age tofu, rock shrimp, crab rangoon, and green mussels. Cold appetizers include tuna pizza, special tuna dumpling, tuna tartar, and crispy salmon jalepeno.

The restaurant has a large selection of sushi that includes salmon, red snapper, scallop, white tuna, smoked salmon, crabmeat, mackerel, yellowtal, and eel. There is also a wide variety of cooked and raw rolls, sushi entrees, and tempura rolls.

Special raw rolls include the Green Witch, which has spicy tuna, mango and avocado, topped with tuna, soy paper and chef sauce; the Boulevard, which has spicy tuna, avocado and salmon with soy paper; the Cherry Blossom, which has crabmeat, cream cheese, avocado and spicy salmon wrapped in soy paper; and Ricky Tickey, which has spicy salmon avodaco topped with seared salmon.

Besides all this, Watami also offers Katsu entrees, kitchen entrees, tempura entrees, Hibachi dinners, and noodle and fried rice entrees. Health food options include steamed mixed vegetables with chicken, and, steamed mixed vegetables with shrimp.

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The chef specials include sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, mango chicken, mango shrimp, Thai curry shrimp, and General Tso chicken.

Of course, we know I love desserts. Watami offers a banana tempura, ice cream tempura, cheesecake, ice cream, and mochi ice cream.

The afternoon I was there for lunch, the food was great. The service was a tad slow, but since it is a new restaurant, there is always a learning curve. I had the teriyaki shrimp bento box with the dumpling soup and a piece of cheesecake for dessert. It was all yummy.

Watami Asian Bistro is at 11316 Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1030 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m.

Terry Chaney is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at antter95@yahoo.com.


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