1000yregg wanted to try this new Spanish-Japanese place in Baltimore called Nasu Blanca. The restaurant boasts an extensive cold sake menu and all Spanish wine list, and serves tapas, zensai, paella, and fusion dishes. Located in a converted brownstone in the Locust Point neighborhood, the place has "date place" all over it.
With the place having a white eggplant as its logo (my guess is that nasu means eggplant in Japanese, blanca of course meaning white in Spanish), I thought that we should try the Japanese eggplant appetizer for sure. It was the best thing in the meal (above right). The eggplant was soft with slightly crispy skin, sweet through and through with a wonderful marinade. The accompanying miso sauce was great too.
We also got squash blossom tempura (above left). The tempura was nicely done - light and crispy and not oily at all; the blossoms themselves delicate. It was good, though I would have preferred a little less goat cheese stuffing inside, and the sauce was supposed to be an aioli, but a fusion one I guess, as it wasn't like any aioli I'd ever had.
Our third starter was halibut cheeks -- also good, but just missing a certain wow factor for me. I used the bread to sop up the yummy miso sauce instead...
1000yregg and redneckhunter did enjoy our bottle of sake. I don't know anything about sake, but 1000yregg said I should make sure to photograph that it was "Junmai Ginjo."
Of the entrees, 1000yregg liked his kobe filet the best. It came with an interesting spicy tuna tempura, which was spicy tuna wrapped in nori (no rice), then dipped in tempura batter and fried.
I had monkfish, served with a fennel gratin and bouillabaise of mussels and crab. It was good, except since it was served in a shallow dish it all got cold too quickly. I also took off the big dollop of pesto cream on top -- it was just too rich for me and just masked the seafood flavor.
Redneckhunter was very disappointed with his Paella Valenciana. It wasn't hot when it arrived at our table, the rice was undercooked, and the flavors were not infused. Definitely not a true paella...
I think the verdict is thumbs up on atmosphere (other than the strange fetishy posters in the bathroom though they are a conversation starter...) and thumbs up on sake, but the place is way too pricey. They seem to do Japanese better, so stick to sake and zensai...
1036 E. Fort Ave