Subscribe
In Good Taste

Azumi Staff Shares Photos From Their Adventure in Japan

Atlas Group tours Japan and shares their travelogue exclusively with Baltimore.

By Jane Marion | March 26, 2018, 12:33 pm

The Nishiki Market in Kyoto is a sprawling, five-block long shopping bazaar.
In Good Taste

Azumi Staff Shares Photos From Their Adventure in Japan

Atlas Group tours Japan and shares their travelogue exclusively with Baltimore.

By Jane Marion | March 26, 2018, 12:33 pm

The Nishiki Market in Kyoto is a sprawling, five-block long shopping bazaar.

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Atlas Restaurant Group’s Azumi staffers took an eight-day, mid-March field trip to the Motherland.

With Google Translator in hand, the group (including Atlas owner-brothers Alex and Eric Smith, general manager Josh Gray, Azumi executive chef Andy Gaynor, and bar manager Kyamran Aliyev) made their way on a bullet train from Toyko to Kyoto and back again.

The world travelers report that they consumed as much as they could, from blowfish liver and wasabi flower to green tea cocktails and sake slushies—all in the name, of work—aka research and development, of course for the upscale Harbor East Japanese restaurant.   

“We ate like Hobbits,” says Gray.  “It was breakfast, lunch, supper, dinner—anytime we’d see something walking around the markets at one of the stands like scallops with a piece of uni or fresh tomago, we’d try that.”  

Highlights of the trip included eating robatayaki grilled fare, meeting legendary Rocking Chair bar owner Kenji Tsuborkura (and winner of Japan’s Cocktail of the Year), as well as touring a sake brewery and visiting the famed Sagano Bamboo Forest, complete with wild monkeys.  

Azumi fans will soon get a taste of the trip. As a result of the research and development, there will be tweaks on the menu with a wider variety of seasonal fish, one-bite appetizers, the addition of robata and teppanaki grill to an even wider sake selection and unique cocktails.  

“It was all next level there,” says Gaynor, who will also display his maguro tuna sword souvenir behind the bar. “I’ve always wanted to go to Japan. Seeing how different cultures operate and how different people serve food was life-changing.”  

Sums up Sweeney. “Josh said it best. “We are trying to create the perfect Japanese restaurant concept here, but there it’s not a concept—it’s life.’”

All photography by Joe Sweeney




Meet The Author
Jane Marion is the food and dining editor for Baltimore, where she covers food, wellness, beauty, and home and garden.


You May Also Like


On The Town

What to Expect at the Much-Anticipated Union Collective

From pizza to yoga to, of course, beer, here’s a breakdown on the vendors in the new makerspace.

On The Town

National Bohemian Releases Crab Shack Shandy as First New Beer in 30 Years

Ideal for summertime crab feasts, the new lager is infused with notes of citrus and lemon peel.

Food & Drink

The Social Network

How food bloggers, Instagrammers, and Yelpers are shaping the local restaurant scene.


In Good Taste

Two Restaurants Set to Open Near Merriweather Post Pavilion Next Month

Owners of Iron Bridge Wine Company debuting new social spot and accompanying speakeasy.

The Chatter

Five Things to Know About the Salvation Army’s First-Ever Grocery Store

DMG Foods provides fresh produce and affordable groceries in Northeast Baltimore.

Food & Drink

Sip Tips: April 2018

These three drinks reflect distinct flavors of their region.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Miss Gay Maryland Pageant Returns for its 34th Year: Drag queens show off personalities and talents in this trailblazing competition.

Post Typography Creates Underwater Art Piece For Light City’s Art Walk: Baltimore design agency teams up with PI.KL Studio and Figure 53 for installation.

Open & Shut: Sacré Sucré Coming Soon; The Emporiyum Takes a Break; In Bloom Closes: The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

La Calle Bringing Modern Mexican Food Downtown This Summer: Globally influenced cantina set to open inside 10 South Street building near City Hall.

Halfway Through Light City, Crowds Continue to Flock Downtown : Tuesday night featured performances from an area step team and Fluid Movement.