Yama Sushi Bar
1030 W. 41st St., (410) 235-6888, yamasushibarmd.com
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It seems that one specific genre of hole-in-the-wall-wonders is the strip-mall eatery. Squeezed among other unassuming establishments, these treasures wait to surprise customers, who will lean in close after praising it to friends and say, “And it was in a strip mall.” Such is the case with Yama Sushi Bar, located in the new Giant Shopping Center in Hampden. Despite its plain exterior, it’s cozy and colorful inside, a perfect spot for quiet conversation. We took advantage of the Yama lunchbox ($7.95), which offers an assortment of items to choose from, so you can sample different bits off the menu. You pick two from a list of various rolls, sashimi, and cooked courses, plus you get a simple salad and miso soup. The miso was flavorful and rich, and the rolls were generous, full of large pieces of fresh fish. The chicken katsu was just fine for what it was—a fried fillet of chicken served with a dish of sauce. If you’re on the prowl for some fresh rolls in generous portions, though, be sure to stop in. Don’t let the strip mall part fool you: some of Baltimore’s tastiest sushi awaits.