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Jan 23, 2008 05:55 AM

Night of the Cookers - Baltimore

While we're doing new restaurants, there was another blurb in the same article about "Night of the Cookers," which is at 885 N. Howard St. (410-383-2094) - where Southern Blues used to be. The executive chef is Joshua Hill, who apparently is a Baltimore restaurant veteran.


"As for the food, apart from the barbecue and three sides, it's pretty haute, with prices to match, ranging from wild mushroom ravioli ($20) to a grilled filet of beef over stone-ground grits ($29). Martinis are a specialty, and Hill promises a wine list with plenty of decent bottles for less than $40."

Anyone been? Anyone know Joshua Hill?

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  1. Haven't been, but I see it's on the list for restaurant week, dinner only.

    3 Replies
    1. re: crosby_p

      The menu looks interesting, especially "Sautéed Mussels
      Finished with Charizo sausage, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and Boston logger". I can get past the chorizo spelling, but I'm concerned about the Boston logger. Shades of Sweeney Todd?

      1. re: PaulaG

        OMG, thats just embarassing!

      2. re: crosby_p

        Several months ago, Elizabeth Large interviewed Joshua Hill in her "Table Talk" column in the Baltimore Sun as being the new chef/owner of Red Fish in Canton at the time. She has since said in her blog that she was misinformed. He was the chef there during part of 2007, but not an owner.

      3. - more info on Joshua Hill, who apparently was at Tabrizi's for a while after they reopened - I remember seeing him there the night I tried it out.

        Notwithstanding the spelling, the dinner I had at Tabrizis was fantastic.

        1 Reply
        1. After hearing about the special on 98 Rock last week, my wife and I, along with another couple decided to check it out.

          First off, the space itself is great. Spacious, decently decorated, and inviting for a good meal. And there is also a separate bar area with drink specials. Plus the upstairs has another bar area, and a nice lounge.

          For starters, we had the Pomegranate sweet chili wings, with a side of poppy seed bleu cheese for dipping. These wings had grea flavor, were juicy, and not too grisly, enjoyed by all. As for the entrees, I ordered the Rock Fish w/ Risotto. Risotto was cooked well, as was the fish. My complaint of this dish is that nothing had any standout flavor, almost no taste. That being said, this dish was the only at the table that didn't do much for anyone. The wife had the Lobster Ravioli which was very tasty. Lump lobster in a well cooked ravioli, the orange sauce on top was very tasty. My only complaint would be I wish there was more of it! The other couple had the shrimp and grits. They mentioned that the shrimp were plump and juicy, with the grits being cooked to her liking. The other husband had the andouille and shrimp ravioli. Again, this dish was great, full of flavor and well cooked ravioli. Cornbread served through the meal seemed good and authentic.

          Overall, I really liked the experience, and hope this place is a success. The chef took time to chat with us a few times throughout our meal, making sure we were enjoying ourselves. I only worry the location may be an issue, as there isn't much else going on in that section of Howard Street.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Finally made it to Night of the Cookers. Really, could they not come up with a better name????
            The food, however, made up for the bad name. We started with the down south eggrolls and the fried catfish tenders. Both could have easily been dinners, as the portions were huge. They were both tasty but I preferred the eggrolls. They had a interesting mix of collard greens, smoked chicken, and corn. The peach dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment and they were cooked well (not greasy!).
            All 4 of us ordered different forms of bbq despite the extensive menu which included some pretty upscale looking entrees: duck breast over sweet corn risotto with blood orange sauce, tuna over white beans with jalapeno balsamic reduction, etc. The bbq entrees come with your choice of 3 sauces and 3 sides. I had the pulled pork with chili pomegranate sauce, mac and cheese, fried green tomatoes, and mashed sweet potatoes. Pork was prefectly cooked but salted with a VERY heavy hand. The pomegranate sauce had an asian flavor, almost like spicy duck sauce. It was different, but I preferred my DH's mustard sauce. The highlight of the evening was the mac and cheese, probably the best I've ever had and I've had a LOT!!! I'd return and order 3 mac and cheese sides! Everyone at the table agreed that it was their favorite part of the meal.
            Desserts seemed an afterthough after the intriguing apps and entrees. Peach crisp and strawberry shortcake. Strawberries were frozen and the peach crisp didn't taste like much of anything.
            Stick to the rest of the menu and by all means, save your calories for the mac and cheese!

            6 Replies
            1. re: rudmansjmu

              Anyone know why it's called Night of the Cookers? Sounds creepy, pornographic, & not at all apetizing.

              1. re: kelarry

                It's named after a jazz album from the 1960s. It's a terrible name, but I don't see it as pornographic.

                1. re: JonParker

                  I guess if it was called Night of the Hookers...

                  1. re: JonParker

                    phonographic, perhaps....
                    A friend dined there last week, also reported a mediocre experience.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      is it really that bad? I actually quite enjoy the name! Better than all the fifty million variations of the word "taste" in different languages or something like that!

                  1. re: jwiv

                    Unhappy to report restaurant is no longer a solid choice, depite Hill's online support of his sous-chef (dining at large blog). Sourthern egg rolls no longer on menu. Waitress did not bring us cornbread because she said it didn't look good enough to serve. Previously yummy mustard bbq sauce now made with grain mustard and the mac and cheese that made me the happiest woman alive now bland and flavorless.

                    Does anyone have any mac and cheese replacements?

                    1. re: rudmansjmu

                      jack's bistro has a chocolate m&c, weirdly interesting

                      1. re: chowsearch

                        Just weird. My wife likes it. I'd prefer mac and cheese as is.

                        1. re: chowsearch

                          had it- it was more like velvetta with hershey's on top- the chocolate gives the dish a meaty flavor but certainly didn't meet my expectations.

                        2. re: rudmansjmu

                          Man, do I wish I read your post before I ate there on Friday 5/24/08! Everything, start to finish, was awful. And that honey mustard whole grain debacle--no self-respecting BBQ lover would dare serve that as NC BBQ. Shredded pork--try tough cubes of barely smoked pork. I had high hopes for this meal based on the reviews in the Sun, Baltimore mag and this blog. They will need to seriously reevaluate who they have in the kitchen if the care to survive.

                          1. re: captiva

                            I was planning on going there with a group of girlfriends next weekend, but now I'm seriously considering not going there. I thought Night of the Cookers sounded so promising. Oh well.

                            1. re: classytee

                              Chef Josh Hill is now at Robert Oliver by the Meyerhoff. They reopened last weekend after an August closure & have a new menu ...the official re-opening is in a month, but it's worth checking out. I recommend swinging by when there is NOT a weekend show, or during the week.

                              1. re: simetra

                                I believe Josh Hill is in the process of opening his own place in Harbor East- not at Robert Oliver. This article is from 7/08.

                                1. re: hawaiigrl2003

                                  That was the original hope. But didn't work out:


                                  I'm curious to try the place.