I just heard about it from a friend who suggested it for dinner on Saturday night. I don't know anything about it... other than it is BYOB.
Anyone been here?
Reporting back about my dinner at Catonsville Gourmet on Saturday night. I have to say I thought it was fabulous. For a promising start, the service was unbelievable. We arrived around 7:00 (we didn't have a reservation, my friend was handling this so I don't know if they don't take them or she just didn't make one). We had about a 45-60 minute wait so we pulled up some stools right by the raw bar area and proceed to drink some of our BYOB beverages (beer and wine). I don't think 5 minutes went by the entire time we were waiting when we weren't brought bread, water or offered something from the raw bar or cooked appetizers. We ordered two of the appetizers that were prepared in the market/raw bar section. We got a Lobster Bruschetta and a Sesame Encrusted Seared Ahi Tuna appetizer. Joe (the guy who both offered them to us and who prepared them) checked in with us about 20 minutes later to see if we were enjoying them. Both were very good - especially the Tuna which was a beautiful cut of fish to start with. He then offered us the Smoked Salmon, Boursin and Cucumber appetizer -"on him"- for us to sample and critique. I personally don't like smoked salmon but everyone else said it was very good.
As promised about 45 minutes later we were taken to one of the best tables in the house - We got one of the booths that sit in the picture windows that looks onto Frederick Road (just good fortune I suppose). Regarding the menu selection, I have to admit I never really even looked at the menu as soon as I saw they had Chilean Sea Bass. Absolutely my favorite fish and very hard to come by. Apparently others at my table felt the same way as 3 out of the 4 of us ordered it. The fish preparation at Catonsville Gourmet is as at other restaurants (you choose the cooking method and the accompanying sauce). We decided to each try a different sauce so we could compare. I chose broiled with a lobster sauce - my husband got broiled with Lemon Butter and my friend got broiled with a mango/ avocado salsa. Everyone agreed that the lobster sauce was the clear winner. The mango-avocado salsa a close second (and would be perfect for a hot summer night-not a rainy one as Saturday was). Lemon Butter - fine, but pretty much for the non-adventurous souls. My other friend got the crabcake platter. To me it was just your typical crabcake platter. I recently discovered Koco's crabcakes so now everything pales in comparison. But I still think these crabcakes were really average and not worth the order -especially when Sea Bass is to be had!
So to sum up... The service was impeccable. The space was casual but pretty with clean lines. It had a very "beachy" feel to me for some reason. Everyone was dressed casual but nice. The vibe probably had something to do with the mini coolers all around that people brought for their beer and wine! The flat $5 corkage fee - per table- is hard to beat. And the appetizers, and sea bass entrees were very, very good. Good Crème Brulee for dessert also.
Ate lunch there last Tues. Always excited to see a new upscale restaurant in Catonsville. It's a great town but the dining can be underwhelming. Anyway....... really nice addition to the town. Arrived at 1pm and found the place to be quite busy for a midweek afternoon. Got a table right away; and was served by an exceptionally friendly waitress. Soup of the day, a cream based duck and oyster chowder was a hit. Would never think to combine those 2 ingredients but it was a winner. Had the fried oyster salad too. Oysters were perfect but the salad dressing was just ok. The manager came over to check on our experience; seems really hands on in a nonintrusive way.
Would recommend visiting the take out market while there too. I picked up a bag of frozen clams, 2 ahi tuna steaks, and a half pound of extra large shrimp for $17. They have a lot of nice prepared dinners and sides as well. Might be a nice option since I hear their wait can be quite long on week and weekend nights. My parents have tried to go on 3 occasions and the wait was over an hour. Nice to see they are doing well!
Look forward to visiting again, perhaps for dinner.
We went there for the first time last Saturday and had a wonderful grazing meal of appetizers, mostly seafood-based, at the bar. The food was wonderful, the service was friendly, and with our own bottle of white wine, the bill was incredibly reasonable. We'll definitely be back.
Agreed, it's definitely a restaurant with an identity -- good seafood at reasonable prices with good service that generates repeat customers. So many places try to do too much (try to be high-end, and charge high-end, when they can't deliver) or to be too many things at once (tapas sports bar! neighborhood fusion spot! upscale diner!).
Kudos to the owner, who should probably set up a side consulting business figuring out EXACTLY what sort of restaurant goes where. :)
Kudos to the owner, who should