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Hand full of Baltimore restaurants

Can anyone tell me anything/everything good and bad about the following list of places around Baltimore that I have not been to yet that have peeked my curiosity? As you can see I like everything from fancy restaurants to greasy spoons. I will probably be trying most in the next several months unless you persuade me to steer clear of some of them. I'm not looking for more suggestions of new places to try because I actually have a huge list of places that I've been too.

Jimmy's on Broadway
One World Cafe
Cafe Spice
Bamboo House
Tapas Teatro
Chicken Rico
Mylos in Greektown (I know very little about this place)
San Sushi/Thai One On
Helen's Garden
Dogwood in Hamden
Lemongrass in Baltimore

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  1. Don't take your fiance to Jimmy's. Judging from your past posts, she won't like it at all. It's really not worth making a destination of anyway -- it's a greasy spoon, about like any other.

    Matsuri is tiny but my favorite sushi place. Atmosphere is quite nice, but the tables for two don't allow much privacy. There's a few tables on the sidewalk, which are great in nice weather. All the fish is very fresh and very good.

    I had a horrible experience at Tapas Teatro when they first opened, but I haven't been back since then.

    Chicken Rico -- YUM!

    Duda's is a bar with great food. The crabcakes are excellent, as is the burger, although there's too much bun for the meat, IMO. They have Resurrection Ale from Brewer's Art on tap, which is a major point in their favor.

    San Sushi/Thai One On is respectable if not outstanding Thai and boring sushi. I wouldn't make a special trip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JonParker

      I would recommend getting plantains and jicama at Chicken Rico, as well as extra sauce...so good...I might have to make a trip.

    2. JonParker,
      Chicken Rico intimidates me a little - is there a language barrier? Unfortunately I don't speak Spanish. As I understand it, you can order something like a half a chicken and you get a couple of sides with it? What sides would you recomend? Is there usually enough seating?

      I guess I don't have to worry about Duda's being too smokey - they banned smoking in all the Baltimore bars and restaurants now did they not?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Whitemarshjohn

        Naw, no language barrier. There's usually a line, and it can get pretty long when they run out of chickens, but the show of watching the guy stoke the charcoals with a rake is well worth it. I usually get it to go, but they have plenty of seating. It doesn't have a lot of ambience, but it's GREAT chicken.

        And all Baltimore bars & restaurants are smoke free. Between that and the new $1 a pack tax, I've been several months smoke free. Yay me.

      2. Dukem I love, but I already gushed to you about them in another post. :)

        Tapas Teatro....when they nail a dish, they really hit it out of the park. When they don't, it's just meh. I'd say the "wow" dishes to "meh" dishes are about 1:3. It tends to be packed, the tables are close together, and it's not a place where I feel like I want to linger. That said, their sangria is good, and their service efficient. Just never became one of my faves for the craziness factor with all of the moviegoers, loudness/scrunchness factor, and the higher probability of getting just an average plate for an above-average price.

        San Sushi/Thai One On, I've only had their Thai there. It's better than average Thai, but not something that wows me. Service was good, no issues there. Haven't ever had the sushi.

        Helen's Garden: I've only been twice. I had a friend rave and rave and rave about it, and when I went I was underwhelmed. The food is decent, but not terribly exciting nor totally marvelous. On Wednesday's they used to do half-price entrees (or half-price bottles of wine) or some special like that. Service was great.

        Ixia: Haven't been in over 5 years, but it was always a little too affected for my taste. The food back then was also average, but trying very hard to be swanky and pretentious. I stopped going back after eating something with sand in it--they had done a terrible job of washing the cilantro.

        Haven't been to any of the others on your list. So many places, so little time!

        1. I second the recommendation for Chicken Rico. Great place to get a yummy cheap lunch! Last time I went I got the fried plantains as my side. Just remember, if you're not a fan of full calorie sodas, you're out of luck. No diet.

          Dogwood in Hamden is another lunch favorite of mine, as they are close to my work. Never been there for dinner. I'd recommend the mango curried chicken salad and the roast beef sandwich with apricot chutney. If you have room, go across the street to Soups on at Rose's Cookies and get a carrot cake cupcake or a chipotle chocolate peanut bar.

          I went to Dukem on a date and was pretty grossed out by the experience. I consider myself to be a pretty adventurous eater, but this wasn't my cup of tea. Menu lacked explanations of what things were; luckily I had read an article about Ethopian food earlier in the day and was able to avoid ordering tripe. Food was served in a traditional style, sans silverware, but was cut too big to comfortably eat. It was just a really messy meal and I didn't care for the flavors. Staff however, was as nice as can be.

          One World Cafe has a nice relaxed atmosphere. I think they have wifi service there too. Enjoyed the Caesar salad and the falafel. Not a 10/10 by any means but it's a good place to try, especially if you have vegetarian or vegan dining partners.

          1. Jimmy's on Broadway - I would highly recommend going once. Cheap, decent food. But more to the point, it's a pretty much a local icon - lots of movers and shakers have breakfast there.

            One World Cafe - decent vegaterian. I'm not so it doesn't really fit my bill but man of my friends do.

            Dukem - best in B'more for Ethiopian. Damning with faint praise.

            Sabatino's - another old-time B'more restaurant. I went once and haven't been back. Overpriced IMO.

            Duda's - Highly recommend. You can find out a lot about this place if you search the board.

            Helen's Garden - I never liked this place foodwise but they have a good wine selection. If you go, they have specials on Wednesday night. Everything pretty much tastes the same there, which is to say "bland."

            1. I had dinner at The Dogwood tonight for the first time and found it quite good. They got their liquor license about 2 weeks ago so they now have a selection of wines by the bottle or glass and a bar where a few people seemed to be sitting before going to their table. The Dogwood Gimlet is very tasty.

              We had an early reservation and no wait. By the time we left at about 7:30, most of the tables were full (Saturday night). My husband tried the Maryland Crab soup, which he said was very good. HIs baked oysters were topped with spinach, bacon and a dab or grainy mustard, which he also liked. His large portion of steak was "cooked perfectly" rare, as he likes it. At the server's suggestion I tried the soft shell crab appetizer, which was served with a spinach, endive, and graperfruit salad, and the baked chicken entree, which was moist and flavorful. They also had vegetarian choices- soups, salads, appetizers, and 2 entrees.

              The bill for 2 was about $100, including a glass of wine and the mixed drink, the 3 appetizers and 2 entrees. The servers were attentive, friendly and helpful. For a nice dinner out, I'll be happy to go back to Dogwood any time.

              3 Replies
              1. re: smartrock9

                Can you, or anybody tell me what the difference between the Dogwood Deli and the Dogwood Restaurant is? Are they the same place or sister restaurants?

                1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                  They're the same. It opened as a deli and later expanded to a restaurant. Same location.

                  1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                    The Deli is upstairs and the restaurant downstairs, that was always going to be their plan, the restaurant took longer to open then they thought.

                2. Jimmy's & Sip & Bite are somewhat synonomous if that's what you're looking for.
                  I LOVE the experience at Matsuri. I have found it very fresh, & they have outside tables in this nice weather! It is a small space, but like Jack's, or Pete's, it creates an atmosphere of community by rubbing elbows & making friends in the smaller popular restaurants. You will not be disappointed.
                  I agree the food at Tapas Teatro is very hit or miss. If you go there, get the pea fritters!
                  I appreciate the burger at Duda's because they are not afraid to cook it RARE- which speaks volumes for their meat quality.
                  (I commented on Helen's in the Birches post).
                  I have been to Lemongrass twice & have been underwhelmed both times. I don't get it. It reminds me of Thai fast food. The servers all have holes in their jeans. The only things I feel I can recommend after having tasted lotsa food (4 of us for lunch once & 4 of us for dinner) is the drunken noodles, and the panang curry.
                  One World seems only serious for coffee drinkers & vegetarians, & Bamboo house, yet another version of Baltimore's lacking Chinese offerings. Please respond with your experiences!

                  Good luck!

                  1. What are fried plantains and jicama?

                    BmoreHound: "Dukem - best in B'more for Ethiopian. Damning with faint praise."
                    MY RESPONSE: Can you a little more specific, I'm not sure of what you mean?

                    Another place sounds really interesting is Mem Sahib, but I wonder how they can be open on the weekend when the rest of Lexington Market is closed (we only eat out on the weekends). I think my Fiance would probably be leary of going to Lexington Market - she seems to believe that a lot of thugs and homeless people hang out in and around the market.

                    Thanks for all the great feedback so far.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                      Dukem is okay, but if you want your ethiopian fix, there's not really a lot of choices in town (at one point, there were five but aren't we're down to two?).

                      1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                        Jicama is a crispy tuber with a mild flavor, plantains are a type of banana but less sweet and earthier than their more familiar cousins.

                        1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                          Plantains (sweet bananas) and jicama (a Mexican potato) are foods that you should eat and enjoy...chicken rico baby!

                        2. Jimmy's on Broadway: Classic Greasy spoon dinner, It is no more no less. The pancakes are good but not any better or worse at other diners IMO.

                          One World Cafe: The have a good brunch menu, the steamed eggs the Breakfast burritos are good. The also have brunch specials that are typically very tasty. I prefer to sit at the Bar, I find the dinning room service can be slow and absent. Lots of Veg. options not all are stellar. It's a local spot for me so I frequent it more out of location than love. Ive found lunch and dinner options to be unflavorful and uneven.

                          Dukem: Be in a sharing mood- It's good but there is not alot to compare it to in Baltimore. DC has better more varied options for ethiopian.

                          Sabatino's: A classic Baltimore meal that will likely leave you underwhelmed and wondering who decided it is a classic. not worth it IMO.

                          Matsuri: Lovely little sushi restaurant, one of the best in the city

                          Tapas Teatro: On a warm night it is great to sit outside sip sangria and nibble. It's crowded and since people tend to linger it can be a bit of a wait. but it is a great place

                          Duda's: I've been very impressed with this corner tavern, good seafood, burger, great soups

                          San Sushi/Thai One On: It's OK and good if your feeling indecisive or in a group

                          Helen's Garden: Gone many times and have been underwhelmed many times- they use to have a $10 night (not sure if they still do) If so I'd try it then.

                          Dogwood in Hamden: Deli is a Great place to grab a sandwich- excellent Tunafish

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: poached

                            The Dogwood is also a fine dining restaurant in Hampden, downstairs from the deli - I haven't been but friends have raved about it.

                            1. re: hon

                              We had the lunch buffet today at Cafe Spice and the restaurant is very nice, service was great and certain dishes were very good, but we don't like our Indian food so spicy (maybe our tastes are more Americanized?). Also there was no chickn tika masala or lamb dishes - but the desserts were very good! Our favorite Indian places are still Kitchen of India, Mt Everest and The Ambassador Dining Room.

                              1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                                One World Cafe - Young, hipster atmosphere. O.k. food, average service.

                                Bamboo House - Kind of a blue hair crowd, decent food, nothing special.

                                Sabatino's - overpriced, but good service, good menu options, old school Little Italy ambiance.

                                Tapas Teatro - Fun upbeat atmosphere, hit or miss service, decent prices for tapas, good Sangria, hit or miss on *wow* factor of taste.

                                Helen's Garden - Good deal on Wed night wine specials, somewhat cramped restaurant. I got the salmon on my visit, it was the special of the day and very good.

                                Ixia - I've been here 4 times. The last time I went the pork was so fatty that we had to send it back, we haven't been back since. High price, pretentious, but worth a visit. The crab cakes are just o.k., I've had better at a hon restaurant like Bowman's.

                                1. re: cece_balti

                                  We like Ixia. The only pork on the menu last time we were there was pork belly which, of course, was quite fatty (and very good).

                          2. Sabatino's: Very underwhelming though not really 'bad food' in any way. You won't leave revolted, but there won't be any epiphanies. For what I've been told, it just happened to be that place where all the local celebrities started to eat and meet up (from sports stars to local TV casters, etc).

                            Bamboo House (if you're talking about the one in that shopping center in York Road kinda near the Target): I'd pass. It's decent food: usually fresh and properly prepared, but it definitely doesn't taste Chinese. Then again, I'm pretty picky about these things. Stick with Schezchuan House (reluctantly).

                            Matsuri - definitely worth a trip. Almost always fresh sushi if not a little crowded on space. I think I only go to Edo because it's closer to where I live.

                            Tapas - surprisingly, I've always found the food to be above average. Looks like it may just be the luck of the draw, but from personal experience I'd definitely steer you towards the place at least once.

                            I've been dying to get my ass over to Dogwood as well.