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Apr 20, 2008 12:44 PM

Bicycle in Baltimore or ?

I'll be having dinner in Baltimore in a few weeks. My favorite Balt. restaurant is Bicycle but I haven't been in a few years. Is it worth going to again or is there something else along those same lines that we might enjoy more. We only get to Baltimore a few times a year- so we want something great, funky, and fun.

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  1. Seems I remember hearing about new ownership at Bicycle - about a year ago? Judging from restaurant week reviews that I recall it seems that the restaurant is as buisy and well loved as ever - anyone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Whitemarshjohn

      The ownership did indeed change a while back. I haven't had the pleasure of dining there since the switch. They kept some of the old menu and the new chef is supposed to be great. They booked solid quite early for RW. Do a search and you'll find some recent reviews.

    2. Bicycle still has a very good reputation. If you are going to be in the Federal Hill area, The Wine Market is very good also, especially if you like wine. They have a wine shop there in the restaurant. If you like the food at Bicycle, you'll like The Wine Market also. Only draw-back is that The Wine Market is not an easy walking distance to shops and bars. (It does, however, have a parking lot.) Also consider a new place called Juniors. Juniors is on Charles Street, close to Cross Street so it's in the heart of Federal Hill. We've only been there once, food was very good. Menu is limited (maybe only 10 entrees) but certainly has a variety of options.

      2 Replies
      1. re: BaltimoreCooks

        Bicycle still has imaginative food with genuine flavors, and informal staff who also know the food they are serving. Now they are also graced with a spectacular pastry chef, so leave room for dessert! haven't been to the Wine Market yet, but Bicycle is a strong contender.

        1. re: crowsonguy

          Indeed. The "chocolate peanut butter cup" dessert they were serving at the Chocolate Affair was outstanding.

      2. Bicycle is a great restaurant that is consistently good and definitely delivers on your requirements of great, funky and fun. However, one of my rules is to always try new things. So, taking your requirements intro consideration and if you're up for it, consider the following:

        1) Salt
        2) Jack's Bistro
        3) Dogwood
        4) Rocket to Venus
        5) SoBo

        I definitely think Salt and Jack's could fit your bill. Let us know what you decide!

        1. Had dinner at the Bicycle on Friday night and while the food was wonderful, the service left us a little disheartened. There were consistency issues and where one minute she seemed engaged and helpful the next she was apathetic and forgetful. We didn't understand? Asking us if we wanted pepper...then checking in with other tables after we said "yes, please," only to never return? Could have been forgetfulness or an 'off-night?' Like I said the food was wonderful although the peanut butter cup dessert did not really impress us. Had Lobster Ravioli, Shrimp Appetizer, Mahi Mahi, watermelon salad (eh). I know this isn't a very definitive review. I just wanted to see if anyone else has had difficulty with service at this restaurant. It really is such a great place and I'd hate to be turned off by spotty service if this is a trend.

          4 Replies
          1. re: BaltoPhilFood

            We did end up at Bicycle after all. Jack's didn't take reservations- which I just can't deal with and someone had told me some negatives on Salt. So it was back to Bicycle. We did not have any problems with service. I was surprised that there were empty tables at 8:00 pm on a Sat. night. not a lot but some. anyway I had the Mongolian short ribs which were great. I also had the peanut butter cup for dessert and while it was really rich, it was wonderful. We also ordered the bread pudding and found it a bit dry.
            but in response to your service question, our service was very good.

            1. re: startsev

              Hey Startsev, we must have been there at the same time! Were you in the front room too? At the end of the evening I remarked to my two companions how nice it was to have a server who was attentive, definitely knowledgeable, and also informal. I watched the servers and cooks, and they were working well as a team. So BaltoPhilFood, I think you just had bad luck.
              My food was very good: I loved the combination of cool sweet watermelon, arugula with bite, and salty feta cheese. The duck prosciutto would have been a nice addition if they had not been so stingy with it. I ordered the veggie entree, since I knew how well they did it: black rice, sweet potato, onions and peppers covered with reduced Thai red curry, cooked in banana leaves. Yum! Then their bread pudding with dried cherries and chocolate for dessert-- very good, but beaten by the trio of tea flavored creme brulees. Someone should give that pastry chef an award. The only things that were less than wonderful were the fried oysters in the oyster salad, that lacked crispness, and the bison special, that was a bit too chewy. But even these had great flavors, and attention was paid to details.
              Bicycle isn't cheap, with entrees from $22 to $32, but it is worth the bucks.

              1. re: crowsonguy

                yes, we were in the front room. how funny! We're from the DC area and most quality restaurants are in that price range so I thought it was a good value considering the quality.

              2. re: startsev

                What a relief! Bad service can really ruin a place, no matter how good the food is or how nice the atmosphere. It's so nice when the staff shares the same enthusiasm as the owners and the hard working people in the kitchen, as I've experienced on other visits there. I'll give it another go. Thanks!