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Top ten over-rated restaurants in Baltimore

or would that be the bottom ten? Anyway...

10. Chameleon Cafe: The very nice and earnest people that operate this not very charming spot on York Road should be commended for sticking it out in a tough setting, but their aims exceeds their grasp. They specialize in an ambitious yet poorly executed faux-French menu accompanied by a amateurish yet affordable wine list. The good news is you'll never be totally disappointed because every one is just so darn nice.

9. Matthew's Pizzeria: Oops! Not really a restaurant (according to B-more Mag, pizzerias are NOT restaurants) Matthew's has been serving not very good pizza in a rundown space since 1948. But at least it's been consistent over the years.

8. Black Olive: Maybe a Greek restaurant, or a seafood restaurant, or a Greek seafood restaurant, their stunningly high prices for really very average food places them squarely on the list. Their very pretentious wine list adds insult to injury.

7. All local crabhouses: C'mon, B-more, this is supposed to be what you're about! Instead, we are typically offered over-priced, over-cooked, over-Old Bay'd blue crabs from the Gulf of Mexico. But, hey, don't forget the undercooked fries and waterlogged corn-on-the-cob!

6. Sotta Sopra: A jewel of a space, Sotta Sopra continues to pull in the crowds for no apparent reason. Is it the rot-gut liquor poured into top shelf bottles? The pounded pork masquerading as veal? Or the charming, and welcoming Eastern European staff that charms all despite their utter lack of skill and knowledge. Tutto bene, eh Ricardo?

5. Corks: having passed their tenth anniversary, and undergoing a facelift, Cork's looks no different and continues to plod along, offering substandard fare, inept service and over-the-hill wines by the glass. "Chef" Jerry Pelegrino still spends more time in others' restaurants than his own, which frankly, is probably a good thing.

4. Woodberry Kitchen: Although quite possibly the most attractive restaurant in the city, Woodberry's pale impression of the farm-to-table concept leaves much to be desired. The menu is confusing and not so much poorly executed as boringly so. The crowds overwhelming the space seem to have far more enthusiasm for the food than the cooks. Great bartenders, however.

3. Brewer's Art: Lodged in what could be a stunning old brownstone, the poor housekeeping of the space echoes the mediocrity of the restaurant. Worn and tarnished ideas indifferently offered by too-cool-for-school staff is the hallmark of Brewer's Art. A case in point; the self-proclaimed famous rosemary fries are mostly served cold because as one employee explained, 'we serve a shitload and only have one fryer'. Maybe buy another?

2. Jack's Bistro: Weirdly quirky food ideas that seldom taste good are the backbone of this restaurant. It also bills itself as 'where the chef's go'. Really? Who? A show of hands, maybe?

1. Kali's Court: Overwrought, loud, and really bad, this Fell's Point destination has been packing them in for years despite is stunning indifference to quality. Does anyone go there twice? I mean, other than masochists? It has all the nauseating slickness of a mid-priced chain as it pretends to offer signature fine dining. Not.

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Black Olive
814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

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  1. I agree--we have some overblown, overhyped, overpriced places...but this reads like an out-of-towner looking down his nose at us locals. Chameleon, bootstrapped from a 36th St. coffeeshop and Louisiana-derived French as opposed to trying to pass off as real French from France, is not on York Rd, and in fact made possible all the new places on Harford Rd. that came after. Matthew's is not trying to pass itself off as certified by the pizza police, it's where neighborhood people and those that appreciate our neighborhoods go for affordable, gooey, faux-crab local concoctions that we like. And the crabhouses--they're real, they're Maryland, and we love them, at least the better ones on the east side, because that's where the crabs are, Hon...at least most of them. True, some places are in the business of selling hype, and they deserve your criticism. The unpretentious places have earned our appreciation.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowsearch

      Of course you're correct regarding Chameleon's location, my mistake, but regardless of their origin, and despite their obvious efforts, I still stand by my comments. I'm actually B-more born and bred, and those east-side crab houses that you refer to are, sadly, long gone. And as to Matthew's, its not the pedigree that I question, or their popularity, but rather the quality. Longevity is no substitute.

      1. re: cheflarryj

        Andy Nelson's.... (w/ the exception of one person here)

    2. Folks, please remember that personal attacks of any kind are strictly forbidden, and will be removed.

      Please keep in mind that we're here to rate the chow, not the Chowhound. We encourage you to add your own opinions and reviews of the chow at these restaurants, but please refrain from critiquing the way other hounds post.

      1. Looking at the places on your list that I have been to, I think some of your criticism is valid if often overly harsh. As chowsearch pointed out, we don't go to Matthews expecting hand crafted pizza from a wood oven, we go expecting the garlicky, delicious mess that we've loved for years. I love the place and will continue to.

        In spite of a couple of iffy experiences in the past, my last visit to The Black Olive was superb and did not strike me as overpriced at all. I'm not a wine drinker, so I can't speak to that. I think I've been there four times and had two absolutely perfect experiences and two
        marginal ones (although I always thought the food was good). If they could keep their A game going they'd be in my top five.

        I live in Federal Hill, go to Corks reasonably often, and think it's a perfectly serviceable neighborhood restaurant. I wouldn't drive miles out of my way to go there, but they have some very good and reasonably priced dishes, and I've never had any service problems. I love their fondue. I really don't understand why it's on your list at all -- it's not like there's a lot of buzz surrounding it. It's hard to call something overrated when people aren't really talking about it. The night you will find me at Corks is most likely Monday, and Jerry has been in the kitchen every time. While I like some things more than others, nothing has been bad, and it often has been really good. Also, half price steaks every night but Friday and Saturday, and it's well sourced beef well cooked. That's pretty much my definition of a great neighborhood joint.

        I don't even know what to say about your comment about crab houses. Some are better than others, and we have to import a lot of our catch from down south, but they are still blue crabs.. As for the comment about the fries and corn on the cob, I really don't expect good anything from a crab house but crabs and beer. If they can do that, who cares about the other stuff?

        You're dead right about Kali's Court. It's really a shame because it's a very nice space that deserves much better food and service. But you're right, it's really bad,considering its price point. This was my biggest disappointment in Baltimore dining, and you're 100% right -- no one but a masochist would go there twice. It really is a great space though.

        What I really want is for Edward Kim to come back. Everything I ever had from him was fantastic. Perhaps if we could arrange for him to take over Kali's Court...

        -----
        Kali's Court
        1606 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD 22231

        Black Olive
        814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

        7 Replies
        1. re: JonParker

          Last I heard, Edward Kim has gone corporate and was at the Westin BWI. Soigne's owner, Lisa Heckman opened and still runs Iggies in Mt. Vernon. I appreciate your comments, however I believe the locally harvested blue crab was sweeter and meatier than what we currently see from the Gulf. Perhaps that's a function of shipping or freshness?

          1. re: cheflarryj

            Well, the crabs are always shipped live, so I don't see how it could be a freshness issue. I didn't know Kim was still around -- has anyone been to the new place? I never ate at Soigne, but I loved Saffron with a passion.

            1. re: cheflarryj

              More like supply. For several years now there has been a dearth of Chesapeake-bred blue crabs, so restaurants have come to rely on Gulf crabs. Apparently the Chesapeake harvest is expected to be pretty healthy this season, however, so we may see more of them on local menus.

              1. re: cheflarryj

                Well, there is live and then there is living. Ever taste a shrimp or lobster (or a fish or an oyster) just caught? A revalation of an experience compared to a lobster that has been in a tank for a week or a shrimp that has been frozen. Same with a crab. Fresh from the bay is a world away from crabs shipped in a basket for a couple of days (or more) from the Gulf.

                1. re: ClevelandDave

                  Crabs are usually flown in that day. They only last alive for about 36 hours and thats if you loose pack ice them to hybernation sleep allowing them room to breathe. A "days" old crab would be a dead crab.

                  1. re: hon

                    Flown in? Doubt it. Driven by truck more typical. Maybe they get to the market the next day, probably two.

                    1. re: ClevelandDave

                      Again "Cleveland Dave", live crabs wouldn't keep 2 days. I have been told on several occasions by different crab houses that the crabs from the gulf are flown in.

            2. I agree with most of it, though I haven't been to Woodberry, Chameleon cafe, or Jack's. I like Black Olive pretty well, though I'm not sure it lives up to the hype. Tio Pepe should make the list. (I'll refrain from harping on further about the Kali's group restaurants. I've done that enough. >-/) And yeah, you can't unilaterally dismiss crabhouses. I'm certain some of them sell local crabs!

              3 Replies
              1. re: jvanderh

                How about if I narrow my criticisms to only crab houses actually within Baltimore City limits?
                .

                1. re: cheflarryj

                  I haven't eaten at that many, and can't say whether that's fair or not. Whenever I have crabs it's at someone's house.

                  1. re: cheflarryj

                    Totally agree about crab houses in the city. There's no where good to sit down for crabs. There's plenty of great hole in the wall take-out places though, like Chris's in Canton.

                2. The joys of being a critic!

                  I would agree there are some overblown places in town, mainly since there aren't that many great places....a lot of good places, but few great. Ya'll will agree that the food scene is somewhat barren with pockets of excitement. but if you want a really tasty sub shop with fries....go down to any neighborhood.

                  I don't have a top ten, but my list includes:

                  Jack's Bistro - food is good, but didn't meet the expectation. Price point is high for what is offered.
                  Brewer's Art main dinner area - I'd rather have the bar menu over the dinner menu any day. The bar food is wonderful (minus the cold fries).
                  Blue Moon cafe - before the tv show, you were so good...after the show, boom went the dynamite.
                  Nacho Mama's - Why is this place so popular? I just don't get it...especially with some many great nearby places with the real stuff.
                  Joe's Squared - yes, I said it and I hope this doesn't spark another "greatest pizza in Baltimore" string. I just don't find the appeal.
                  Zeke's - I am glad for them to do their thing, but it's not that great. Spro is better, Baltimore Coffee and Tea (fair trade/organic - not the obnoxious flavored stuff) is better. I do miss the Pacific NW for this reason.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ohbilly

                    I do love Joe2, and I think that points up one of the inherent problems with including pizza on a list of this type. It's just too personal.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      There was a combative pizza opinion thread on CH and the best quote went something like: The best pizza is from where you went to college.

                      1. re: jvanderh

                        I also agree that it is that great.

                      2. re: ohbilly

                        I don't quite get the Zeke's comparison, in an apples and oranges way. Are you comparing the walk-in Zeke's cafe location against Spro and Baltimore Coffee and Tea? Sounds to me like you are comparing the actual coffee, but Spro doesn't roast their own coffee and offers coffee from many roasters. Or some mixture of the two, like a brewed cup from Zeke's versus a brewed cup from Spro?

                        That said, I agree Zeke's is good, not great. I find traces of harshness in their roasting, but not anything in the neighborhood of Starbucks. I still buy Zeke's at the farmers market because they are freshly roasted. (I am of the opinion that fresh roasting is almost as important as fresh grinding.) But from the local roasters, I prefer Highgrounds. Oddly, Spro doesn't source from any local roasters as far as I recall.

                      3. If you look for something to complain about, you'll probably find it.

                        I don't think Matthew's is overrated. Personally, it's not for me, but I guess it's good for what it is. No doubt some people love the cakey pie.

                        Corks is a little weird. I've had a couple of good meals there, but the atmosphere is a little strange. It has reasonable prices for good food. Ive never heard anyone ever call the food amazing or unbelievable, so it's probably not overrated, either.

                        I had a great meal at Woodberry, but it's the kind of place that people love to hate. So no surprise it's on a list like this.

                        As for Jack's, you must be referring to the rap it got from the tuna and pop rocks. The current menu offers such oddities as steak with potatoes and a "pork chop" -- whatever that is...

                        I'm more interested in underrated restaurants, but if I had to pick one that was overrated, it's Thai Arroy. Nice people serving pretty food, but with a total lack of flavor by Thai standards. BYOB is nice, though.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Chowtimore

                          I'm interested in underrated restaurants, too. You got any?

                          1. re: Chowtimore

                            My issues with Jack's is that at their price point, they are not offering me anything more or better than other places. Salt is about the same range and I would go to Salt over Jack's every time. Peter's Inn, Dogwood, and Bluegrass are way better. The oddities are really a gimmick. Although, their poutine was really good. But beyond that, there are better options around town.

                            I completely agree with Thai Arroy. Baltimore lacks the solid Thai restaurant.

                            1. re: Chowtimore

                              My interest is who has the good stuff. There are dishes that I think are just fine, some that I think are excellent, and some that are so good that words fail me.

                              I had one of those tonight -- the lamb tartare with pickled ramps at BlueGrass Tavern. I've liked this place a lot since it opened, and was frankly a bit worried when Patrick Morrow left for the Kali's group. But Ryan (Ray) Klumm is doing really really good things. He absolutely deserved to take over, and I really hope he will stay there. I had a duck prosciutto that was very tasty, but the lamb tartare was one of those dishes that I will remember eating for a long time, like the sweetbreads at Charleston, the lamb chops at Zorbas, and the avocado and oxtail risotto at B&O.

                              The menu changes a lot there, so I would totally urge you to get this dish while you can. It was simply amazing. I love this restaurant because they are totally not afraid to experiment and take risks. The fact that so many of them pay off is one of Baltimore's best kept secrets.

                              -----
                              Zorba's
                              4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                              1. re: JonParker

                                We finally made it to Bluegrass for dinner tonight, and it was an exceptional meal from start to finish. Attention to detail was apparent in the food. The wait staff seems to be genuinely friendly and intimately familiar with the menu. Truly delightful evening. The restaurant doesn't seem to have suffered for the loss of its chef.

                                1. re: jvanderh

                                  I totally agree. Sadly, they took the lamb tartare off the menu on Thursday, so you missed that. Ray is doing some really good things there. What did you have?

                                  1. re: JonParker

                                    Some charcuterie and cheese (buffalo pate, lamb pepperoni, a cheddar, a goat, and a brie), crawfish hush pupies (the only thing that wasn't very good), a softshell crab, gnocci, and the chocolate cake. I drank a bluegrass mule, which was a little bitter in a pleasant way. Bf also had a salad, the lasagna, and buttermilk ice cream. The lamb in the lasagna was a standout for me. The menu said Elysian fields, but I can't find any info. :-(

                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                      I agree that the crayfish hush puppies are forgettable. I love the lamb pepperoni -- they sell chunks of it at their Saturday farmer's market, and it makes a great midnight snack.

                                      I'm sorely tempted by that softshell crab.

                                      1. re: JonParker

                                        Mmmm. I hope I catch the next market. The crab is very good. It's served with an avocado butter that tastes like guacamole.

                                2. re: JonParker

                                  If I recall correctly, Blue Grass is occupies the space of the old Victory Tavern, no doubt named during WWII.

                              2. I have three on the over-rated side: Pazo, Golden West, and Mama's on the Half Shell. Pazo is way too loud and the food i just ok. I can't remember a thing I've ever eaten at Golden West. Mama's on the Half Shell is a fun place to hang out, but I've never had anything there that I would recommend to others.

                                At the risk of much disagreement, I also don't get all the hype about Taharka Brothers ice cream. It's good and it supports a good cause, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. And I've had awful service at the Mt Washington location.

                                -----
                                Golden West Cafe
                                1105 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD

                                Pazo Restaurant
                                1425 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: ronandaim

                                  Brewer's Art. A case in point; the self-proclaimed famous rosemary fries are mostly served cold because as one employee explained, 'we serve a shitload and only have one fryer'. Maybe buy another?

                                  My fries were served hot and the Miso White Tuna Tataki was excellent

                                  1. re: ronandaim

                                    Service at Mt Washington can be up or down, agreed. Service aside, what exactly did you not like about Taharka Brothers ice cream? Or put another way, what are you looking for in your ice cream that would make you go out of your way for it? Just curious. In this area I feel it's worth to go out of your way for simply because, in my opinion, there's nothing better.

                                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                                      It's not that I don't like Taharka. If I am at a place that serves Taharka, I'd certainly order it. I simply don't get the hype. I don't think it's any better than some of the brands I can get at the grocery store. For me, it's not craveable.

                                  2. This post strikes me as a solution in search of a problem. To begin with, the restaurant space in baltimore is not large enough to allow for the creation of "hype," in a way that is possible in NY or DC, etc. There are few media covering the food scene, and a relatively small online presence that cares about/comments about food. In addition, the list stretches to get to a round number of 10. At most, Kali's Court and Sotto Sopra belong on this list (and even there, this poster has had excellent meals at both restos in the past six months). The others are good-to-very-good restaurants that generally turn out a solid to outstanding meal.

                                    -----
                                    Sotto Sopra Restaurant
                                    405 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

                                    Kali's Court
                                    1606 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD 22231

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: lawhound

                                      I would disagree that the restaurant space is not large enough. Granted and no one is arguing that Baltimore is even close to NY or other major cities, but the underlying point in this post is that the food scene is completely underserved and underwhelmed. We scratch and claw at the handful of better than average places. A lot of the places that have been identified are good/solid restaurants. Sure, we have our bad experiences here and there, but no one place is perfect. What I don't understand is why can DC and Philly have a wealth of good restaurants when Baltimore lacks them and we basically pull from the same agriculture landscape? It's not a size issue - there are plenty of cities smaller than Baltimore that have a higher concentration of good places. What's the missing link? Is it the patrons? Is it the restauranteurs?

                                      1. re: ohbilly

                                        Baltimore and DC have almost the same number of people living in both cities I would say the difference is level of investment DC and volume of patrons.

                                        1. re: agarnett100

                                          DC Metro: 5,476,000 (8th largest); Baltimore 2,691,000 (20th largest). But the point is well taken- many smaller communities have great dining scenes and in many ways so does Baltimore. As has been pointed out, Baltimore is a regional hub and DC is a global hub-- nothing wrong with that, but Baltimore can/should/sometimes does excel in regional cusine whereas DC is a different scene with generally less prominent regional themes restaurants...

                                        2. re: ohbilly

                                          Q: Why do you rob banks? A: That's where the money is. (Willie Sutton)
                                          DC is where the money is. They make it there.

                                          1. re: ohbilly

                                            Metro DC long since eclipsed Baltimore in size, and DC is a much richer town. The political, social and legal environment of DC with all its business lunches and corporate sponsored dinners is what allows DC to have a large high end restaurant scene. Throw in a thriving, multi-ethnic recent immigrant population, you get a dynamic food scene. Baltimore can't compare. But what Baltimore offers isn't half bad, not at all.

                                            1. re: Roland Parker

                                              RolandParker's comments are right on. More money and a somewhat more cosmopolitan/better educated crowd in DC means more high end restaurants and a greater diversity of restaurants, which are better patronized than here in Charm City.

                                              But you can eat exceedingly well here in Baltimore, and there is a great range. However, you can't eat out every day for a month at a different, glossy, well-crafted restaurant, as you could easily do in DC.

                                              1. re: lawhound

                                                But the weird/cool thing about Baltimore is that the lower-end dining scene often means you can get a lot of interesting food for cheap. After a string of disappointing, relatively expensive meals that felt a lot like flushing money down the toilet, I've been seeking out hole-in-the-wall places and eating some great stuff for ten bucks or so. We've got a pretty awesome range of ethnic food, too. Especially Latin American and Middle Eastern.

                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                  Where do you like? I see new places along Eastern Avenue.

                                                  1. re: chowsearch

                                                    I've actually never had a bad meal at any of those little Taco joints. Habanero Grill has good flautas, la sirenita has good tamales, they both have good fajitas, tortilleria sinoloa has awesome fish tacos, puerto jarocho's got good ceviche, and Ellen recommends the seafood soup and sea bass filet there.

                                                    Ok, your turn! :-)

                                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                                      It may just be because it's an easy walk across the park for us, but we're pretty fond of Flavor of the Park Tacos, on Eastern at Linwood. Decent al pastor tacos, and stuff you don't see everywhere, like pig skin tacos.

                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                        Am still mourning the loss of Mi Viejo Pueblito. Que lastima. MVP deserved a better fate.

                                                        1. re: elgringoviejo

                                                          I tried to go once, but it had already turned into the new place.

                                                  2. re: lawhound

                                                    Demographics plays a huge part in any city's food scene, be it actual population or metro-area. DC is a draw for the educated and international elite, while Baltimore, beyond JHU Medical isn't really pulling in the big fish and has one the highest high-school drop out rates in the country. The sophistication and willingness of the population to spend time and money exploring new restaurants is a huge factor. D.C. probably does have more space dedicated to restaurants, but how much of that space is devoted to Lake Trout?

                                                    1. re: SlapintheGlass

                                                      Hey, back off the lake trout. ;) There's something about fresh "lake trout" fried till the bones are crispy and edible that I miss when I'm away for long periods of time.

                                                      Just for my knowledge, where did you get the information about high school drop out rates?

                                                  3. re: Roland Parker

                                                    DC population 601,723
                                                    Baltimore 620.961
                                                    http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/

                                                    I agree that DC does have the influence advantage over Baltimore which has attracted top chef from and investment geared to the high end restaurant scene.

                                                    1. re: agarnett100

                                                      I think they were talking about the full "metropolitan" area. Some would consider that to include Silver Spring and Manassas.

                                                      1. re: agarnett100

                                                        According to Wiki, the Washington metropolitan area is 5.47 million while Baltimore's is 2.7 million.

                                                        1. re: Roland Parker

                                                          I thought we were only taking about the actual size of the city - misunderstanding

                                                2. I used to enjoy Mathew's pizzeria back in the day. The pie might still be fine but they have become a bit expensive. The Helmand is similar. The food is still excellent but the prices have really escalated.

                                                  1. My reaction to the Black Olive was not positive. The food is good, but it's not hard to cook fish at home and there isn't anything at the Black Olive that exceeds a simple pan fried trout with a sprinkle of lemon juice and salt. The setting is pleasant and the service excellent, but what caught my husband's goat was that the Black Olive was the first restaurant that automatically brought bottles of San Pellegrino and a bread basket to our table without our ordering it at the onset of the meal, and later charged us for it.

                                                    Golden West Cafe had good food but terrible service.

                                                    Matthews was underwhelming and greasy pizza.

                                                    On the whole, the Baltimore restaurants served their purpose by providing a pleasant setting with tasty food. We dined out to have a good evening with our friends but never expected a brilliant meal, so we were rarely disappointed. Our favorite place for comfort dining was easily Petit Louis.

                                                    -----
                                                    Golden West Cafe
                                                    1105 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD

                                                    Petit Louis
                                                    4800 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210

                                                    Black Olive
                                                    814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Roland Parker

                                                      Sometimes a slice of greasy pie is what I want, but since Mathew's has become trendy, I now patronize Angelo's in Hampden. IMO Angelo's has a delicious thin-crust pie and quite decent subs at VERY reasonable prices.

                                                    2. Sotto Sopra is one of Baltimore's gems. Can you prove that they "pour rot-gut liquor into top shelf bottles?" That is a pretty nasty accusation.

                                                      In any event, my hubby and I enjoyed a luscious, delightful dinner there the other night. Drinks were perfect and served even before we ordered them. Dereck (our waiter) knew what we wanted from past dining experiences.

                                                      The panzanella salad was exquisite. Flavorful, a melange of bitey arugula, goat cheese that was creamy, carmelized onions,, roasted red and yellow beets-the toasted bread added the final touch with the light dressing.

                                                      The veal chop is always a favorite--it is huge and delectable, but the vegetables that accompany the entrees put it over the top. As I have mentioned previously, not many local restaurants focus on the vegetables unless they are a la carte and not anything exceptional.

                                                      The fried sardine appetizer was a winner. Crispy, large battered sardines with a mild aioli made a nice dinner for me, knowing that I would be chowing down on the veal chop that my husband couldn't handle by himself.

                                                      The amuse bouche (correct my spelling thank you very much), was an outstandingly smooth, creamy chicken liver mousse slathered on toasted bread with pickled veggies. I swooned.

                                                      So, perhaps you had a bad experience? No!! I just would like to know where you dine since you have found so many places to have such negative experiences.

                                                      What about Charleston? Believe it or not, my last few dinners there were quite disappointing. Since I have had the extreme luck and pleasure of dining at the top restaurants across the country in the biggest, most popular cities, I try not to compare Baltimore's cuisine oriented digs with other places. In fact, I've had better meals locally then at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, Spago and Cut in L.A., Bouley in NYC, etc.

                                                      For me, it's just food. But I do love a great meal, dining out is entertainment and a way to try new food. FoiGras

                                                      -----
                                                      Sotto Sopra Restaurant
                                                      405 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

                                                      1. To the OP: I'm liking this list and the way you're thinking--so I wonder what you actually think is worth trying, whether underrated or simply accurately reviewed, in Balto.

                                                        1. I still stand by my comments. I'm actually B-more born and bred, and those east-side crab houses that you refer to are, sadly, long gone. And as to Matthew's, its not the pedigree that I question, or their popularity, but rather the quality. Longevity is no substitute.

                                                          1. "9. Matthew's Pizzeria: Oops! Not really a restaurant (according to B-more Mag, pizzerias are NOT restaurants) Matthew's has been serving not very good pizza in a rundown space since 1948. But at least it's been consistent over the years."
                                                            Disagree. I love Matthew's and drive up from DC at least twice a year.