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Apr 21, 2012 04:26 AM

4 days at Inner Harbour

I'll be in Baltimore sight-seeing for a few days.

Planning on dining at:

Charleston (dinner)
Thames St. Oyster House (dinner or early stop before dinner)
Woodberry Kitchen (brunch)

Thinking about:

B&O Brasserie
Mr. Rains at MOVA
Fogo de Chao

Opinions please...

Also, any spectacular Thai in the Inner Harbour area or nearby?

Thank You

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  1. There's acceptable but not spectacular Thai in nearby Federal Hill. Thai Arrroy is the popular spot, but I prefer the weird but arguably better Thai Yum across the street. It's been a while since I've been to B&O, but I always liked it quite a bit. Bluegrass, also in Federal Hill, is another good spot. Salt really didn't thrill me, and Fogo de Chao is a chain.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JonParker

      I've had really, really good stuff at Salt, and not so spectacular stuff. I probably won't recommend it to an out-of-town visitor, though, 'cause parking is tricky. Unless the out-of-towner was coming by cab.

      1. re: Hal Laurent

        Yeah, it's hit and miss. I do dream about the wild boar pasta dish though... (also probably not a kid friendly space)

    2. You may want to forget Mr. Rain's, and definitely Fogo de Chao (not because the food is subpar, but it is a chain that you can visit elsewhere).

      Charleston is a winner-but quite pricey. If you want some "old school"Baltimore cuisine--then the Prime Rib and/or Tio Pepe's. Sotto Sopra is a delightful restaurant with very personal attention to the service and cuisine.

      I was not impressed enough with the B&O Brasserie to make a hasty return, but hope to someday. Sorry that I can't recommend it.

      Sorry I can't provide recommendations for Thai cusine. Other Chowhounders will be better informed to offer their suggestions. Dined for dinner at Woodberry Kitchen and would probably agree that it would be a great venue for a brunch.

      Welcome to Baltimore and hope you have a great dining experience. Or at least a satisfying one. FoiGras P.S. I feel certain that you will receive suggestions to "lunch" at "Faidley's in the Lexington Market and try their famous crabcakes. Be a sport and give the Market a try. I'm a Baltimorean and haven't visited the market in over 20 years. I do miss the smearcase and varieties of cottage cheese and soft creamcheese from Castle Farms. but, the Mary Marvis sandwiches are huge--if I recall---Berger's cookies-, etc. Keep an open mind and stomach/appetite. FoiGras

      20 Replies
      1. re: FoiGras

        I'd eat at Mr. Rains only if you are already set on taking in the American Visionary Museum, but you have to realize it is an oddball assortment of found object art and non-mainstream crafts.

        1. re: FoiGras

          FoiGras. Pls dont talk re Lexingtom Market if you have not been there for 20 years. It is is a fast food emporium now, as it has been for a long time. careful selection pays off, but there is no reason to go there but for the atmosphere. Go elsewhere unless the other choices are very limited ( I have have been going to the Market for over 50 years.) the atmosphere is great, however; just dont expect memorable food.

          Faidley's has ordinary local seafood, bt the ambiance is terriffic. just dont get your expectations up.

          Both the B&O Brasserie and Woodberry Kitchen are terriffic. The Prime Rib has great food, but in a sterile environment (too dark to read the menu and very noisy wjhen full. Sotta Sopra is excellent, but the place to go is Cingiale. Superb in all respects

          1. re: tartuffe

            Thanks for the input re Lexington Market. I had intended to revisit while my hubby was hospitalized for several weeks at the University of Maryland Medical Center. I thought it would be a great opportunity to walk over and take a look-see. Glad I didn't bother. It's disappointing to hear that it has changed so dramatically. I was under the impression that it was a worthwhile venue. So many of thge Chowhounder's give it such a favorable impression.

            Next time you visit the Prime Rib, ask the waiter to provide the little menu light to help you out. It really comes in handy.

            I beg to differ with regards to Sotto Sopra versus Cinghiale. But, isn't that what all of this is about--just food, fun and opinions. It's all very subjective. Happy dining and thanks for your input. I will take it all into consideration. FoiGras

            1. re: FoiGras

              FG I hope your husband is doing well. Dont miss Trinacria while you're here--superb sanwiches, but must get there early. There is a pretty good Indian adjoining the East Mkt and Thousand Kebobs at 218 Liberty gets good reviews altho I have not been there. Nothing else in the area is worth mentioning, but the Pratt St Alehouse and Nick and Stef's are OK plus.

              Lex Mkt is full of local fast-food places. A couple are interesting, like the Korean place, but none is worth a special visit Faidley's still provides a good raw bar and good crab cakes, but that's about all that distinguishes Lex Mkt apart from a bit of disml atmosphere (Eataly it aint). Fifty yrs ago, when people did much shopping at LM, snd when other places were not available, it was very different and much more exciting.

              I eat a lot on an expense acct at both Cingiale and SS--altho I prefer the former (esp for the salumeria), I like them both. A matter of taste

              1. re: tartuffe

                Is the Korean place still there? I don't remember seeing it last time. They also have a stand called Donut Delight in Lexington Market which is not bad if like me you can't stand all the conditioners and additives in Dunkin Donuts these days. There's also the Berger stand which sells Berger cookies (love em or hate em) and also sells a variety of fresh-baked "regular" cookies.

                1. re: bmorecupcake

                  The korean place is still there. Far SE corner--acceotable, but not worth a visit. I understand the fascination witjh Berger's based on long-ago memories; but the cookies reslly arent all that good. Go to Patisserie Poupon or Bonjour instead.

                  1. re: tartuffe

                    tartuffe, the Korean place is no longer there. I just went last week. With the closure of the Korean stand, Donut Delight, Harbor City Cakes, and Rheb's a while back, coupled with my abysmal experience at Faidley's last week, I can no longer recommend a visit to the market. So sad. I have staunchly defended the market on this board in the past.

                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                      Bmorecupcake. sorry re the Korean place. It is hard to recommenf Lex Market--food indiferrent at best and little atmosphere. Balto has become an academic and health care town and, apart from Harbor view, it could be anyplace USA

                2. re: tartuffe

                  tartuffe--thanks for your well wishes regarding my husband's medical condition. Thankfully, he is /has recovered remarkably. Since you seem to be very familiar with the Lexington Market and the current vendors--I know that Castlle Farms has long been gone. I am aware through the Chowhound threads that Mary Marvis still reins as a big sandwich venue.

                  So, can you advise-please. Your help will make me decide whether or not to make a trip to the Market. Is there still a vendor who supplies fried chicken livers? One of my secret food fetishes. No where can I find them and don't want to go to the trouble of deep frying or even pan frying those little nuggets. If I recall, there was a vendor at the Market with those luscious-heart attack rendering morsels.

                  Based on your high opinion of Cinghiale, I do intend to return at some point. I thought the service and atmosphere were lovely. Need to return to readjust my initial opinion. FoiGras

                  1. re: FoiGras

                    Go. Still can get fried livers, hard to beat A dozen oysters, the premium crab cake and a beer at Faidley's , the corn beef sandwich at merry Mervis is still great, the hot roasted peanuts at the nut vendor are great, Berger cookies.....worth a lunch and a couple of hours of grazing.

                    1. re: dining with doc

                      YEAH--I can't wait to chow down on those chicken livers. My favorite sandwich, many 20 years ago, at Mary Mervis--get this--was the cheese sandwich. Hey, I was in my teens and just started working downtown. What did I know. Those Berger cookies--not just chocolate, but butter rum--lemon and help me here--what was the other flavor? At that time I loved the Sarah Lee little square cheesecakes in the frozen food selection. Believe it or not, I could eat that entire little (not so little) cheesecake. Not anything to do with the Lexington Market.

                      I am delighted to know that the chicken livers are still available. Thanks so much for that input. FoiGras

                      1. re: dining with doc

                        Thanks "doc " you and "tartuffe" have said rhat I can get those fried chicken livers at Lexing tn Market. YEAH!! Am I some weirdo--don't others love fried chicken livers? And I re-emphasize, I miss Castle Farms at the LMarket--the various cottage cheeses--large curd, medium curd and "smearcase"---the greatest sour cream--nothing is avavilable that I can find. Reminiscing--FoiGras

                        1. re: FoiGras

                          No, nothing that weird about it. Once you acquire the taste, chicken liver and gizzards are good stuff. Although I've never had the fried ones from Lexington Market.

                      2. re: FoiGras

                        FoiGras. Glad to hear H is doing well. Alas i cannot help you--Mimi Sheraton of the NYT once said that chicken livers were the only food she would not eat, and altho i am not as promiscuous as she, chicken livers are definitely off my list as well--as a result, I am not sure re their presence in the Mkt, but I am going there later today and will scout around for you.

                        Re Cingiale. Eat the salumeria and pasta--not a great fan of the secondi

                        1. re: tartuffe

                          Foi Gras. Chicken gizzards are still available at the fried chicken places. I bought a breast at Superb Chicken, just east of Herling's, which I had not done in 15 years. same result--good crust, moist chicken, decent lunch

                          more broadly, I rec'mend near the Hospital, Cafe on the Square (unit block south Paca). Good sandwiches and soups--better than anything in the Hosp Food Ct or nearby Panera. Also there are food trucks on 500 block Balto st on Tuesday -Thursday, incl Kooper's (yea!) on Weds. Good luck and hope H keeps getting better

                          1. re: tartuffe

                            Okay- Tartuffe--I always heed your advice and thank you for your input and research. Yes, thank goodness hubby is doing well. Thanks yo for your concern..

                            I can understand why fried chicken livers aren't a favorite dish. It takes a special weird desire to embrace those little balls of deep fried whatever. Can't even think of a word to describe. Thanks for all of your research.. And yes, I will definitely go back to Chingiale--knowinghow much you like it--I know that I need to give it a second chance. Maybe it was just an off night or attitude with me and my hubby.

                            Am interested to see if you have any new suggestions to go for dining. It doesn't seem to be any new venues--so we have to resort to the regular available venues. Looking for yor suggestions--hope that isn't an imposition. Best wishes, Foi Gras

                            1. re: FoiGras

                              surely you can't mean that there is a shortage of new places to dine in baltimore? i don't think i can recall as many new restaurants opening in such a short period of time as there have been over the past several months so maybe i misunderstood you, but if not:

                              wit & wisdom
                              waterfront kitchen
                              fork and wrench
                              hersh's pizza & drinks
                              heavy seas ale house

                              that's not to say i personally recommend all of those places, but they, at least, warrant a visit to decide for yourself.

                              1. re: stellabay

                                stellabay--thanks for your input. I forgot about Wit & Wisdom. And definitely want to try Waterfront Kitchen, especially now that the weather is so nice. It'll be a treat to meander through Fells Point then dine on the waterfront.

                                Hadn't been aware of the openings of the others you mentioned. Will have to look into those also. FoiGras

                                1. re: FoiGras

                                  I find Baltimore Sun's Diner blog a great source for new restaurant openings.


                  2. re: FoiGras

                    Skip Fogo de Chao (specifically because it's a chain... You only have a few meals here, don't waste one on something you can get elsewhere)

                    If you are at/near MOVA you might want to have a drink at Mr Rains even if you don't dine there. The cocktails are fantastic. They actually just won the Maryland restaurant association best drink program award, FWIW (just saw that you're traveling with young kids... The pleasures of sitting at a bar drinking cocktails may be lost on them)

                  3. OK, I think I need to give more info. We are serious eaters. Not concerned about cost as much as quality. We don't live in the US but are from a small island. We don't have access to chain restaurants, oysters, crabs, any asian food and man, do we crave it. Love spice, seafood and seasonal produce we can't get (think local corn, melons, berries). Haven't visited Baltimore in about 10 years but really enjoyed it. We'll be traveling with 2 school aged children who eat what we do. We will have a car but plan on using taxis and the water taxi. By the way, this is a summer trip. Thanks for all your help.

                    1. I like your list. Would forget Fago unless you are going for the experience for the kids. If you want fantastic over the top Chinese you can go 20 minutes to Grace Garden Chinese near Fort Meade. Research it on this page and the threads speak for itself. Also agree that although it is old school, Tio Pepe still delivers fantastic Spanish Cuisine including great fresh fish and seafood. Might want to take the kids to Miss Shirley's and Cafe Hon for breakfast. Also might want to do a Maryland crab feast. If you want steamed hardshell crabs etc. You can also research this since there is great debate of where to go in Baltimore, especially with the closing of OBrycki's

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dining with doc

                        Yeah, if you want the best food in the area go to Grace Garden. Seriously. And make sure to peruse the menu in advance and pre-order some dishes. There's a very long thread on here about that wonderful place.

                        Also, if you are serious about eating and don't mind using the car I suggest taking the kids up to Jake's on Falls Road for lunch. It's a superb roadside shack with pit beef, ribs, chicken, etc... There are picnic tables and Jake is about as nice as can be. The kids will love this experience and it's very local.

                        1. re: kukubura

                          Wow, Jakes looks good. I will be in the Inner Harbor in Mid August. I like those kind of places, nothing like it in Los Angeles..

                          1. re: Foodandwine

                            It's not near the inner harbor but if you take 83 up to timonium it's not far. A more scenic drive would be up Falls road but it's a little more complicated. Love that place.

                      2. We stayed near Inner Harbor I believe (next to the stadiums), and walked to Tortilleria Sinaloa one afternoon for lunch, and were very impressed - especially with the quesadillas.