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May 22, 2012 04:10 PM

Baltimore's Newest Restaurants

Haven't heard any "reviews" regarding the opening of several more recent restaurants--i.e., Wit and Wisdom--Waterfront Kitchen, etc. Any updates on the newer arrivals? To be honest, don't want to waste dining out dollars without knowing whether or not the venue is worthwhile. I'd rather spend my dining dollars on the well known/given places that are consistent. But, as an aside, Hubby and I do love to try new places, but are more cautious in these dining-out dollar conscious times. FoiGras

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  1. Hi--long-time lurker here. Saw this post and had to respond. I went to Waterfront Kitchen on Sunday for brunch. Food was pretty good and inexpensive--a huge club sandwich with a grilled chicken breast and yummy spread, and a nice BLT on ciabatta--but the service was awful. We broiled in the sun for an hour and a half while our server disappeared for extended periods of time. Tables also very close together; I crashed into the people at the table next to me a couple of times while moving my chair. I don't think I'll be back. However, the view is divine...too bad about the service.

    3 Replies
    1. re: isabellacat

      I had lunch at Waterfront Kitchen -- excellent, and as mentioned, the view is great and the space is lovely, and dinner as well. At dinner, the view and space were still great, but the food was overwhelmingly . . . bland, if those two words can be used together. It was a while ago, so don't recall the dishes, except for a seafood stew that was cooked about right, but had zero flavor. Given the cost, I would pass on dinner again.

      1. re: lawhound

        Similar experience here. We went for dinner on Saturday night and I was very disappointed with the food (I expect better from Jerry Pellegrino). The view was lovely and I enjoyed the energy in the room. Contrary to many reviews, our service was very good. My only complaint on that score was that the server didn't warn us that the 120-day aged, NY strip was $50. Otherwise, she was great.

        For apps, we had fried green tomatoes and the charcuterie platter. The "green" tomatoes were actually pink inside and seemed to be coated with a batter and deep fried. I didn't care for the texture, but my main objection was that they were woefully lacking in salt. They bordered on flavorless. My husband's charcuterie platter was very nice, but huge. We easily could have split it.

        For dinner, I had the veal hangar steak with truffle tries. Actually, I should say I "ordered" the steak. It came out so hammered that I couldn't eat it (the couple of bites I did take were completely devoid of seasoning). The server noticed that I wasn't eating it and took it off my bill. I didn't even have to ask. My husband had the aforementioned NY strip, served on grilled asparagus. The meat was ok, with a simple balsamic glaze, but certainly not worth the hefty price tag. It, too, lacked seasoning.

        The highlight of the meal was the dessert...a blueberry cheesecake with a bruleed top. It was absolutely delicious and we made short work of it.

        All in all, I give it a B-/C+. The food lacked imagination and was poorly executed. Sadly, I didn't have anything there that I couldn't make better in my own kitchen. Unless I hear many reviews indicating that the situation has been rectified, I won't be going back.

        1. re: Christina D

          We went earlier this year and the lack of seasoning was notable then too.

    2. We went to Heavy Seas Alehouse for the first time about 6 weeks ago. My husband loves beers, and I went along much less enthusiastically. wW were both so wowed by the food, service, and drinks that we went back once since then and have 2 reservations on the books (one being on Father's day, per his request!)!

      The food was the biggest surprise for me. As a beer-focused restaurant, I was expecting basic bar food. I was so wrong! The food was superb-- we had seafood from the raw bar which was fabulous, and all the entrees were rave worthy. I especially loved the fries-- fresh, hand-cut, and seasoned perfectly. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that the restaurant strives to use local, seasonable ingredients and even gets its baked goods from the bakery next door.

      7 Replies
      1. re: stephanieg

        Has anybody tried Fork and Wench?

        1. re: 2000man

          Wit & Wisdom has been open long enough to have reviews from local media - Citypaper, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, even the Post.. I've seen several blog posts on it as well. The general consensus seems to be good food/high prices. I can say the same for Michael Mina's new restaurant, Pabu, which opened two weeks ago. It's billed as an izakaya, which in Japan is a bar that serves food, but it's a bit fancier than that. Prices are high, but they have arguably the best, most carefully produced, sushi in town.

          1. re: theminx

            Agree on Pabu: Tokyo quality, Tokyo prices.

            Only place in Baltimore I've tried, that IMHO, has properly seasoned, textured and shaped rice for nigiri. Fish is cut precisely and with respect for grain--not the usual, cut-with-kids-scissors style, mucky-muck rolls that everyone eats here. Great sake list. Robata is variable. Some good e.g. chicken thighs and shoulder blade, some not e.g. chicken hearts were dry. Robata pricess very high, just like sushi.

            Service was enthusiastic and attentive. Pabu is great. The only question is how much you value top quality and how much you're willing to pay for it.

          2. re: 2000man

            I tried F&W a couple of weeks ago. Service was...interesting. Our server was attentive initially and then disappeared for about 20 minutes while we pined for refills. A person behind the bar was asked for a beer (as he was pouring himself one) and told the patron, "I'm not working right now." Well then what are you doing behind the bar?? Staff were openly complaining about each other within earshot. Shut that down! I was dining with a friend of mine who is a restaurant manager and she was appalled.

            Food...interesting menu, but in a word, SALTY. Greens were doused with salt and pepper to the point where I scrutinized my arugula because I thought the pepper was dirt. We had the cheese fondue, tasty, but became gritty after about 10 minutes. I know fondue is tough but it needs work. Seared tuna was cooked well, but the accompanying potatoes were overly salted and then it also came with olive relish and capers, totally salty. There were about 500 capers on the plate. The seared polenta was the highlight, it was the crisp on the outside and buttery on the inside, maybe the best polenta I've ever had. Again though, the veggies were salted to the point of no return. Quinoa salad was also way salty and had feta in it, compounding the salt. A few of my friends thought the portions were too small, but I thought they were appropriate.

            Drinks were just ok. Priced at $7, very reasonable, but the brass tacks was cloyingly sweet (yes I watch a lot of Chopped) and the aviation was subpar in comparison to the ones I've had at Wit & Wisdom & Rye.

            It's a cool space, hope they can get it together.

          3. re: stephanieg

            Heavy Seas has great burgers and the service is great at lunch--when its empty

          4. This evening I had the distinct pleasure of dining at the New Grand opening of Clementine @ The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave. The ambiance was chic yet inviting. The servers were friendly, attentive and extremely accommodating. The cuisine was divine from the appetizer to the dessert; very fresh and pleasing to the palate. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for an exquisite evening of light dining.

            1. Hersh's Pizza in Fed Hill. My husband and I tried it the other night and thought the pizza was fantastic. IMO Baltimore is a pizza desert, this place is the only decent slice I've found in a year of living here. Hersh's serves Neapolitan style pizza, the crust is very thin, crispy on the bottom and tender in the middle. My husband have the traditional margherita pizza and I had kale and pistachio. The food was great, the service was a bit awkward and it is SO difficult to park in that area.

              4 Replies
              1. re: interplanetjanet

                I agree with Hersch's being among the best of the new restaurants. Great pizza. I actually had great service while I was there (the owner was working the front of the house, the manager was attentive and friendly).

                Its more of a date place, than a casual pizza joint. I'll be going back.

                And parking isn't that bad. Particularly when you can park at home and walk.

                1. re: seanscores

                  Another classy addition to Baltimore's dining scene! No wonder Baltimore is considered such a hot foodie destination!

                  1. re: kukubura

                    Sorry, but Baltimore *isn't* considered a hot foodie destination. For a city of its size, it is woefully lacking in good restaurants. I have lived in Baltimore as well as other similar cities--and visited many others--and I am consistently underwhelmed by the food in Baltimore. If you try to compare it to Portland, OR, Austin, Nashville, or even Charleston, SC (which is much smaller), it almost never fails to disappoint.

                    1. re: equilibrist

                      I was originally responding to a spam post about a cheesesteak restaurant opening INSIDE a strip club. Ie I was being sarcastic.

                      Now it looks like I'm talking about Hersch's, which makes no sense.

                      (Although there is good food here, but I still agree with you to an extent)