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Gems in Baltimore

t
tony marrazzo Nov 30, 2013 09:51 AM

We are in Baltimore at least five times a year and would like to discover new restaurant finds that are people go back to time after time

  1. ChristinaMason Feb 27, 2014 05:19 PM

    Was in Baltimore again over Valentine's Day, and had a very good meal at the Brewer's Art, which was nice, because for some reason I think of it as a little overrated/touristy. We had boar terrine, a rare venison loin steak w/ roasted cauliflower and some kind of sauce with chocolate, and chestnut papardelle with a cumin-y lamb ragu. The latter was an especially generous portion for a starter; the venison was almost like tuna steak, it was so tender. Delicious.

    Dinner on V-day at Hersh's was more uneven: a great sausage and walnut-stuffed grilled calamari over romesco sauce, followed by "just OK" duck breast w/ cornmeal cake and agridulce sauce and shrimp-lobster ravioli that were oddly dense in a slighty too salty, slightly too tomato-y lobster broth. Dessert was also a little disappointing--a chocolate "vaso de crema" that was basically just a dense chocolate mouse topped with a ton of whole roasted pistachios. Not bad, but the texture didn't really work. And they seem to have removed the gelato sampler from the menu in favor of humongous pre-scooped, pre-chilled cups, each sold separately, which we didn't realize (and the waitress didn't flag for us that we'd ordered enough dessert for four people). She was kind enough to take most of them off the check without our asking. Again, still pretty good, but not as stellar as earlier visits. Seems like some strange choices in the kitchen.

    A new find we really enjoyed was Dooby, a bougie coffee shop with amazing-looking homemade pastries (caramelized onion, bacon, and gouda scones anyone?) and excellent espresso. Pretty hipster/vaguely overpriced, but we had a good bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on (excellent! crispy!) baguette and a nice custardy quiche with mixed greens. My only complaint is that the egg appeared to have been pre-made and reheated in the microwaved--it was steaming from the inside out.

    1. m
      MulchesOdyssey Jan 11, 2014 01:27 AM

      I frequent Jack's Bistro in Canton, always a solid meal and inventive. Cocktails are off the charts. They make their own tonic and if you ask the bartender it will come complete with history lesson.

      Fork and Wrench (also in Canton) is another one that I frequent. The menus are seasonal so they are often in transition but Chef Keefer will always have something up his sleeve. Like serving sweetbreads with the fried chicken. Another full package with a solid and engaging bartender as well.

      If you like sushi I think Nanami Cafe is a gem. It's out at the end of the pier at the corner of Thames and Ann in Fells. By far my favorite sushi joint in the city.

      No need to mention Peter's Inn again but it's hard to resist it's that good.

      1. s
        Steve Dec 6, 2013 03:05 AM

        If you have a car, then anyone hitting Baltimore that much should already know about Pioneer Pit Beef. Just a shack under the highway, carry-out only, but sublime.

        1. ChristinaMason Dec 5, 2013 08:16 PM

          My favorite place by a long mile is Hersh's Pizza and Drinks. Great things like homemade ricotta, pasta, and gelato on the menu: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-11-28/entertainment/bs-sc-hershs-pizza-review-20131130_1_stephanie-hershkovitz-josh-hershkovitz-more-than-pizza

          Another goodie is Live2Eat. The food is good, although one dish I had was seriously oversalted. It's a small operation and quite charming. http://www.yelp.com/biz/live2eat-balt...

          4 Replies
          1. re: ChristinaMason
            curioussheridan Dec 5, 2013 08:50 PM

            Was at Hersh's Pizza last night and was disappointed. Bean and greens soup that tasted as if made with water, brisket meatballs that tasted like little Italy, uninteresting cheese plate. The spicy Visuvious liquid cocolate cake with chili however was tremendous

            1. re: curioussheridan
              l
              lawhound Dec 9, 2013 08:33 AM

              Haven't had the items you mention, but the pizza at Hersh's is excellent.

              1. re: curioussheridan
                ChristinaMason Dec 9, 2013 05:20 PM

                Oh no! That sucks; sorry your experience wasn't so great. I have never had the meat mains, but they always sound good, at least. I think pasta and some of the other items I mentioned are the way to go there. Desserts are good, agreed.

              2. re: ChristinaMason
                b
                bmorecupcake Feb 27, 2014 07:48 AM

                Verde is new-ish and another great place for pizza. I also like their "calzones" (in quotes because I think they call it something else.)

              3. f
                flavrmeistr Dec 3, 2013 04:55 PM

                LP Steamers in Locust Point and Ryleigh's Oyster House in Federal Hill are two of my regular spots. Also like Thames Street Oyster House and the afore-mentioned Peter's Inn in Fells Point.

                1. l
                  lawhound Dec 3, 2013 08:40 AM

                  Don't know what's "new" to you, but two places I like a lot are Peter's Inn in Fells Point and Of Love and Regret in Canton. Had some great beers (and was told food is good) at Alewife on Eutaw. Have heard good things about recently opened Bottega (Station North) but have not been.

                  1. curioussheridan Nov 30, 2013 06:16 PM

                    Fresh catfish, slow beef ribs, spicy Cajun shrimp and grits, and red velvet waffles-- time to go back to Herb and Soul again~!

                    1. h
                      Hue Nov 30, 2013 12:21 PM

                      Make a trek to Zorba's on Eastern Avenue in Greektown.
                      Not fancy but great lamb chops!!!

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Hue
                        ChristinaMason Dec 5, 2013 08:14 PM

                        Not to yuck your yum (sorry), but we had crappy, bland food there. And quite overpriced.

                        1. re: ChristinaMason
                          curioussheridan Dec 5, 2013 08:52 PM

                          the grilled meats are the things to get

                          1. re: curioussheridan
                            ChristinaMason Dec 9, 2013 05:17 PM

                            We did. And grilled fish. Totally underwhelmed. And this was not a matter of being unfamiliar with Greek food, either DC "big city" style or home cooking. It just wasn't well made.

                          2. re: ChristinaMason
                            s
                            Steve Dec 6, 2013 03:02 AM

                            A common knock on Greek food is 'oily and bland', and I have to agree that Zorba's was about on par with that, including the grilled lamb. This is not as zesty as what you'd find in Astoria or a relatively fancy place like Kapnos in DC.

                            1. re: Steve
                              h
                              hotel Dec 10, 2013 06:38 AM

                              Is that a common knock on Greek food? I've never heard that, I eat a lot of it and I've been to Greece.

                            2. re: ChristinaMason
                              j
                              jfish Dec 6, 2013 05:37 AM

                              Maybe bland, but I did not think overpriced. Zorba's is worth a visit for the grilled octopus.

                              1. re: jfish
                                ChristinaMason Dec 9, 2013 05:19 PM

                                There was plenty of food, but I felt the quality of food for the $$ was lacking.

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