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Clementine and the Cafe Non-Revolution


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I wanted to like cute little cafe Clementine in Baltimore when my husband and I stopped in for breakfast last month, but it was so disappointing.

I want to root for small mom-and-pops that open up cafes in struggling neighborhoods and want to be a cool scene, but this one was so sure of its cool it was out of smoked salmon, the waitress kept walking by with the coffee pot but not stopping to fill my cup until I flagged her down, and two other employees were just lounging around behind the counter, ignoring us.

It wasn't busy -- it was a weekday and there were 2 other 4-top tables taken. One thing I cannot STAND is having to beg for coffee in the morning at a breakfast restaurant. Inexcusable.

And the food was just mediocre-- bagels with smoked trout spread (OUT OF SMOKED SALMON??) and a potatoey egg dish I could have made better at home. One thing I loved -- cheesy onion grits.

Did I just go on a bad day? What's the deal?

And why do these types of places so often fall short of expectations?


The Food Scribe

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  • 2 weeks later...

So how was the coffee? :smile:

I was at Clementine for lunch this past weekend - also my first visit. I had a much different experience than you did, so maybe it was an off day, or maybe breakfast is not their strong suit? First of all, I love the space - very neighborly and casual, and they've set aside a nice nook for a childrens' play area - much appreciated with active little ones in tow.

It was quite busy, so none of the waitstaff were doing any lollygagging. They could have used one or two more servers, but the ones who were there were doing their darndest to keep up. Lunch for me was a hefty grilled chicken sandwich on toasted wheat, with nice thick bacon, a light schmear of avocado and a sharp blue cheese mayo. A bit sloppily assembled, but each ingredient was top notch. Only complaint is that I wish it had more avocado. It came with a choice of sides - mine was a fresh green salad with an absolutely tangy-delicious Green Goddess dressing. When was the last time any little mom and pop in Baltimore had that on the menu?! Oh, and the ice tea was the real deal - it tasted fresh brewed. I also sampled the mac and cheese, which was of the firm brick variety, with tomato laced throughout. Not bad. Prices were very reasonable, and I would like to return for dinner. Judging by the fact that virtually all tables were filled when we left, and some had turned over once or twice, I'd say they are doing quite well.

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