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Baltimore – Where to eat


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Four of us ate at the recently revived Cork's on S. Charles Street today and had the same response; the service was horrid, the food not hot and not so good either (fish & chips, Cork's BLT, a frisee salad and a shrimp salad), but the prices OK for the amount of food served. The wines do range from $18-395 and one can park. In summary, the old Catskill resort verdict: it's not expensive nor good but there's plenty of it.

John Talbott

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  • 1 month later...

Since it opened last year, we’ve been meaning to dine at Cinghiale, Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman’s latest well-reviewed restaurant between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point. This week is Restaurant Week in Baltimore so $30.09 sounded pretty good for three courses at dinner. We sat in the bar area; it is a huge space, and it is way too loud – we had to shout at one another in order to communicate. The wait staff was very friendly, the bread and olive oil arrived promptly along with water and menus and an impressive wine list. The drill is that they pour the first sip in a third glass on a silver platter whether it’s a $300 or $19 one – a bit pretentious and reminiscent of the excesses at Ducasse’s Essex House with knives, pens and stools for ladies purses. We started with both firsts: a terrific chickpea soup with chilies which was unfortunately marred by croutons that may have been “grilled”, but were extremely soggy from premature soaking in said soup; the arugula salad was terrific too, made with first class product. Then Colette had the tagliatelle with duck ragu. Initially, she said it was reminiscent of the ragu we prepared with Luigi Buitoni at the Locanda della Rocca, but the flavor was very, very different, indeed, she needed to ask for salt and pepper, which she applied liberally, to make it taste good. I was served a lukewarm pork confit with canellini beans, it needed something too – salt and pepper worked, although it didn’t fix the temperature. For dessert we split the two items on the restaurant week menu: a pistachio panna cotta that had no taste of pistachio, or now that you mention it, no taste of anything; and an olive oil cake with a boring ricotta sorbet. The bill was $83.94 before the tip. (A friend said a few weeks ago that Cinghiale served good food but was vastly over-priced; I must disagree, its price-quality ratio was horrible, but then, we’re spoiled eating elsewhere).

John Talbott

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On a different subject; does anyone have an update on the restaurant in the American Visionary Art Museum?; the website says it's still closed for a renovation.

My foodly-wise 12 yo grand-daughter and I were at the museum and the restaurant's tables were minimally set; my guess (I did not ask) is that they do catering events but little else. This is a crying shame since the space and view are so spectacular.

John Talbott

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  • 2 weeks later...
its price-quality ratio was horrible, but then, we’re spoiled eating elsewhere).

Sadly, my last visit to the Enoteca echoes this sentiment. My gummy gnocchi with lamb "ragu" was a very poor showing, as were the beet salad (bring a magnifying glass and tweezers - a fork is too big for that dish) and the calamari. The soups were standouts, and the bartender was quite helpful with pairing suggestions.

I regret we did not go to the bar at Charleston instead. There was not one single person in Charleston's serene bar as we were arriving or leaving Cinghiale. :sad:

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John - .......

Have you been to the fairly new Salt in Butcher's Hill?  I like it a lot...with the notable exception of the desserts which I've not been impressed with.  I did, however, really enjoy the braised lamb stroganoff in a porcini broth.  Very nice.  I love the space and the vibe.

Well, it took me a couple of years but I finally made it to Salt and am glad I did. I went with three academic associates who, when I pushed my duck fat fries towards them, gobbled them up shamelessly (after they'd all had arugula salads, seemingly putting me to shame with their health food vs my lack of same.) I had the crispy duck breast that was not crispy enough for me but was tasty and they were enthralled by their tuna (sushi quality, rare), monkfish ("oh boy," said he) and strip steak. The bill was $250 (incl wine and tip) for 4.

John Talbott

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Boccacio, also in Little Italy, serves excellent Northern Italian cuisine. It is the top-rated Italian restaurant according to Zagat's. It is definitely a more polished experience compared to Da Mimmo in terms of food, decor, and service. We've had excellent veal and fish/seafood dishes at the restaurant.

Indy 67

I liked Boccacio as well. So when I heard they had closed and most of the kitchen and front staff were going to move into the exBrasserie Tatin space, renamed La Famiglia, near Hopkins, gave it 2 weeks and then went. Friday night it was bursting at the seams and hasn't been reviewed or advertised yet. We thus had a wait (15 min) despite Colette's having made the reservation in person beause Comcast had screwed up their phone service. They've moved the seating back quite a bit and it's an impressively large space and maybe too much. Both Dino Zeytinoglu, the host and owner and our waiter couldn't have been nicer. I started with wonderful roasted peppers of various colors which with some salt and pepper did the trick. The mains, however, were another matter. Colette's veal piccata had a sauce that was visably gelatinous and while the veal was tender, was barely acceptable (the accompanying steamed green beans were standard). I probably shouldn't have ordered the pasta Bolognese since none will ever equal that prepared in a cooking class with Luigi Buitoni at the Locanda della Rocca in Paciano (Umbria); but even mine two weeks ago at the cavernous jazz emporium, the Cantina Bentivoglio, in Bologna, was better. In any case, both our mains were too generous and I wish they'd pay more attention to quality than quantity. With a bottle of Chianti Classico and no dessert or coffee, before tip, our bill was $76.85. Since this could be our "cook's night out" place, I do hope Dino succeeds in whipping up the kitchen and he eliminates the garish neon sign outside that just does not fit into this residential neighborhood (both the Brasserie Tatin and Jeannier’s presence was so much more subtle.) Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another new place in a familiar setting is Alizee in the Colonnade. It's owned by Joe Chen of the Moulin de Paris French Bakery in Severna Park and its cuisine is described as "French fusion" but the fusion includes southeast Asia, especially Viet Nam.

The menu is divided in three parts, small plates such as calamari, fusion sushi plates such as a tuna and salmon tartare or a spicy salmon roll, and large plates, such as strip steak and chicken with risotto. In fact those were exactly the five dishes four of us had the other night.

I thought the calamari had a most interesting marinated vegetable spin to it; the sushi OK and tartares OK; but the strip steak was really rare as I ordered it and super-generous, and its bok choy and gingered mushrooms excellent. The chicken was OK but I wouldn't order it again.

The house-made bread was with black olives; moist and delicious. One lemon tart as dessert was enjoyed by all.

The bill was $146 for four, before tip but with two bottles of wine.

I will be back.

John Talbott

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The Dogwood Deli which is not a Deli, in Hampden (taxi) is not as convenient by light rail but allows conversation.  And the Dogwood is committed to using local produce/etc. (printed on the back of the menu).

Of interest is that Galen Sampson now has 20 wines selling for $20; four of us ate very well there last night (I had a super bouillabaisse) and had two bottles of Negroamaro '06 La Corte "Solyss" from Puglia, something one doesn't usually encounter (I'll check the Wine Source to see if they supplied it).

Oh, and we sat at a table near the rear exit and were easily able to talk to and hear each other.

John Talbott

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last night four of us ate at Bicycle, in large part because I'd read in the Sun (Elizabeth Large) that they had a new menu and some recession-response prices. While they did have 18 wines for $18 (and the Argentenian one we had was quite nice) it's not a budget-minded place ($173.26 before tip). I thought both my dishes were fine; although the avocado bits in the avocado and tuna tartare were not ripe (as they always mysteriously are at the Cafe Atlantico in DC), the zip in the sauce made up for it. The short ribs were also good as were the veggies, appropriate for this time of year.

Of note: their new Italian place Ullswater nearby on Fort St, will be opening "soon."

John Talbott

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Carlyle Club - another reincarnation.

Kir Singh, owner of both the Ambassador + Carlyle Club and for two years The Spice Company has seized the moment after a flood at the Carlyle, renovated it and rebranded it from Lebanese to Southern Indian cuisine. He moved the murals over from The Spice Company, put in cool new lamps, re-configured the entry and completely revamped the menu (only one item is a holdover).

For the moment it's a prix fixe ($25 for 3 courses). A waiter we know told us there are plans to add small (and large) plates to the menu, a la carte, in a few weeks.

Colette started with a soft-taco-like utapan made from rice and white lentils, topped with diced tomatoes, onions and cilantro and served with three sauces. I enjoyed two small but good product crab cakes with spicy sauce apart - delicious!

Then I had a huge lamb shank with spicy sauce and seasonal veggies that I ordered spicier than usual and it was perfect; Colette had a wrapped halibut filet with a spinach/lentil puree on the side that was also very good. She thinks that the wrapping on the halibut (also sort of like a soft taco) did not add anything.

They had only one Indian dessert, a cream on a creamy cake and Colette had 1 scoop of very frozen mango ice cream.

With a bottle of cabernet and tip, we still exited for under $100. A definate keeper.

PS Colette adds that one can talk and hear easily here, there being no intrusive loud music.

John Talbott

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We'll be in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area in mid-June. We've got three evenings and would like to dine at some nearby restaurants.

I see that the BALTIMORE INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE has a restaurant. Any reviews?

We're interested in high-end specifically, but would welcome all recommendations.

Edited by vogelap (log)

-drew

www.drewvogel.com

"Now I'll tell you what, there's never been a baby born, at least never one come into the Firehouse, who won't stop fussing if you stick a cherry in its face." -- Jack McDavid, Jack's Firehouse restaurant

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Where's a decdent diner in that town? Must be open by 7AM Sundays and be located withing 1.5 miles -- either direction -- of where the 95 tunnel ENTERS on the south side.

This means not Broadway Diner.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Drew-

For three evenings in the city, I definitely recommend Woodberry Kitchen and Corks.

Baltimore is an interesting and quirky city when it comes to dining. The most formal of the restaurants in the city has to be Charleston but I haven't been there in years so I can't offer any up-to-date commentary. Cinghiale seems promising but I haven't been there since the original chef departed some time ago. For a more conservative approach to cuisine, and a drive out to the county, people seem to like The Oregon Grille.

As for myself, I prefer places in Baltimore that are less formal and more "down home" in nature. I save the formal dining experiences for when I travel to places like Alinea and per se.

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We'll be in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area in mid-June. We've got three evenings and would like to dine at some nearby restaurants.

I agree on Woodbury except on a busy night when the volume of voices drowns out conversation. I also had a great (and only one) meal at Salt not far from the Inner Harbor. The Black Olive is also nearby.
As for myself, I prefer places in Baltimore that are less formal and more "down home" in nature. 

Ono: I'd be most interested in your favorites in this category. Thanks John

John Talbott

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  • 1 month later...

We're staying at the Marriott on Aliceanna...

Thanks for the comments on Woodbury, Corks, Salt, and Black Olive. I'll check them out. I've also been told that Paper Moon was good for breakfast and that Pazo was not-to-be-missed.

My wife is interested in a lot of fresh seafood (she wants buckets of the stuff dumped on the table and eaten with the hands), so suggestions in that direction are also appreciated.

Any other insights?

-drew

www.drewvogel.com

"Now I'll tell you what, there's never been a baby born, at least never one come into the Firehouse, who won't stop fussing if you stick a cherry in its face." -- Jack McDavid, Jack's Firehouse restaurant

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Update on the Dogwood and Alizee

The Dogwood remains an absolutely splendid place with innovative cooking and exemplary service. Visitors to this topic often stay in Inner Harbor hotels and justifiably are reluctant to venture far afield (even though it’s only a 20 minute cab ride) but now that Galen and Bridget Sampson have opened a Mini-Dogwood at the Women’s Industrial Exchange at 333 North Charles Street, (410) 685-4388, their food is closer by a long shot. It’s only open to the public for lunch but they’ll do private dinners. In any case, our meal, with Christian Delutis at the piano, at the main Dogwood started with a terrific house salad and gravlax with a fried zucchini blossom stuffed with salmon mousse (thus giving two very different salmon tastes) and pickled onions. Then Colette had 3 delicious fried scallops with chorizo, pineapple and spicy grits and I the sweetbreads with pickled ramps and a big chunk of pork scrapple. Colette couldn’t stop herself from ordering a fine lemon tart, whose pastry was the only blemish in an otherwise great meal. With a bottle of $20 wine and no coffee, the bill before tip was $78.44.

As for Alizee, we went back with two friends this weekend and were less impressed than before. We started with a “simple” salad that Colette thought was poorly-dressed but I thought was OK except that it was large enough for all four of us; one of our crew had the calamari which were fine by me too. The fushi (fusion-sushi) dishes were also much too much, although both the banana lobster shrimp and spicy salmon and eel rolls were good. In addition, for mains, we had one soft shell crab and a rockfish, the latter Colette was annoyed about since in these days of daily printed menus, it along with the other specials, were not written down and our waiter did not reveal the prices of the specials. Our bill for two was $85.06 before tip. We’ll go back but for sure we’ll share almost every dish.

John Talbott

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  • 3 weeks later...

Had a great meal at Dogwood on Friday, July 3rd.

(by the way, the Visionary Museum is amazing)

We had two appetizers each.

He had: Crab stuffed baked oysters, with fennel, spinach, parmesan, pernod mustard cream - $15.

They were so great. And yet, so full of shells, not only from the oysters but from the crab.

Taste and presentation were perfect, however.

Also the Slow braised beef short ribs with ricotta pea ravioli. Good, but the peas were so undercooked. We like al dente, but this was almost raw, not fitting with the ravioli. $14.

I had a special clam chowder, only about a 1/4" of soup (plenty) with bits of fresh tasting seafood, including lobster bits that didn't taste frozen at all (rare nowdays). Topped with two small brownish clams and a huge long chunk of fried pork belly. OMG. Outrageous. I didn't need anything else. $13. Then I had sea Scallops from Cape May with house made (non spicy) chorizo, a piece of carmelized pineapple and spicy grits $13. Thank god that one can take things home in this country! It was great yesterday for lunch.

The bread was homemade irish soda bread with good butter with salt on top. The Baltimore water was so bad we ordered a bottle of Italian sparkling, which we really don't do much lately. $5.

We didn't have dessert.

(two days at Pitango gelato was enough!)

A bottle of Gascony/Chenin/Chard. Total was $90 before tip.

We spoke at length with the Chef-Christian, the Maitre'd, and our waitress. They try for sustainable food, and list the local farmer's on their menu that they buy from. They also have a program with Kitchen for Change, which works with hospitality with those recovering from addiction, homelessness and incarceration.

Great time.

Philly Francophiles

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john-

I enjoy places like Woodberry, Dogwood, Fiesta Mexicana, Grace Garden and the old Chicken Box in Cross Street Market. I've been to a number of the "fancy" high-end restaurants, like L'Arpege, Alinea and per se, but I've always been a fan of the plain kind of places.

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When I was in Baltimore with a coworker early June we had dinner at Bicycle Bistro. We did their dinner "two seater dinner for 2 for $75.) It includes 3 courses per person and an $18 bottle of wine. http://www.bicyclebistro.com The only thing they don't say on the website is that the whole menu is not included (beside the seafood trio) On their menu they show a limited number of choices for the prix fix dinner. I was able to add the tuna and avocado for a couple of $$ extra. My coworker and I enjoyed dinner there.

The other meal I really enjoyed was breakfast at Miss Shirley's Cafe. Yum! I had "Get Your Grits On" for $16.99 -- pricey for breakfast but so worth it. It consisted of Jumbo Blackened Shrimp (3) on Fried Green Tomatoes, Savory Grits with Bacon & Roasted Corn Emulsion.

I would go back there in a minute. :wub:

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I'll be in town from Thursday to Sunday for a convention, and I want to get some good steamed crabs. Obrycki's and L.P. Steamers came up but Obrycki's had some posts about bad service and crabs that were just okay. Is there any truth to this? Or is LP Steamers just better?

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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We went to Obrycki's over 4 July weekend also, actually on Friday, July 3rd.

The service was okay, but I think they were "in the weeds". She was pleasant though.

This was about 2:30/3:00, so you'd think they would have been caught up from the lunch rush.

Crabs were just okay. I did like their spice. It was actually spicy, not too lame.

My other half had a soft crab sandwich that was okay.

Fries were pretty good.

Philly Francophiles

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  • 3 weeks later...

As someone said on the chowhound boards -- the only crab place that I have never EVER read anything bad about is Mr Bills Terrace Inn. Always heard good things.

Someone mentioned Bicycle which is now (as of 2 weeks ago) closed.

Rico

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  • 4 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Faidley's hours?

I'm trying to slip in a visit to Faidley's before I have to head down to DC and am wondering if they serve their entire menu (especially the crab cakes) from open to close. Their website says they open at 9am - Can I get crab cakes for breakfast?

Edited by dinger (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Looking for some midrange restaurants for dinner in downtown Baltimore. I'll be staying at the Hotel Monaco (I believe it's the former B & O building) at 2 North Charles St. Probably be eating w/2-4 other people--this will be the evening we get to choose where & what we eat--so people are pretty happy if we can find a restaurant w/food all of us enjoy. I live in an area w/lots of seafood so I'm not interested in a restaurant specializing in seafood. Asian, or Italian, Indian, (probably many "ethnic" dishes), as is good "American" cooking, although not a steakhouse, barbecue, or burger place (no matter how good the burgers are). Emphasis on local and in season is fine, but not a necessity.

Cost probably midrange. I've read the thread & am wondering how much of the information is current and would be interested in any suggestions offered for dinner. It'd be great if we could walk to the restaurant but a short cab ride, if the food's good, is not a problem.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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