June 18, 2013

Baltimore Restaurant Scene Update - Bob Ganoosh Awakes from Hybernation!

June 18, 2013 3
Greetings Bob Ganoosh nation!  After many-a-fortnight of internet slumber, Team Bob Ganoosh is back to keep you informed of the best places to eat, drink, and be merry in and around Baltimore!

Much has happened since our last restaurant review: the Orioles participated in their first postseason in 15 years; the Ravens took home their second Lombardi Trophy; and Bob Ganoosh's CEO tied the knot with his better half.  But most importantly, the Baltimore area restaurant scene has continued to grow and mature.

So, let's kick the summer off right with a digest of some of the many Baltimore restuarant happenings from the past year!

Hampden Restaurant Renaissance Excellerates

We have touched upon Hampden's growth as a restaurant destination over the past few years.  While Hampden's restaurant scene has for years been fun and eclectic, the opening of the 13.5% Wine Bar marked the symbolic beginning of Hampden's restaurant revolution.  To follow would be the opening of Alchemy, Luigi's Deli, Daniela's, and "big" Grano - and we couldn't help but notice that Hampden was becoming a bit more mature and a bit more, well, Italian.

The Food Market in Hampden
Well, the Restaurant Renaissance continued throughout the past year with a handful of noteable restaurant openings.  Among these openings is one of this author's favorite restaurants, The Food Market.  Opened by chef Chad Gauss - formerly of City Cafe - in the former Hampden Food Market grocery store building, this eatery offers upscale and creative renditions of classic blue collar dishes.  The restaurant space is unique and full of character, as is the coctail menu.  And, they are the only game in town (that I am aware of) to offer brunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

Continuing the Italian uprising of Hampden, Birroteca, located on Clipper Road in the space of the former Kolper's Restaurant, focuses on craft beers and artisanal pizzas.  Birroteca has been a hit since day 1 - reservations can be challenging to get, and are usually a necessity - and has finally breathed some life into a location that has long struggled to draw a restaurant crowd.  And Paulie Gee's Pizza, the first satellite branch of the famous Brooklyn, NY pizzaria, is expected to open any day in the old Republican Club building on Chestnut Avenue.  Paulie Gee's will be run in partnership with local pizza enthusiast PizzaBlogger, and will use wood burner ovens that are en route from Naples, Italy as we speak.

And then, the recent renovation and rebranding of David's Diner into David's 1st and 10 Sports Bar has afforded Hampden with a niche it previously lacked: a good ol' sports bar, a place where you can watch not only the O's beat up on Boston, but also the USA soccer team beat up on Brazil!  The new space is twice the size, full of new fixtures and big TVs, and just the right balance of old-school Hampden, hipster Hampden, and normalcy.  The menu is concise, but well done.

Details are starting to unfold about: a potential Belgian brasserie; a concept by the owners of the Wine Market Bistro (read on); and something to fill the restaurant space in the newly-revitalized Mill No. 1.  We're keeping our eye out for more details on those.

Columbia Indy Restaurant Scene Improves

Baltimore's younger sister has had a few exciting additions to its restaurant community as well.  With Bob Ganoosh's new satellite branch in the Owen Brown village of Columbia, we couldn't help but notice some positive change in the restaurant scene there.  Maryland's second largest city has always more than enough chain restaurants and fast food, but it's selection of unique independent restaurants always left something to be desired.  Not any more!

About a year and half ago, we discovered Frisco Taphouse.  Frisco is located in a small, unassuming strip of businesses off of Dobbins Road, but don't be fooled by the exterior.  Inside you will discover a fun, bright space with a surprisingly large seating capacity, and a massive TV screen displaying the extensive draught list of the day.  And the food menu is fun - definitely try the corn dogs.

Right up the road, the folks from the Pratt Street Ale House opened their Columbia branch, known as The Ale House - Columbia.  While the Pratt Street location represents its home city well, in it's old-time rowhouse venue, the new Columbia spot represents its town equally well, with a modern spaceous interior and valet parking. And they may arguably have the best burger in Howard County.

And another Baltimore staple will be opening a Columbia branch soon, in some form.  The Foreman-Wolf Group, proprietors of well-know restaurants such as The Charleston and Petit Louis, have announced their intention to open a restaurant in downtown Columbia this year.

We also found a new fun joint, in a place you'd least expect it.  But stay tuned, as we plan a full review soon!

Loved Ones Lost

While many great new restaurants have opened this year, we are sad to report that some well-known and well-liked establishments had to shut their doors.  Let's take a moment to remember some of those whom we've lost during the past year.

The Dogwood:  A Hampden favorite, and perhaps the first farm-to-table restaurant in town, the Dogwood's great food and resonable prices (all things considered) weren't enough to keep the doors open.  The owners closed earlier this year, citing several bad weeks of business.  A new restauranteur is already eyeballing the site (read on).

The Chameleon Cafe:  The Chameleon, a Lauraville staple and one of the sparks behind the Hamilton/Lauraville restaurant revival, closed under that name and format.  Don't fret though, the restaurant was reopened shortly later with a new name and menu (keep reading).

S'ghetti Eddie's:  In one of the most bizarre restaurant closings this author has ever encountered, the owner of S'ghetti Eddie's in Roland Park annouced the restaurant's closure, solely for the purpose of creating additional parking for sister restaurant Miss Shirley's.  S'ghetti Eddie's was a popular spot for Loyola students to grab a hoagie or a slice of pizza.  For us locals, they also served as an excellent delivery option if we didn't want pizza or Chinese food.

New Restaurants with Big Shoes to Fill

The good news is, a handful of shuttered restaurants have been (or will be) re-opened, either as an entirely new concept with a new owner, or as a derivation of its former self.  Here are some examples:

The ChesapeakeThe original Chesapeake Restaurant, on the corner of Charles and Lanvale Streets, was the place to be on a Friday night from the 1930s until the 1970s.  During the decade to follow, though, the restaurant suffered, and closed it's doors permanently in the 1980s.  After significant efforts from the City and several restauranteurs, the Chesepeake has reopened!  While the new restaurant is in no way attempting to be the same as its predacessor, the new menu gives a few nods to the original joint all of Baltimore loved.

UPDATE: Le Garage in May 2016
Restaurant TBA in the Dogwood SpaceOnly months after The Dogwood closed its doors for good, owners of the Wine Market Bistro in Locust Point are already planning a new concept for the space.  While plans are still in very initial stages, it appears that the new restaurant will be upscale in nature.  Update: Le Garage Beer Bar & Frites opened in this space, and is one of my favorite new spots in Hampden to get a good cocktail.  Le Garage offers "approachable French cuisine including savory frites," as the restaurant's website describes.  A photo of this new restaurant has been added to this post.

Maggie's FarmLocated in the former Chameleon Cafe space, Maggie's Farm opened just days after its predecessor closed.  The restaurant has a farm-to-table focus and has won the love of Lauraville restaurant patrons.

Spike Gjerde VenturesSpike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen is planning to open a small diner in the former Crush space at Belvedere Square, as well as move his canning/preserving operations to that location.  Mr. Gjerde is also planning to open a butcher shop in a building to-be-renovated in Remington, and still plans to convert a vacant property in Hampden (corner of Falls Road and 38th Street) into a new local eatery  If Mr. Gjerde's Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee are any indication, these shops will significantly augment the Baltimore food scene.

Stay Tuned!

Team Bob Ganoosh will be getting off of our butts and doing reviews again soon!  So stay tuned for more news and gossip around the Baltimore restaurant scene!

April 24, 2012

Luigi's Deli and Market - Great Cold Cuts in Hampden!

April 24, 2012 0

Just a few weeks ago we reported that Hampden is surprisingly becoming a major player in the pursuit of delicious authentic Italian food in Baltimore.  It has been less than a year since Daniela’s opened on The Avenue, joining both locations of Grano; and now, we’re announcing another addition to Hamden’s Italian scene – Luigi’s Italian Deli and Market.

Luigi’s, which opened this week in the former location of Lovely Yarns, is a modest-sized Italian market offering deli meats, sandwiches, and various Italian goods.  And the owners informed us on our visit this past Saturday, that they will have more coming, including an expresso machine.  For those of us enjoying one of their sandwiches, they have a few tables in the front of the shop, a few tables on the front porch, and weather permitting, a few tables on the back porch.  And – the piece de resistance – the back porch back

up to the Wine Source, so one can easily grab a bottle of wine at the Wine Source and bring it in the back door to eat with your sandwich.

We ordered an Italian Cold Cut ($8) and the Isabella (also $8).  The Italian Cold Cut included salami, capicolla, prosciutto, mortadello, and provolone, and was seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, hot peppers, and some of the other basic fixins.  The Isabella was stuffed with prosciutto, soppressata, coppa, asiago cheese, roasted red peppers, and an olive spread.  Both sandwiches were generously stuffed and served on a soft Italian role.  All of the meats were flavorful, fresh, and well portioned.  The olive spread was delicious, and the red peppers on the Isabella were very tasty, though if you don’t like red peppers I’d suggest telling them to hold the peppers, as they strongly affect the flavor.  Both plates also came with a side of homemade pasta salad, which was pretty tasty, and a nice touch.

Overall, we were extremely impressed with the sandwiches, especially since they are so reasonably priced and well portioned.  We also got some cold cuts to take home, which were comparable in price to our local grocery store, and a lot tastier.

And most importantly – the owners are extremely friendly and welcoming.  And a cool trivia fact: the vigilantecross-walk painter works there too!

Luigi’s is a very good, and well overdue, addition to Hampden food scene.  I have a feeling I will be giving them a lot of my money! 

Luigi’s Italian Market and Deli
846 West 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211

5-Star Rating
Food: ****
Service: N/A
Ambiance: ****
Price: $$ ($10-20)
Luigi's Italian Deli on Urbanspoon

March 1, 2012

Daniela's - Authentic Italian in Hampden

March 1, 2012 0
---UPDATE!  5/22/2016: Daniela has expanded and moved to 822-824 W. 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211 (down the street from the original location) ---

When one thinks of the culinary aspects of Hampden, a wide array of things come to mind: cheap burritos, vegan food, or maybe an unlikeable restaurateur who makes an fool out of herself on national television. But historically, nobody really thought about authentic Italian food. That started to change a few years ago when Grano opened its two locations in the heart of the neighborhood, but one of the locations stuck to pasta while the other kept it pretty high-end.

But now, Hampdenites have a wider variety of authentic Italian food available to them, and best of all, it’s pretty cheap! This is thanks to the 2011 opening of Daniela’s Pasta & Pastries, located on The Avenue.

In case you don’t know, Daniela herself had already built up a reputation in town for being a great pasta maker. She has made pasta for Grano and has acted as a guest chef at Sotto Sopra.

We made our first visit last week, looking for a quick carry-out dinner after an exhausting day.

The restaurant is very small, located in a former eyeglass shop, and is based mainly on a carry-out format. However there are a few small tables inside, and the gentleman working the counter informed us that when the weather warms up they are hoping to add some outdoor seating.

Everything is made fresh daily, and is presented in a small display counter. And everything looks delicious. We grabbed an order of Lasagna Bolognaise and an order of the culingionis. And for just $3 more they threw in a house salad and homemade garlic bruchetta. The lasagna we chose was conceptually similar to the lasagna we Americans are used to, with cheese, meat and a red sauce. However there were 5 or 6 different types of lasagna available that particular night. It was apparent that the noodles were homemade, as they were tender and thick. The meat, sauce, and cheese were all delicious, complementing each other well but none individually stealing the show. Undeniably the best lasagna I’ve experienced. The culingionis, which were essentially potato ravioli (or for my Polish readers, like Italian pierogi), were exceptional. Again, it was apparent that the pasta was hand made that day. The pastas are served in a light sauce seasoned with mint, saffron, and basil.

The portions were not overwhelming, but were generous.

Most importantly, we took home two banana chocolate turnovers for dessert, which were perhaps the highlight of the meal! The flakey pastry was mild but tasty, very fresh, and the rich chocolate and fresh bananas were a perfect match for one another. I would frown upon anyone leaving Daniela’s without one of these in hand.

All in all, an excellent addition to the Hampden dining scene. We’re sorry we didn’t try it out sooner!

Note: they are also BYOB

Daniela’s Pasta and Pastries
900 W 36th St Ave  (SEE UPDATE ABOVE)
Baltimore, MD 21211

5-Star Rating
Food: *****
Service: N/A
Ambiance: ***
Price: $$ ($10-20)

Daniela's Pasta & Pastries on Urbanspoon

Sip and Bite - The Restaurant That Requires Drunk Goggles

The front entrance.
On a recent Sunday morning a small group of four of us took a trip down to the Sip and Bite, a small generations-old diner on the edge of Canton. Our group was small because we knew the small joint wouldn’t have room for much more.

The Sip and Bite has served Fells Pointers and Cantonites for decades. In particular, during the last decade it has acted as a cheap place to sober up after a night of ruckus on the Canton square or on Thames Street.

This Sunday morning, none of us were drunk, nor were any of us hung over, so we realized that we would not be judging the joint within its usual context. But, we thought we’d give it a try anyway!

The recent exterior renovations of the restaurant, that included a new doorway that appeared to be partially completed, were promising. However once we got inside we noted that it was the same old Sip and Bite. We were seated promptly in a very tight booth toward the right. It was a bit of a challenge getting in and out of the booth, but otherwise the accommodations were fine. Althogh as the meal continued, we discovered that their door slammed shut each time it was opened, causing our whole booth to shake, which was a little bit annoying.

Our waitress was an old-school Baltimore woman, pretty rough around the edges, which I personally consider to be an amenity in this case as it added some of that old-time character that seems to go with the place. Her knowledge of the menu wasn’t what it could have been, but we’ll let her slide on that.

The Gyro, in progress.
Among the items we ordered were the crab cake sandwich, a cheesesteak, a lamb gyro, and a western omelet. The crab cakes were pretty good – they weren’t huge or anything, but they were full of crab meat and had pretty good flavor. Some claim these to be the best crab cakes in Baltimore, and while I definitely wouldn’t go that far, we certainly didn’t have any objections. Both the gyro and the cheesesteak were a bit dry. They weren’t terrible but they didn’t knock our socks off. We can forgive them on the cheesesteaks because, let’s face it, if you want a good cheesesteak you’re in the wrong city; but the gyro, we expected more from. The sauce was ok, but let’s just say that Rob Schneider’s old SNL skit (“you lika da juice?”) was not filmed at the Sip and Bite. The western omelet was decent, but it’s also pretty hard to screw up a western omelet.

The Crabcake sandwich.
All in all – the food was pretty much - “meh…” Nothing was absolutely terrible, but nothing knocked our socks off, either. The entire experience was completely mediocre.

There are rumors flying that Guy Fieri visited the Sip and Bite, and that they will be featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives this spring. Let’s just hope that Guy had a few shots at the Waterfront Hotel before he walked over there. Because it is apparent to us that this place is much more valuable as a sobering-up joint, than a regular dinner spot.

Sip and Bite
2200 Boston Street
Baltimore, MD 21224

5-Star Rating
Food: **1/2
Service: **
Ambiance: *1/2
Price: $ ($5-15)

Sip and Bite on Urbanspoon

November 12, 2011

Alchemy: It's Magic in Your Mouth

November 12, 2011 2

On a recent Thursday evening both my wife and I were in the mood for a good meal, but neither of us felt like preparing it.  So we took a trip down the road to check out one of Hampden’s new additions, Alchemy Modern American Eatery.  The word of mouth reviews we had received up to that point were mostly – but not entirely – positive, so we went in with an open mind and an empty stomach.

We arrived around 6:30 in the evening, and were seated almost immediately.  The interior of the small rowhouse restaurant looked like a cross between a swanky contemporary restaurant and a small European café, with the downstairs containing a few tables and a nice sitting area, and the upstairs containing a very small bar and a bunch of tables squeezed in.  We were seated upstairs, next to the stair well.  The dining room, as you could probably tell, was a little bit cramped, but I think the restaurateurs did the best they could given the small size of the building.

In addition to the regular menu, that evening the chef was offering a special of roasted duck with chocolate chili sauce, served with coconut rice and ginger carrot puree.  While our instincts as restaurant reviewers were telling us to select 2 different entrees off of the menu, to allow us to prepare a more thorough review, we both couldn’t resist ordering the aforementioned duck special.  We also ordered an artisan grilled baby pear salad and a Caesar salad. 

The salads came out after a few minutes of ordering.  The pears in the baby pear salad were ripe and sweet, but managed not to overpower the rest of the flavors in the salad.  The Caesar salad was good, especially the baked cheese wafer served on the side.  However, the pieces of anchovy were  a little bigger than I am used to (there was nearly a whole anchovy in my salad), which wasn’t a deal breaker for me but could be for someone who wouldn’t like the look of that.

Not too much later, our duck entrees were served.  The duck was sliced and served around the edge of the plate, while the coconut rice was served as a cake in the middle of the plate, with the carrot puree next to it.  The entire plate was drizzled with the chocolate chili sauce.  The chocolate flavor was stronger than the chili flavor, and was very sweet and flavorful.  We found it to be a great complement to the duck’s flavor; however, I thought that the carrot puree complemented the duck even better.  So for those that don’t care for excessive sweetness, I would recommend rubbing the duck in the carrot, and not into more of the chocolate sauce.

The duck dishes were served with a side of steamed vegetables.  We aren’t sure what they were seasoned with, but the seasoning was a bit strong, giving the veggies more of a “kick” than the chocolate chili sauce.

While we recognize that this option isn’t on the regular menu, our research shows that this is a pretty common special, so there is a good chance that Alchemy will be serving it next time you are there.

The service – which was one of the common complaints we had heard from friends when the restaurant first opened – was pretty good that particular night.  I suppose they have had a chance to work out all the kinks, as our drinks remained full and our meals were served in a reasonable amount of time.

Overall, we had a very enjoyable evening at Alchemy.  As mentioned previously, the restaurant is very small, so reservations are definitely recommended, especially for parties for more than four.

So make a visit to Alchemy and let them work their magic for you!

Alchemy: Modern American Eatery
1011 West 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211


5-Star Rating
Food: ****
Service: ***1/2
Ambiance: ****
Price: $$$ ($25-30)

Alchemy Modern American Eatery on Urbanspoon

November 8, 2011

Baltimore: The New Home of the Food Network

November 8, 2011 0
No, the Food Network has not moved its corporate headquarters to Baltimore.

But they might as well, at least for the next few weeks.

Shawn at Cafe Hon in 2006.
After all, following a week or two of speculation over his visit to Cafe Hon for his Kitchen Nightmares show, well known TV chef Gordon Ramsay is completing his visit to Baltimore.  This visit was highlighted by yesterday's announcement that Denise Whiting has given back her trademark on the word "hon", which, as her annoucements usually do, has yielded mixed responses from the general public.

Plus, it appears that Diner's, Drive-ins, and Dives is going to be spending some time in the Baltimore metro area, visiting places such as the Sipe & Bite in Canton.  We can only hope that Guy Fieri will get the true Sip & Bite experience by bar-hopping his way across Fells Point first.  It is also being rumored that the show was spotted filming in front of Joe Squared in Station North.

Stay tuned for updates on the Food Network's visit to the Land of Pleasant Living (and eating)!

August 29, 2011

Looking Back - Baltimore Restaurant Week Summer 2011

August 29, 2011 2
Now that this summer's Baltimore Restaurant Week (as well as Baltimore County Restaurant Week) is over, we would like to know what experiences our readers had? Did you find a cool new place? Did anywhere dissapoint? Let us know what you think!

Leave us a comment below, comment on our Facebook page, or email us at BobGanooshReviews@gmail.com. If you give us permission, we will post your comments!

August 4, 2011

Chap's Pit Beef - Duff Goldman was right!

August 4, 2011 1
 One simmering-hot Tuesday evening a couple of weeks ago, we had a hankering for some pit beef and barbeque. And while our gut instinct usually directs us up York Road to Andy Nelson’s, we decided that we should mix it up a little and see how the other local favorite compares. And so we made the hike across town to Chap’s Pit Beef.

Located off of Pulaski Highway on the east edge of the city, Chap’s physical environment offers a unique contrast to that of its Cockeysville competitor. The joint operates out a small shack-like building located in the parking lot of a gentleman’s club, and across the street from an adult video store. Perhaps its modest digs is how it can keep its prices so low – but we’ll get to that in a bit.

When we arrived at about 6:00 p.m. we were pleasantly surprised to find a short line to order, and plenty of indoor seating. Don’t get me wrong, the dining area is not huge; but it was more than adequate at the time of our visit. The one thing that caught us off guard was the menu – there was a lot more on it than we were expecting! I was planning on getting the sandwich that Duff Goldman and Guy Fieri ate on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives – the one with several types of meat on it – but when we reviewed the menu it became apparent that there were a whole bunch of sandwiches with several types of meat on them. Pretty much, anything you dream up with their ingredients, they had.

As a result of my aforementioned confusion, I went with a rare pit beef sandwich, at the low price of $6.25. We also ordered a medium pit beef sandwich, and a barbeque pork sandwich ($6.70). The beef sandwiches were stuffed with generous portions of beef on a kaiser roll. The beef was very juice and was cooked to perfect doneness for both sandwiches. The barbeque pork sandwich involved pieces of pulled pork simmered in their house barbeque sauce and generously portioned within the kaiser roll. The pork was very tender, and the sauce was very sweet and well received by the group. The most significant way this sandwich differed from the famous Andy Nelson’s version, is that the sauce was already cooked into the meat. While this seems to be, based on my experience, the way barbeque is usually prepared in the south, Andy Nelson’s allows one to dress it with the sauce of his or her choosing, allowing for ultimate customization. So, which of the restaurant’s sandwich one would enjoy more is completely dependent on how much decision-making one feels like making at the time.

To supplement our sandwiches, we got large sides of macaroni and cheese ($1.75), baked beans ($2.55), and cheese fries ($4.50). The cheese fries were delicious, though there was nothing profound about them. Just a generous portion of fresh cut fries topped with a whole lot of cheese sauce. The macaroni and cheese was very cheesy, and was enjoyed by all. The most unique side was the baked beans, which were sweet and had a nice background flavor of the green peppers that were cooked into them.

Though there is no table service at Chap’s, we found the staff behind the counter to be friendly, hospitable, and quick. This was exceptionally noteable given the establishment’s low prices, and, well, the more rugged nature of this particular business district.

Overall, we really enjoyed our experience at Chap’s. Admittedly, being such strong fans of Andy Nelson’s, we were a bit skeptical; but we were proven wrong. We definitely plan to go back. On the other hand, Shawn had a similar meal at chain restaurant Famous Dave’s a few days prior, and he said after this meal, he definitely won’t go back there!

Chap’s Pit Beef
5801 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21205

5-Star Rating
Food: ****
Service: ****
Ambiance: **
Price: $ ($5-10)

Chaps Pit Beef on Urbanspoon

August 1, 2011

WTF happened to the WTF

August 1, 2011 0
About a month ago my wife and I were slipped into one of our go-to watering holes, The Waterfront Hotel to grab a drink and a bite to eat. I was craving the buffalo chicken wrap; she was craving their homemade potato chips. To our surprise, we weren’t able to order either.

Apparently, WTF had changed owners recently, and the new proprietor(s) wished to shake things up a bit, by bringing in an almost entirely new staff, significantly modifying the interior, and rolling out a totally new menu. The old Waterfront Hotel that my friends and I had discovered within weeks of our 21st birthdays, and been in love with ever since, was no more.

After a month or so of grieving, Team Bob Ganoosh decided pay a visit to the new WTF with an open mind and a healthy appetite.

The menu required us to study it in great detail, as none of the traditional items – including those kettle chips or the buffalo chicken wrap – were offered. The new menu has a Tex-Mex meets Low Country theme, and included items such as Frogmore stew, an assortment of tacos, the Cuban sandwich. Pork belly also held a significant presence on the menu.

As an appetizer we ordered the crab queso fundito, which essentially was a traditional Mexican queso dip with crab meat inside. As far as queso dips are concerned, this was one of the better ones we have had. Of course, adding crab meat to a dish never hurts. However, the price point of $14 makes it a bit more expensive than the average nacho dip, and pricier than I prefer for an appetizer.

For our entrees, we ordered the WTF burger, a beef burger topped with mango barbeque pork belly and jalapeño flavored bacon; the pork belly Cuban, a traditional Cuban sandwich; and the black bean burger.

The WTF burger included a healthy portion of beef cooked to perfect doneness – we ordered it rare, and got exactly what we ordered. I have never really seen a burger from a restaurant cooked rare or medium rare – they are usually over-done for safety reasons – but these guys got it right. The pork belly was extremely flavorful and very tender.

The pork belly Cuban is dish in which the pork belly really shines, though. The well-stuffed sandwich is filled with ham, pork belly, and variety of fixins, and was proclaimed by our waiter to be the “best thing on the menu, hands down”. And frankly I must agree, which really speaks to the quality of this sandwich, as I am generally not a fan of pork, at all.

The black bean burger was obviously made in house from freshly-ground black beans and hand formed. The quality of the burger patty was excellent, though we found the spices to be a little bit overwhelming, and the guacamole to be a little bit too plentiful. For someone who likes a bite to their bean burger, this would be perfect; but for us, it was a little bit overpowering.

All in all, we really did enjoy the food we had; however, we are still having a hard time thinking of WTF as a Tex-Mex joint. We also didn’t care for the new look on the first floor, which much more industrial in nature. They also installed high-end sound equipment for live entertainment, which may make the place more marketable as a music venue, but also takes away the “small dark bar where the bartender knows your name and there’s a guy playing the guitar in the corner” quality that we have loved for so long.

And while the service was good, we miss the handful of folks who have worked there for a few years now.

In the end, the only things that have remained the same about this place are the name and the shell of the building (and I guess, the upper floors). And while we definitely do not dislike the new WTF or discourage anyone from going there, it will never be the same as the bar we stumbled into six years ago. RIP, WTF.

Waterfront Hotel on Urbanspoon

May 6, 2011

The Falls - The Best Sit-Down Lunch in Mount Washington

May 6, 2011 0
UPDATE:  As was reported in the North Baltimore Patch, The Falls has permanently closed.

Yesterday some coworkers took me out to lunch at The Falls in Mount Washington.  And although all of team Bob Ganoosh was not there, I thought my experience was worth mentioning here on the blog.

The restaurant was surprisingly more casual than its artistic logo and black cloth awning at the entrance imply.  The interior had more of a trendy café look (and smell), but also included a row of booths on the left hand side.  Our group, who is partial to booths, was pleased by this.

Most of us ordered burgers.  I ordered the B&B Burger, which is advertised on the menu to include “bleu cheese and balsamic marinated onions.  The burger was a respectable size, probably about one-third pound, and the meat tasted fresh.  The top of the burger was smothered with melted bleu cheese and a heaping pound of sweet caramelized onions, to the point where it became hard to pick up.  In fact, I ended up fork-and-knifing it at the end

Obviously, if you don’t like bleu cheese, I would recommend shying away from this burger.  But if you are a fan, as I am (at least in the context of a burger fixin), then this burger is a no brainer.  I ordered my burger medium rare, and it came out closer to medium or medium well, so I would advise being a little bit liberal with your doneness selection; but, it was not a deal breaker.

And the burger, which included an adequate portion of their homemade fries, was only $9 at lunchtime.  However, based on the menu posted on their website, it appears that dinner portions are a few bucks more.

We took deserts with us as a 3pm snack, which included a lemon cake, an orange cheesecake, and an Oreo pie.  While we were initially concerned whether we got our money’s worth, when we initially looked at the portions provided, we immediately conceded that they were worth every penny once we took the first bite.  Each desert was fresh, moist, and very rich, and exceeded our expectations.

It’s also worth noting that our server was friendly and the service was pretty quick.  In fact, we made it back to the office within an hour, including the 10 minute drive from the office to the restaurant.

Based on my experience, I strongly recommend The Falls as a North Baltimore lunchtime destination, particularly for anyone working in the Mount Washington/Bare Hills area.  They exceeded our expectations on all fronts.

The Falls
1604 Kelly Ave
Baltimore, MD 21209

5-Star Rating
Food: ****
Service: ****
Ambiance: ***
Price: $$ ($9-20)

The Falls on Urbanspoon

April 12, 2011

Grilled Cheese & Co. - This Ain't Your Mom's Grilled Cheese!

April 12, 2011 0
In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, we took a trip to Grilled Cheese & Co., a relatively new Catonsville sandwich shop specializing in different variations of the grilled cheese sandwich.  Since its opening in March 2010, it has been a hit in the area (its owners are already working on a second location in Eldersburg), so we wanted to see what the place was about.

The Catonsville location, and Corporate
HQ, from Harlem Avenue.
The restaurant is a small and cozy, occupying the first floor of a converted house, and has about 10 small tables plus a few chairs out front and an outdoor table alongside of the building.  Though I suspect that most of the time this is an adequate number of seats, during our visit at 1:00 PM on a Saturday, there was standing room only in the dining room.  It was too cold to eat outdoors, but even if it was warmer, those extra seats would still have not been enough.  And parking, located in the rear of the building, was proportionate to the number of tables, causing us to have to park in the adjacent neighborhood.

The menu is printed on the side wall of the dining room, in huge font, which helps when trying to decide what to order.  And the line for ordering moved quickly.  

My wife and I arrive early, so while waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, we snacked on a bowl of Cream of Broccoli Soup ($2.99 for 8 oz./$4.99 for 16 oz.) and an order of Sweet Potato Fries.  The bowl of soup was larger than expected, and was flavored with cheddar cheese and small bits of chicken.  The small pieces of chicken were nice, as they did not overpower the broccoli and cheddar flavoring.  And the fries were seasoned with black pepper, though not too strongly, resulting in a very unique and flavorful rendition of the sweet potato.  We were very pleased with both of these.
When the rest of the party arrived (and squeezed around a small 2-top table), we ordered our sandwiches.  The orders included the Crabby Melt ($7.49), filled with monterey jack cheese and crab dip; the BCT ($6.49), a more traditional grilled cheese sandwich filled with bits of bacon, cheddar cheese, and tomatoes; and the Smashed Meatball ($7.49), filled with meatballs, provolone cheese, and marinara sauce.  And of course, we got some Cream of Tomato Basil Soup ($2.99 for 8 oz./$4.99 for 16 oz.) for dunking.

The Crabby Melts were well received in our group.  The crab dip was generous, oozing out of the sides, and was not overpowered with Old Bay.  There were a few trace pieces of shell found in the crab, which is good because it shows that the crab is fresh, but is also a little bit annoying.  The BCT was quite good, and contained a pretty generous portion of chopped up bacon.  Almost too much bacon actually, but you’ll never catch me complaining about that.  It was simple enough that you almost can’t go wrong.  And the Smashed Meatball was also good, but could have used a little extra marinara sauce.  The soups were very good, but I would only recommend them to those who like basil, because the flavoring is significant.

The preparation and service was very prompt as well.  They operate using the two-window method – order at window one, pick up at window two.  But they always brought the food directly to our table, rather than making us come up and claim it.  And that was a challenging feat for the employees, because as I said, the place was crowded.

Overall, we really enjoyed our lunch at Grilled Cheese & Co.  We wouldn’t recommend it to a large party, and would recommend that you try to avoid the lunch rush, particularly on a Saturday.  But, definitely check it out!

Our only recommendation to the owners: keep an eye out on that 2nd floor, and if the current tenant ever moves out, scoop it up and expand the dining room.

Reviewed Location:

500 Edmondson Avenue
Catonsville, MD 21228
(Right off of I-695, Exit 14)

Additional Locations (some locations opened after the date of this review):

1036 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

577 Johnsville Road, Suite 1
Sykesville, MD 21784

2624 Brandermill Blvd
Gambrills, MD 21054

5-Star Rating

Food: ***1/2
Service: ****
Ambiance: **
Price: $ ($10+/-)

***Bob Ganoosh would like to thank Sal, a local restaurant-goer and friend, for the recommendation to this restaurant!***

Grilled Cheese & Co. on Urbanspoon

December 29, 2010

Update - 13.5% Wine Bar

December 29, 2010 0
We would like to give a Stephen Colbert-style "wag of the finger" to the relatively-new 13.5% Wine Bar in Hampden.  At the time of our initial review, shortly after the restaurants grand opening in July 2009, we had nothing but praise for both the food and drink.  However, while the wine selection continues to impress, the food menu has taken a turn for the worse.

I certainly would not say that the food there is bad.  Not at all.  Rather, the latest round of menu items just do not really seem to arouse our interest.  Since the restaurant's recruitment of a new chef, the menu has been inconsistent, with the eventual removal of many of our favorites, including the Mac & Cheese and all of the Paninis.

During the overly-referenced "Snowmageddon" in February, we Hampdenites passed the time and kept warm by lounging on their couches with a nice glass of wine and a grilled panini.  If we get another big storm this winter, I don't know what we'll do!  At least McCabe's will be open this year...

13.5, we plead to you, bring back the old menu!  Or at least as much of it as you can!

13.5% Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

December 28, 2010

Cadillac Ranch – Definitely Not the Cadillac of Steakhouses

December 28, 2010 2
On the day before Christmas Eve, we were drawn to our old stomping ground of Annapolis, MD
to meet up with some old friends from our high school and college years, who had recently made the venture home to celebrate the holidays.  In particular, our long-time friend John had made the hike all the way from Darwin, Australia; and our long-time friend (and regular Bob Ganoosh commenter) Adam “Barget” made the trans-continental flight from Los Angeles.  Such an important reunion required a special venue: someplace with excellent food and drinks; someplace lively but not too loud, so that we can talk and catch-up; and of course, someplace that wouldn’t break our budget.  Sadly, we chose Cadillac Ranch, which failed all of these criteria.

As we walked into the dark restaurant we were immediately struck with the question: “what is the theme of this restaurant, anyway?”  The restaurant is dimly lit, accented by neon lights and pictures of rock bands.  Hundreds of old license plates line the ceiling, and a mechanical bull is situated in the back corner.  Music was playing, but was drowned out by audio of the Pittsburgh Steelers beating up on the Carolina Panthers. Is this a Texas steakhouse?  Is this a rock-and-roll bar?  Our server didn’t know and neither did we.

As we waited for the rest of our party to arrive, we ordered two plates of Texas Wings ($9.95) – Buffalo and Barbeque style – and an order of Loaded Fries ($7.95).  The kitchen tested our patience as we waited about 30 minutes for these to arrive, but once the appetizers finally graced us with their presence, they did not disappoint.  The wings were decent, offering nothing to write home about but also nothing to complain about.  The Loaded Fries were phenomenal, covered generously with cheddar cheese and chunks of bacon – by far the best item we ordered that evening.  With the prices of these appetizers being quite reasonable given the quantity and quality, this course was undoubtedly the apex of our dining experience.

As the rest of our party started trickling into the restaurant, my end of the table nursed soft drinks while the other end tried out a few cocktails.  With steep drink prices even by Annapolis standards (Natty Boh’s were $4.50 and signature cocktails were $10.00), alcohol drinking didn’t last long.  Our server’s attention to drink refills was respectable, although her attention to her friends sitting at the nearby booth was greater.

For dinner our group ordered a variety of entrees, including several of their various burgers ($8.95-9.95), the Smokehouse Chicken sandwich ($9.95), and the Philly Cheesesteak ($10.95).  Nobody ordered a steak because, frankly, we already had a feeling that the food would not be worth the price (steaks are $19.95-28.95).  The burgers were somewhat boring, and more well-done than ordered – Shawn had to send his back (see Editor’s Note below).  The Smokehouse Chicken had minimal flavor and was quite dry.  And the Philly Cheesesteak was also surprisingly bland and dry.  At the end of this course, we each had to come to terms with the fact that we would soon be parting with ten bucks that could have been much more wisely spent.

We initially planned to coerce girls into riding the mechanical bull.  But given the mediocre dinner, confusing atmosphere, and the lack of affordable adult beverages provided by Cadillac Ranch, our game plan was modified as follows: pay the bill and move down the street to Gordon Biersch Brewery, ASAP!  However, our plan was delayed.  Obtaining our server’s attention in order to procure the bill took about 15 minutes, and then waiting to give it back to her took another ten.  It seemed as if the server knew that she no longer needed to earn her commission, having already charged our large party of 13 an 18% gratuity on the bill.

As we ventured down the street, fighting off the cold winds and contemplating the Australian exchange rate, we were just happy to be moving on.  Gladly, like our favorite holiday stories told this time of year, this story too has a happy ending.  We ended the night by drinking several delicious microbrews and cocktails – at Gordon Biersch!

Editor’s Note:  This visit was Shawn’s 2nd visit to this Cadillac Ranch location, and the 2nd time that he had to send his burger back for being more well-done than her ordered.  It should also be noted that the host was reasonably accommodating when we called-ahead for a table one-hour early; however, they would not accept reservations.

Cadillac Ranch
Various Locations including:

1906 Towne Centre Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 21401

5-Star Rating
Food: *1/2
Service: **1/2
Ambiance: **
Price: $$ - $$$ ($9-30)

September 21, 2010

Hamilton Tavern - Small Bar, Big Burgers

September 21, 2010 1
I plan to do a full write up in the near future, but not yet as I haven't sampled enough of the menu to give a fair write up.  However, I will let everyone know that Megan and I went to the Hamilton Tavern yesterday evening to grab a quick burger, and we unanimously agreed that it was among the best burgers we have ever consumed. 

Very thick, perfect doneness, and topped with horseraddish chedder, they left our palates and our stomachs satisfied.  And to top it off, last night (Monday) was their burger night - a buger, (heavily seasoned) homemade fries, and a draft (microbrew) beer for about $13.  Great deal!

The space is tight though, so finding a table can sometimes be tough.

But I encourage you to check it out, and keep your eye out for the official review, coming soon.

The Hamilton Tavern
5517 Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214
(410) 426-1930

Hamilton Tavern on Urbanspoon

September 17, 2010

The Woodberry Kitchen - Farm-to-Table meets Fine Dining

September 17, 2010 0
Located in the heart of north Baltimore’s hot new Clipper Mill community in a stylishly renovated former mill building, the Woodberry Kitchen has maintains itself as one of Baltimore’s hottest (relatively) new restaurants. Sadly I can’t remember exactly when this swanky farm-to-table restaurant originally opened – I feel like it’s been there about two years – but I will not forget each of the delicious meals I’ve enjoyed there.

If you’re in my income bracket, the Woodberry Kitchen might serve best as a special occasion venue, with its prices in the $25-$50 per plate range; but I have also known many to make a weekly trip to their bar for a burger and a beer. The place is a perfect date restaurant, with its charming and intimate dining room that accentuates the historic character of the historical structure. And your date will also be impressed by your progressive and eco-friendly dining decision – the Kitchen’s farm-to-table concept ensures that all of its products were naturally and locally grown or raised.

Admittedly, the entire Bob Ganoosh team has not made an official trip out to Woodberry Kitchen, so I cannot write about a specific visit; but I have been there enough times that I believe I have a pretty well-rounded impression of the place. My first visit to the Kitchen involved grabbing a quick burger with some folks from my community. After all, their burger is relatively inexpensive ($13), and one usually can’t go wrong with such a decision. Little did I know that I was ordering one of the best burgers I would consume in my 26 years as a food fanatic. The beef was top quality, filled with flavor, and incomparably juicy. And they give you about a half-pound of it, too! And even though the burger alone could fill me up, it is generously accompanied by the Kitchen’s homemade fries – which are as good as any other homemade fries, but I certainly had no complaints.

Later visits allowed me to try a sample of their menu items and specials (both of which change regularly based on what’s in season). One of my favorites involved a rib eye steak (which was a special of that evening and I believe was about $30), accompanied by sides of cheddar potatoes gratin and roasted zucchini and squash. The fresh cut potatoes were dressed in delicious homemade-tasting cheddar cheese, and the zucchini and squash were roasted and seasoned to perfection, with the seasoning complementing the flavorful veggies, not overpowering them.

In addition to its unique top-notch dinner entrees, the Kitchen also has a nice variety of snacks, cheeses, and small plates including popcorn grown in Lancaster County, PA. It is also important to note that no fountain sodas are served here, but rather, they serve bottled sodas made with natural sugar cane. And let me tell you, Pepsi Throwback has nothing on this stuff!

One last thing to note is that when you do decide to check it out for yourself – plan ahead! It is very difficult to get a table without a reservation. Even when we (2 of us) visited on a Tuesday night this past spring, the only table available was in the bar section. It worked for us, but was a little cramped for a special occasion dinner.

The Woodberry Kitchen is located in the new Clipper Mill development in the Woodberry neighborhood, down the hill from Hampden and walking distance from the Woodberry Light Rail stop. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

The Woodberry Kitchen
2010 Clipper Park Road, # 126
Baltimore, MD 21211

5-Star Rating
Food: ****1/2
Service: ***1/2
Ambiance: ****
Price: $$$$ ($35-$50)

Woodberry Kitchen on Urbanspoon

September 14, 2010

La Palapa Grill - Best Mexican Food in Howard County

September 14, 2010 3

Wait – am I reading this right? Bog Ganoosh’s Baltimore Restaurant Reviews is giving props to Howard County establishment? What gives!? Well, we here at Bob Ganoosh like to give credit where credit is due, and this time the credit is due far beyond the city limits.

From downtown, one can take the scenic Frederick Road – once the only road from Baltimore to the West –on a narrow winding path through Baltimore County and into the quaint village of downtown Ellicott City. Ellicott City’s downtown is a hilly historical mill town, with a level of charm and character that is pleasantly uncharacteristic of Howard County, known mostly for its strip malls and cul-de-sacs. And Main Street has everything you would expect of an old mill village – antique shops, boutiques, and an awesome Mexican joint.

Ok, so maybe the Mexican restaurant doesn’t exactly fit into the theme of the town, but it is said restaurant that we at Bob Ganoosh are so excited about! And that restaurant is La Palapa Grill.

La Palapa is well known amongst the college crowd for its heavy-handed bar staff (the area does not have a particularly hopping night life, but is the only area with decent bars that is accessible from UMBC via taxi). But Shawn and I learned this past Friday that the joint serves up some respectable entrees as well. While sitting on their outdoor deck being serenaded by a guitar-yielding duo, we each debated fiercely between their unique dinner entrees and their renditions of the classics; we both chose the latter. Shawn chose the California burrito, a large burrito generously stuffed with beef, chicken, and a conglomerate of other flavorful ingredients. Not only was the burrito huge, but it was packed with flavor. For those familiar with the famous El Andariego near Olney, the best way we could describe this dish is to take the “Twins Burritos” from El Andariego and stuff them into one burrito. A power move, indeed.

I was swayed by the Texas Chimi, a beef and chicken burrito, fried and covered in a chili con queso sauce. And as long as you like cheese, I can promise you will love this dish. The con queso was plentiful, and the meat was well seasoned – the chimi had just the right amount of kick. Both dishes were adorned plentifully with refried beans and rice. I also threw in an a la carte beef taco in a soft shell, which was pretty much what I expected. But it was stuff so full that I had trouble keeping it all in one piece.

Our only disappointment was the lack of “corn cakes” in the kitchen – you know, that scoop of corn stuff that they used to give you at ChiChi’s. And I think they still give it out at Chevy’s. Shawn and I could live on that stuff. Also, the parking situation is rough – the city has a free municipal lot but even that was completely full – but that is a bit outside of the scope of their control.

Overall though, there is no way we could give this place anything less than 4 stars. Along with their excellent food and heavily-poured drinks (we confirmed this to be accurate), the service was prompt, and the drinks were unusually quick for table service. We never went thirsty.

So if you’re looking for some quality Mexican food and one hell of a margarita, just take a drive down old Frederick Road.

La Palapa Grill
8307 Main Street
Ellicott City, MD 21043

5-Star Rating
Food: ****
Service: ***
Ambiance: ***1/2
Price: $$$ ($20-35)

La Palapa Grill and Cantina on Urbanspoon

July 14, 2010

Finally - Ledo's Pizza in the City!

July 14, 2010 0
As we speak, a heated debate is occurring the Charles Village area regarding a developer’s plans to build a large shopping center, including a Wal-Mart and a Lowes, on a soon-to-be-vacant parcel of land. Opponents site that these “big box retailers” could put the small folks out of business, while proponents argue that the area could finally get some of the services that suburbanites take for granted, and that urbanites have to travel to the County to get.

Well I am, willing to bet that, while caught up in this heated debate, many of the proponents of bringing some “suburban amenities” into town may have overlooked what I consider a major victory of their cause – the opening of a Ledo’s Pizza in Charles Village!

Anyone that grew up with me down in Severna Park has eaten plenty of this unique square-shaped, thin-crusted, and provolone-adorned pizza. If hand-tossed and greasy describes New York style pizza, and flaky deep-dish crust describes Chicago style, then Ledo’s could arguably be called “Maryland Style” (I’m not saying its covered in crab and Old Bay, but I mean, it’s from here…).

The Charles Village location is the newest of a handful of Ledo’s locations to open in the city as of late. Its opening has allowed me to more regularly enjoy a food item that I took for granted before I moved up here. I won’t waste my time writing a review, because pretty much all of us have had Ledo’s at some point in time. And if you haven’t, there’s no time like the present.

So, it is still unclear whether or not, in a few years, I will have to drive all the way to hoity-toity Timonium every time I need some grass seed or a hammer; but at I know I won’t have to drive that far for good pizza...

June 9, 2010

Update - Holy Frijoles!

June 9, 2010 0

A Public Service Announcement from Bob Ganoosh

We are very disappointed to report that Holy Frijoles – our long-time Tuesday night venue thanks to their fantastic half-priced quesadillas – has committed a culinary sin. That’s right, it has done away with its unlimited complimentary chips and salsa! As such, Team Bob Ganoosh would like to take a moment to denounce this horrid business practice.

Don’t get me wrong – their chips and salsa are good enough that some people will pay for refills (including us, last night). The chips are fried on site, and the salsa is freshly made and boldly spiced. But come on, it’s basically a slap in the face to the loyal patrons who go their week after week despite a poor economy and a wide array of Tuesday night specials throughout the city. And, they are boldly charging $2.50 for each refill! Ouch!

Holy Frjoles: we understand that times are very tough right now for small local restaurants, and that giving away anything gets more and more fiscally challenging each day. But there has to be a way to squeeze some extra revenue out of your patrons, without seeming so… CHEAP! Raise the entrée prices $1 or the drink prices 50 cents. If anyone noticed, they certainly wouldn’t care that much, and it appear a lot less stingy than charging for a small basket of chips and salsa!

So, to Holy Frijoles: please stop charging for chips! To our readers: please let Holy Frijoles staff know that you support this cause.

June 8, 2010

Best Place to Take an Out-of-Town Visitor: Mama's on the Half Shell

June 8, 2010 0

After a winter of unprecedented snowfall and blistering temperatures, it goes without saying that Baltimoreans – known for their complete intolerance of winter weather – couldn’t be happier that summer is finally upon us. Finally, it’s time to pull the grill out of the shed, put on your flip-flops, and crack open a bottle of Natty Boh. And of course, its time to eat some good seafood! And whether you’re looking to shuck oysters or savor a fine filet of Rockfish, Mama’s on the Half Shell is the place to go.

Mama’s on the Half Shell, located on the Canton Square next to sister Mexican joint Nacho Mama’s (stay tuned for “Battle of the Mexican Specials”, featuring Nacho Mamas) does a superb job of pairing a rustic-yet-upscale atmosphere with a range of seafood dishes that varies in style and price, but not in quality. Mama’s serves as a perfect venue to which to take out of town guests, or just to have a nice dinner out. However, reservations are recommended, as the space is small and the fan base is large.

On the particular Tuesday evening that we visited (just a pair of us), we did not have a reservation, and thus were subject to a reasonably short wait (in the ball park of 15 minutes). So we wandered over to the snug bar area, nursed glasses of cold beer, and watched the Orioles lose on the several flat-screens behind the bar. The service at the bar was not particularly quick, but since the bar area was filled to capacity, we weren’t particularly surprised. With that said, the bar area is a bit cramped and has minimal standing area, making it not ideal for hanging out with a group of people.

About 15 minutes later we were escorted to our table in the second floor dining room, a dark cozy room adorned with southern nautical nick-knacks on the walls. We found the ambiance of the dining room to be quite pleasant, a combination of intimate and casual.

We started our meal with an appetizer of their legendary crab dip – a must do – which is served in a bread bowl with a generous serving of bread, crackers, and vegetable sticks for dipping. The dip itself was loaded with lump crabmeat, and is perfectly complemented by artichoke and a blend of cheeses. In short, this is the best crab dip we have tasted, ever.

The dinner menu offers a wide array of fare, from fish & chips to filet mignon (available several ways). There are also consistently a fair number of specials, which tend to reach the higher end of the restaurant’s price range (often in excess of $30), but are worth every penny. Off of the regular menu, we ordered the scallops – pan seared. The scallops were generously portioned, plump and tender, and pan-seared perfectly. As someone who is not considerably fond of scallops, I found this to be absolutely delightful. As with all regular-menu entrée items, the scallops were served with 2 sides of our choosing; we requested the whipped potatoes and the vegetable of the day, both of which were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of seasoning.

From the Specials list, we ordered a broiled salmon dish served over leeks with a mushroom demi-glace. I believe that it is pretty hard to mess up salmon; still, this dish was exceptional: the salmon was very fresh and was complimented perfectly by the leeks and mushroom sauce. The mushrooms were fresh and perfectly tender from being cooked in the sauce. And the portion was generous – more generous that it initially appeared.

In short, when it comes to Mama’s on the Half Shell, we don’t have much to complain about. The food is exceptional, the service was good, and the ambiance is pleasantly unique. The bar area could be a bit bigger, but that can be done in the corner rowhouse which houses the establishment. So, next time you have an out of town guest, take them to Mama’s and get them the best crab dip Baltimore has to offer!

Mama’s on the Half Shell
2901 O’Donnell Street
(on the Canton Square)
Baltimore, MD 21224

5-Star Rating
Food: ****
Service: ** ½
Ambiance: ***
Price: $$$ ($20-35)

Mama's on the Half Shell on Urbanspoon
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