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Lots of reviews!

So I moved to Baltimore a few months ago, and a few weeks ago I realized I still haven't eaten at many places. I decided it was time to go out and eat!

Since then, I've made a conscious effort to seek out new places and give them a whirl. Here's what I've checked out so far:

Chicken Rico: Slightly west of Patterson park, most people here have probably eaten here, so you already know that it's pretty great. The ambiance is nil, but they have very flavorful, rotisserie-cooked Peruvian-style chicken. I got a quarter chicken, yucca, plantains, and a coke for about $7, and I've got at least another meal left. I only wish that I got the dark meat quarter (they didn't ask, and I didn't specify), because mine was slightly dry, which seems (from other reviews) pretty abnormal for their chicken. The skin is great, though- nice and crispy, and well-flavored from the green spread they use to flavor it. The sides were pretty good too. My only question is that they gave me two sauces with the meal, and I have no idea what they were for-- one was spicy and green, and one tasted like a mayo/mustard mix, which was pretty good on the yucca. Anyone know?

Joe Squared: Charles Village. I read that the City Paper named this the "Best Pizza in Baltimore" on their Best of Baltimore list this year. So I was curious, and got the Chicken, Corn and Apple Pizza:
Tomato sauce, chicken, Vidalia onion, corn, granny smith apples, crushed red pepper, rosemary, mozzarella, provolone and cheddar cheeses.
I hope they were just having an off-night, because this pizza was pretty terrible. I was so disappointed. They bill themselves as "baltimore's only charcoal-grilled pizza", and it's easy to see why they are the only ones: mine was horribly burned on the bottom, and it tasted like I was eating a charcoal briquette. I had to peel the bottom off just to make it slightly edible. Then, they mention that there is crushed red pepper, but the pizza was so spicy, I could barely eat it. I read a review that says that they wished they could taste the pepper a little more, and the reviewer got their wish: it was overwhelming. The apple was almost non-existent, practically minced, so that it got lost in the burned charcoal and spicy pepper flavors.

My dining partner had a burger, and he said it was good (I didn't try it). The burger came with some fries, which were fine.

I really hope it was just an off-night for the place, and that it's not always like that (otherwise, what's up with City Paper?), but I was disappointed.

Last, Paper Moon Diner: In Charles Village. Probably everyone knows about this place, too, since it seems to be something of an institution from what I can gather. Anyway, all the food was really good here, if a bit overpriced for a diner ($2.50 for a cup of tea? Give me a break). I had the "Hella Portabella" sandwich, which was marinaded portabella mushrooms with baby spinach, mozzarella cheeze, and maybe something else (?) on foccacia. I got a side of onion rings. Sooo good. I downed the whole thing, and even the onion rings were good--nice fat slices of onion, none of those weird skinny onion rings, like fast food places.
The other person I was with got a burger (seeing a trend here?), and fries, both of which he said were really good. I tried the fries-- they were really good fries. Crispy outside, soft inside, didn't taste like the inside of someone's freezer. You know the type. I'd go back just for the fries, but everything was quite good.
My only gripe would be that the mannequins inside the place started to make me a little queasy, but that's probably just me: mannequin torsos in weird positions with stuff glued to them apparently freak me out. The place is kitschy as hell, and I'm sure I'll be back (and just sit with my back to the mannequins).

Any other places I should check out? I'm looking for places that it's expected I will have eaten at while living in Baltimore. I guess Bertha's makes the list, but I don't know what else... anyone?


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 25th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
If you want good pizza, go to Iggie's in Mt. Vernon or Isabella's in Little Italy. They both have websites. Iggie's is more gourmet pizza and you can eat in; Isabella's is carryout only and more traditional.

I've never had Joe Squared pizza but I've never heard any rave reviews about its food. City Paper is a good place to read general restaurant reviews but I don't trust their "Best Eats" sections. Nacho Mamma's does not have the best Mexican and Indian Rasoi isn't very good at all. Both have been labeled "Best" and there are MUCH better options.

If you look around blogtimore.com, you'll see a lot of local foodie blogs. You can get some good ideas on where to eat there.

I don't know what you like to eat but I recommend: Salt, B, Minato, Mezze, Pazo, Roy's, Kumari, The Helmand, Arcos, Peter's Inn, Dogwood Deli... that should get you started.
Jan. 25th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
I liked Iggie's. Brick Oven Pizza (B.O.P) in Fell's Point was decent from what I remember as well.

Next week is restaurant week so there are a lot of places serving a prix fixe menu for about $30 per person. I think The Wine Market is also doing a lunch menu for about $20 per person. If you are interested, do a search for "Baltimore Restaurant Week." I am sure some place will have a list of all the participating restaurants. We've gone a couple of times in the past, but I don't think we have our crap together enough to go next week.
Jan. 25th, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
this is really fragmented
Joe Squared is really really hit or miss. Don't order delivery from there unless you want your food in like an hour and a half.

My favorite places in Baltimore:

For pizza, Iggie's for more gourmet stuff/honestly Hopkins Deli makes a decent pie. (And this is coming from someone who grew up in New York.)

For sushi, Minato in Mt. Vernon; Matsuri in Fed Hill is a close second.

Bertha's is good. I like the bar there. Good ambiance, nice bartenders, good beer on tap. I like Nick's Seafood in Fed Hill; I eat there for lunch 2-3x a week (near work.)

Dangerously Delicious Pies (there's one in Fed Hill and one in Hampden) is really good--I've only ever had their dessert pies and only ever in Fed Hill though. In Hampden I'm a fan of Rocket to Venus and Holy Frijoles even though Holy Frijoles is a little overrated they have cheaper margaritas all night on Mondays and I'm down with that. Tortilleria Sinaloa on Eastern Ave just east of Broadway is a tortilla factory and their tacos are great and they give you them with a full little bowl of lime wedges which is the way all tacos should be served.

THAI RESTAURANT on Greenmount in Waverly is awesome. The area is a little sketchy, but there are worse and the food is worth it.

My favorite fancy restaurant is Woodberry Kitchen. I'm a little annoyed they're not participating in Restaurant Week. BOO. The Dogwood too, though I just want their sandwiches and I can get them from the deli.

If you're in the Charles Village-ish area in the mornings you should go to Pete's Grille, and get some home fries. Go during the week though because it can get a little overwhelming on the weekends.

Gertrude's in the BMA is all right, I personally don't think it's great, but they have a 10-dollar meal menu on Tuesdays which is a pretty good deal.

As for restaurant week restaurants, a friend of mine works at Fin and I've had some of their food (mostly the appetizers and side dishes) and it's all been great.
Jan. 25th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: this is really fragmented
It makes me sad that Holy Frijoles is now considered overrated. When I started eating there in the mid-90's it was absolutely the best food I had ever eaten. And it just seems like it's gone down hill. I still everyone in a while hoping it will be equally as delicious and each time I am sadly disappointed. It seems like their food has just become generic over the years to attract a wider range of people.
Jan. 25th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
nothing wrong with trying burger and fries everywhere. Some place do fantastic burgers. :D
Jan. 27th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
welcome to Baltimore
If you like Indian/Nepalese food I recommend Kumari on Charles Street. I always have excellent dinners there.

Also, it's restaurant week, so check out this website, grab a friend, and dine at one of the area's nicer restaurants for a bargain price.

Restaurant.com is a good way to find a place you might not otherwise thought of trying. You spend very little money (especially when they have a sale, usually around various holidays) and get a $25 gift certificate for food at the place you choose from their list.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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