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OscarTehGrouch's Profile

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Best sushi in Baltimore

I like the Spider Rolls at Asahi Sushi in Fells Point... they are like 6 bucks and great... I also like their sushi in general... especially the sashimi... it's BYOB, but it's a one man show and you may have to wait awhile if there are some people already in.... some people may disagree, but I think the sushi is just as good as any other of the toted places in Baltimore ala Matsuri and not as expensive...

Try the Hwe Dup Bap... it's really good.

Bangkok Garden, Bethesda

any updates on that menu, Dom?

Single best Chowhound find in Baltimore

dear god...

if Thai Restaurant on greenmount is the best chowhound find of baltimore... than i refuse to eat in this city anymore...

Kitchen of India on Joppa Road under new ownership


there's a difference between flavorful and well "seasoned" vs. overly spiced. And while it takes giving every place a try to find out, I definitely can't deal with bland food as well.

Kitchen of India on Joppa Road under new ownership

I never understood your undying devotion to this place... i really found it just mediocre...

how does the food compare to the old owners?

Best Thai in Baltimore

I know this isn't in Baltimore, but I say go to Bangkok Garden in Columbia. It's worth the drive... better than any place in Baltimore for sure.

Oceanaire at Harbor East in Baltimore

Blue Sea Grill > Oceanaire Baltimore imho

May 26, 2008
OscarTehGrouch in Chains

lunch in columbia, md

Bangkok Garden!

Bean paste at Joung Kak

you need to be looking for the right stuff...

Gochujang is red chili pepper paste... Doenjang is soybean paste (like miso)... what you are probably looking for is what's called Ssamjang (it's a mixture of gochujang, dwenjang, and other spices). Ssamjang is a nice balance and is what's served at Korean BBQ places.

Affordable knife shop in Baltimore

Buy a Tojiro DP (japanese knife, western style)... end of discussion...

Could you be more specific about your needs and what kinds of knives you are looking for? The Tojiro DP are by far the best japanese style bargain knives that you can buy.

Cafe Spice in Towson

My sentiments exactly...

I wrote a review in the indian buffet thread, and generally liked Cafe Spice, but they are way too heavyhanded on some spices...

RW impressions -- fair or not?

While I can see where a lot of people come from when they say you cannot judge restaurants by an RW experience, I actually disagree.

Maybe this is a tad unrealistic or unreasonable (although I don't think this is), but any restaurant that takes itself seriously, will make consistently good food no matter the circumstances.

Especially seafood, execution is key. Fish leaves little room for error (besides salmon, if you botch salmon you really suck). There are such things as off nights, however, and maybe I should give Oceannaire another chance. But, first impressions mean a lot to me. I really have no good reason to go back, meaning, I want to be impressed and regret my initial evaluation. If I'm going back for a merely decent experience, I'd rather not go back at all. There hasn't been a review or any news that would make me consider such an endeavor. The food was so underwhelming the first time. And I want to clarify one more time, I didn't even order off the restaurant week menu. I ordered off their regular menu, and was sorely disappointed.

Apr 06, 2008
OscarTehGrouch in Not About Food

The Oceanaire or Blue Sea Grill?


I have been to both once during restaurant week.

I think Oceannaire was really mediocre. The restaurant week menu wasn't slaying me, so I did not even order off it (they were out of bluefish and there's no way I'm paying 30 bucks for someone to cook me flounder that I can get cheaply and do better). They were also out of a lot of fish including standard tuna which I found rather astonishing. Maybe it was restaurant week, but everything I had was mediocre at best. I had a rockfish for my main course and found it poorly executed (very soggy skin, even if it was served with sauce, I am assured that without the sauce it would've been impossible to penetrate without a knife). The fish was also overcooked.

My experience at Blue Sea Grill was much better. I did get the restaurant week menu, and found every dish solid (not spectacular).

Chui's Sushi (Baltimore) - NOT going back!

Agreed... Asahi I think has good fish and is cheaper than most other places...

I'm a fan of keeping sushi simple and authentic. As much as I like Sushi Hana every now and then for their specialty rolls, I still enjoy great fresh sashimi. Asahi does that very well. I'm also fond of some of the korean stuff there (being Korean) including the Hwe Dup Bab (think Korean version of chirashi with spicy sauce)

Kiko's (Baltimore - Perry Hall) is closing

I am also sad Kiko's is closing... while I found the food spotty sometimes, when it's good... it's really good... plus... you gotta love Jarritos.

Best Indian Buffet in Baltimore

My basis for comparison is many many Indian restaurants I have tried nationwide, (well west coast vs. east coast). I have several Indian friends, cook Indian food at home, and try to be objective as possible. I have tried Southern Indian cuisine several times at several places across the nation. It is starkly different than Northern.

There is absolutely no location bias in my evaluations. One of my best Indian experiences is an Indian restaurant I frequent when back home in Washington State (I'm in Baltimore for school). Out of all places in the US, some of the best Indian I've tasted is this whole in the wall in Washington State. It is Northern Indian, and is home to the best biryani I have ever tasted.

What I look for in Indian food is this. Balance and flavor. After learning some Indian dishes, I have learned that cooking Indian food is very unforgiving. Any uncareful measuring, flawed cooking technique, shortcuts taken, are errors that are enormously compounded in the end result.

Bangkok Garden in Columbia, MD

Your welcome, and thanks, feels sort of nice to encourage discussion =). I only signed up recently as well.

David, do you mind chiming in with what you tried? I want to get a good gauge of what the go to dishes are at Bangkok Garden (although I'm sure, there are probably too many to list).

Helmand recs?

Bangkok Garden in Columbia, MD

I went and checked out Bangkok Garden in Columbia with a few friends based on a few recommendations on this board. It was very very good. And for the price (most dishes are around 10 dollars), it's even better. I have been to most of the Thai places in Baltimore, and they simply do not match up with Bangkok Garden.

Started off our dinner with Steamed Green Mussels, typical Thai dish seasoned with lemongrass. We pretty much drank all the broth. Since it was our first time, we tried the Pad Thai which was solid (good, not the best I've had), but it was very flavorful and rich (do not mistake that for greasy). Also tried panang curry with chicken. So good we ended up asking for more rice so we can mix it with the curry til not a drop remained. Finally, we tried one of their monthly specials, Southern Duck. It is basically duck, with the skin rendered crispy in a sweet chile sauce. It was phenomenal (and only 13 dollars). Washed it all down with some very good Thai Iced Tea (not overly sweet like so many other Thai Iced Teas I have tried in Baltimore, you can actually taste Tea). Portions are generous. I hear lunch is even cheaper, so I am looking forward to another lunch outing.

It's a good drive for me from Baltimore, but well worth it, and I plan on going once a week. It has all the signs of a good ethnic restaurant. Native owners, tacky decor, disco lights, karaoke machine, and a lot of Thai people dining as well.

Posting to give it some attention and see if anyone else has been here (haven't seen much about it). Eating here was a true pleasure. I think back at the time 2 years ago I ate at Thai Restaurant on Greenmount. Granted, everyone knows Thai Restaurant sucks (and grossly overpriced, curries there are almost 20 dollars). But Bangkok Garden makes me want to go burn down Thai Restaurant for serving such inferior food. Is Bangkok Garden better than Thai Arroy? Yes. (although Thai Arroy doesn't deserve a cruel fate like Thai Restaurant)

Cafe Spice in Towson

I had the lunch buffet the other day. Overall, I enjoyed it. Not the best Indian, but a very solid choice. The owners are very nice. If I am in the Towson area and have an Indian craving, I would stop by Cafe Spice.

Baltimore questions...The Helmand?

Indeed... and Jerry (the owner) is a great guy.

Baltimore questions...The Helmand?

At The Helmand... you need to get the Kaddo Borawni (pumpkin/yogurt appetizer mentioned in the other reply).

Best Indian Buffet in Baltimore

I went to Cafe Spice today and it was overall good...

I got in right before the buffet closed so the food wasn't fresh fresh but here's a general review.

Rice (not like you can screw this up), and Naan were solid. The vegetable pakora was nice and crunchy but still too much batter (I don't see why Indian places can't make this like Japanese tempura). The vegetable makhani was great... wasn't too impressed with the other veggie dishes.

Meat wise, no lamb on the buffet. The tandoori chicken was in my opinion overcooked... granted I got their late, but it was visibly overcharred and dry. The other chicken choices were chicken madras which I thought was good overall, but not great... ultimately... the flavor balance was not there... it was very spicy (don't mistake this for hot) and the spices lingered for the rest of the meal... I had to clean my palette quite a few times with some raita. The chicken korma was solid.

Overall... everything was decent to good, and at least the flavors were not bland. The owners are friendly, and I appreciated the lady letting me in at the last minute and letting me help myself before closing it off.

I would go again, but am not so blown away that I would go out of my way every single time. I'll have to keep looking and tryign the other places... maybe Baltimore Indian is bound for mediocrity.

Samos - Oldham St. Baltimore

One other thing... Samos does catering. I had them cater a graduation dinner at my church and everything was fabulous and not expensive at all. Call and ask them to e-mail you a catering menu...

I need to try these other Greektown places, but I love Samos so much it's hard to deviate from the tried and true. Even when I go to Samos, I have trouble deviating from my normal choices of gyro/souvlaki because of the price/deliciousness utility =)

On a completely off topic note, I checked out Kitchen of India on whitemarshjohn's recommendation in the best indian buffet in baltimore thread. I didn't really enjoy it. Found it way bland.

Fogo De Chao - Baltimore

Some other things...

Service is good, do not be afraid to ask them to bring a certain cut of meat over. They will fulfill the request immediately.

My recommendation is go right when it opens for lunch. The meat is very fresh. My recommendations and favorites are the house special (forgot the Brazilian name for this cut, but it's a sirloin with a layer of fat), the beef ribs (try to get a cut closer to the bone), and garlic steak. I like salty and garlicy flavors, hence these are my favorite, and these all have significant fat content (melts in your mouth very well). I am not a fan of the bacon wrapped stuff, and non-beef stuff in general. I sometimes get the lamb (I enjoy lamb), but avoid the chicken, sausages, pork ribs, etc. While decent, I am there mainly to enjoy beef, which I think is what they do best. The top sirloin, ribeye, filet (get it rare), and bottom sirloin are all good cuts.

Nothing washes this fatty goodness down like an Antarctica Guarana soda, the most popular soda in Brazil. Get one very time I go.

Mar 02, 2008
OscarTehGrouch in Chains

Fogo De Chao - Baltimore

Go for lunch, it's the exact same thing and much cheaper.

Overall, I think I am in the minority of people who actually enjoy Fogo. I simply like meat, and that's really the only reason you should go. The meat is high quality (not the best), and I enjoy it's simple, straightforward nature. I also find the service very spot on. They replace side dishes very quickly, so quickly, I don't even notice sometimes.

If you go in expecting some incredible dining experience, you will be disappointed. Especially if you are paying dinner price. I think it's one of those cases where people say it's so overrated that it is underrated. If you just want to eat great meat, I think Fogo does a good job. Everything is generally pricy. One major gripe I have is that sodas are very expensive (almost 3 dollars) with no refills. It's a brilliant idea moneymaking wise, because nothing washes down good beefy fat like an Antarctica Guarana soda.

Dessert wise, their signature papaya cream should not be signature. The one time I had it, I found it absolutely tasteless. It was simply sweet cream. I did not taste papaya at all. The strawberry cream was relatively much better (although it wasn't amazing by any means). All the other desserts are standard fare... In the end, I skip dessert because I find it overpriced and not worth it.

The wine list is very extensive and good. Markup is a bit high, but there are some good finds. Overall, if you want to gorge on a lot of good meat, Fogo does just fine. Go for lunch. Dinner is too expensive to be justifiable.

Mar 02, 2008
OscarTehGrouch in Chains

Samos - Oldham St. Baltimore

Your best bet is earlier in the evening on any day... from my experience, showing up at 7 will be an hour wait. I show up at 5. It's highly variable... it's all about how fast they can turn the tables, which sometimes takes forever, especially for those large parties who bring their own wine etc.

Samos is just simply great food though. I don't mind waiting there even if it is a wait since it's a little bit of a trek for me anyways just to get out there.

Best Indian Buffet in Baltimore

I will definitely give Cafe Spice a try. Will report back soon!

Best Indian Buffet in Baltimore

I went to Kitchen of India today... I have very mixed feelings.

I found the flavors in ALL dishes VERY bland. The chicken tikka masala looked very promising when I was spooning it out of the tray, but when I ate it, sad to say, I was disappointed. Granted, I don't have a good reference point on what "authentic" Indian cuisine is (I think you can only say you have that point if you have a good Indian friend) because it seems that most Indian food in Baltimore is adjusted to the American palette (creamy but flavorful). Just was not my cup of tea. Same goes for the rest of the dishes. No lamb dishes on the buffet. I did appreciate Tandoori chicken in the buffet which I don't see very often (haven't been to many Baltimore Indian places, but have been to several outside of Baltimore). Overall, a good selection, but after awhile I felt like I was eating mush... just very bland.

The thing I did like though was the fact that all the meat (chicken) was very tender. You could tell that they break down whole chickens and use the meat rather than using prepackaged chicken breasts (which is easier to marinate and work with). I appreciated that all the chicken was very moist and tender and stewed well.

They brought out fresh naan, but I found it had a very floury taste. Not bad, but not good either.

I look forward to trying out the rest of these places. So far I have tried Akbar, Ambassador, and Kitchen of India, and haven't really been that impressed. So far, I have liked Ambassador the best (but I think it's a bad value price wise relative to all the other places).

Finding Fish in Baltimore

Hey everyone,

Have been lurking around for awhile, finally decided to get involved.

I am looking for the BEST place to buy fish in or around Baltimore (I don't mind driving awhile if it is worth it, if I have to go to DC, so be it). I am looking for the highest quality fish you can buy, and preferably whole, because I do not mind doing the butchering myself. It's also just more fresh and cheaper.