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Is Baltimore Boring restaurantwise?

I know I'm late to this thread--was just searching for mentions of Hersh's, which I tried last weekend for the first time and liked a lot. Re Peter's, I want to love it but don't. I've been there half a dozen times over the years, and while it might have impressed at one point, it sadly feels very dated to me at this point, both in menu and in execution. Like an 80s/90s relic or something.

Linguini with Clams

oh, that is good to know! I live nearby and I've only been there for oysters and beer. Never tried any cooked food there. Well, except for the whiskey cake!

Oct 17, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Fried chicken rant

Yeah! Fried chicken! I step away from this thread for a few days, and it's been hijacked!

I'm excited to try Charles' Southern Chicken. But if I can't get uptown for a while, I believe there's still a Popeyes not too far from me....

Oct 17, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Linguini with Clams

Huh. Well, why would he do that? Does *anyone* really like it? maybe someone with a sodium deficiency.

Oct 11, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Linguini with Clams

I had Esca's spaghetti alle vongole a couple of months ago and it was inedibly salty. I mean truly inedible. The server warned us it was salty, and I like salt, so I said fine. But I couldn't eat it. Didn't send it back because I was warned about the salt, but it tasted like they'd spilled an entire carton of salt in there.

My dining companion's spaghetti with lobster was delicious, though.

Oct 10, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Fried chicken rant

Not that is has to be deep fried in a vat of oil, mind you--that seems to be the way most places do it, but I prefer the traditional pan-fried southern chicken.

Oct 10, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Fried chicken rant

Sounds good, but that isn't fried chicken, and not because it's skinless--if it's "browned" but then covered, it's essentially steamed.

Oct 10, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

quiet business lunch in reasonable proximity to Penn Station

Not sure how to characterize it, but Maialino fit the bill. In fact, I think we'll be returning there--easiest, plus I know what to expect from the food. (The food is probably more important to me than it will be to my dining companions.)

Oct 09, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Fried chicken rant

I don't think I've ever tasted KFC--but I agree that Popeyes is much better than most of the fried chicken I've had in NYC. A sad state of affairs.

Oct 09, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Fried chicken rant

Had not heard that about Henry's End, but thanks for the tip!

Oct 09, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Fried chicken rant

No, I haven't tried Noodle Bar's--but I will. Thanks for reminding me about Korean fried chicken--it's (obviously) different from southern, but I've liked it when I've had it--twice-fried, extremely crispy, minimally battered and greaseless.

Oct 09, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

quiet business lunch in reasonable proximity to Penn Station

Thanks--Yes I had looked into tocqueville, above, but I believe their prix fixe is now $39 and has no choices.

Oct 08, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Fried chicken rant

Okay, I'm cranky. What is it about New Yorkers that makes them (and I am one, but I except myself from this category) fawn all over all sorts of mediocre fried chicken? I was raised by a native North Carolinian mother who makes the best fried chicken ever. (Washed and well-dried chicken, a simple shake in a bag of flour and salt, frying in a minimal amount of oil--sauteeing, really.) And yes, I can make it too.

But I get so excited when I read about new fried chicken places in NYC, and inevitably they are incredibly disappointing. Latest case: Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter. I wanted to like this place, but what a letdown. The chicken was moist, yes, but that's because the moisture was trapped inside by the soggy coating. Overbreaded, soggy, not crispy, not much discernible flavor. Blah. Yech. I got the chicken supper plate, which came with a biscuit that I have not much to say about. It wasn't inedible. But it wasn't good. The salad, meanwhile, was pretty awful. Salad out of a bag, with an overly sweet dressing on the side. I didn't try any of the other sides, so I can't comment on those. My main concern is the chicken.

Yes I've tried the Redhead's fried chicken, a couple of times, and though it's been awhile, it wasn't memorable. I can't remember if it was better than, or about the same as, Bobwhite's. But it definitely wasn't great. (I took my mom there once when she was visiting, promising her the best fried chicken in NYC. Upon eating it, she looked at me with some bewilderment and a slightly accusing expression as if to ask why I had promised so much and delivered so little.)

I haven't tried Carmellini's fried chicken at Locanda Verde or the Dutch--and I do love Locanda Verde--but I'm so disheartened by my chicken experiences here that I can't bring myself to do so.

This is mostly a rant. But if anyone has any thoughts about the overpraising of fried chicken in New York, I'd love to hear them.

Oct 08, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

quiet business lunch in reasonable proximity to Penn Station

I meant Tocqueville, not Maialino, for the $29 or $39 lunch. Sorry.

Oct 01, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

quiet business lunch in reasonable proximity to Penn Station

No, a 30 block cab ride--15 or 20 minutes--would be fine. The out of towners are taking a 2+ hour train ride just for the lunch meeting and would probably appreciate getting to a different neighborhood.

Oct 01, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

quiet business lunch in reasonable proximity to Penn Station

Yes, I thought about the NoMad (though wondered about noise level), but I should have specified earlier, nothing too trendy or hipster-y is appropriate for this meeting.

Oct 01, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

quiet business lunch in reasonable proximity to Penn Station

I'm looking for a place for a business lunch for three people, within a 30 to 40 block cab ride from Penn Station as two of the participants are coming into town just for the lunch. We will require a low noise level, and booth availability would be best for some privacy and room to spread out papers. Last time we met at Maialino, which was perfect, but I'd like to choose someplace different this time.

Many posters in the past have suggested Maialino for its $29 prix-fixe menu, but that now seems to be $39, which isn't a problem except that it doesn't look like it includes choices, and that's essential given potential differing tastes and dietary restrictions.

I'm quite interested in trying Marea, but does anyone know about the seating style there, or the noise level?

I've also thought about del Posto or Aldea, but again I haven't been to either and I'm not sure about seating and noise.

Any other suggestions, or info on the above, are appreciated.

Oct 01, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Baltimore's Newest Restaurants

Sorry, but Baltimore *isn't* considered a hot foodie destination. For a city of its size, it is woefully lacking in good restaurants. I have lived in Baltimore as well as other similar cities--and visited many others--and I am consistently underwhelmed by the food in Baltimore. If you try to compare it to Portland, OR, Austin, Nashville, or even Charleston, SC (which is much smaller), it almost never fails to disappoint.

Puddin' is great! Tried the new pudding establishment on St. Marks Place--YUM!

This place needs to get its act together. I want to like it, but I haven't been able to try it. I thought it strange that it opens at 4 every day--how bizarre!--but walked by one day last week and they were open in the morning. Then, the day I actually wanted to try it, I walked by and there was a sign in the window that said "closed today." I made a second trip today--after 4--and the place is closed again, no sign of life, just a couple of FedEx delivery signs. Who knows if it's open or closed, but she can't expect to establish a business this way. I've made a special trip over there twice to try it. Not likely to happen again.

-----
Puddin' by Clio
102 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

Feb 01, 2012
equilibrist in Manhattan

Top ten over-rated restaurants in Baltimore

To the OP: I'm liking this list and the way you're thinking--so I wonder what you actually think is worth trying, whether underrated or simply accurately reviewed, in Balto.

We are coming from italy need some good suggestion

If you're looking for Chinese alternatives to dim sum and such, you might try the western Chinese hand-pulled noodle places that are sprouting up around town. Xi'an Famous foods has locations in Chinatown and in the East Village (on St. Marks Place between 1st and 2nd)--no atmosphere or ambience, but delicious noodles either in soup or alone. My favorites are the Mt. Qi pork noodle soup or the cumin lamb noodles, but anything is worth trying. People also like their cumin lamb burgers.

Mar 15, 2011
equilibrist in Manhattan

Where Can I Stand and Eat?

At La Piazza in Eataly, you can also stand and eat salumi, cheese, and crudi, all while enjoying a glass of wine.

Mar 01, 2011
equilibrist in Features

Porchetta in E. Village

"Lean" was not my experience at all of this meat. It was mostly fatty, and the "cracklings," if that's what they were, were pretty much inedible--big hunks of bone in my sandwich. I could have easily broken a tooth, but after I found the first one, I picked through the rest of the sandwich to pull out the other pieces of bone. The meat had a good flavor but was very salty. The Sullivan St. ciabatta was definitely the best part of the experience.

Oct 18, 2008
equilibrist in Manhattan

Aunt and Uncle taking me to dinner...help me choose the place

Well, I'm glad the thread is reborn, as we haven't had our dinner out yet. I think I subtly suggested EMP and that might be what we do. Perbacco would not be right for them--too experimental in terms of Italian and also the EV probably won't do it for them.

Sep 27, 2008
equilibrist in Manhattan

Portland in August?

Thanks for vinegar info. Regarding the lomo and eggs, I didn't see it on Clyde's menu when I was there, either, or I would have definitely tried!

Sep 16, 2008
equilibrist in Pacific Northwest

Portland in August?

Oh, well, fried padron peppers with a good olive oil and salt are one of my absolute favorites, and I've eaten them in several cities although none have been as memorable as those I've had in Barcelona. I also love a well-prepared patatas bravas with a side of spicy salsa brava and aioli, a plate of boquerones, and many other simple dishes. In fact, I much prefer simple and elegant of almost anything rather than anything overly fussy--which is, I think, why I was a bit disappointed at Pok Pok with my semi-dry game hen and a papaya salad that was just eh. If it's going to be simple, it's gotta have flavors that shine through! But I think I just need help in ordering better at Thai places. I've never been to Thailand and I don't know the cuisines. By the way, we have some new Thai place, Rhong Tiam, in NY in the west village that is getting very good notices. Some people are saying it's better than Sripraphai, but I haven't tried it yet.

One question I had about Pok Pok was about their drinks with fruit vinegars (I think). They sounded quite intriguing but I ended up having a local (forget what) draft beer instead. What are the vinegar drinks like? Are they a regional specialty?

Sep 15, 2008
equilibrist in Pacific Northwest

Another Portland question--D.O.C.?

Huh. Thanks for info. And what do you think of Yakuza? My friend is also a fan of that place.

Sep 13, 2008
equilibrist in Pacific Northwest

Portland in August?

I did not make it to Teardrop Lounge, even though I walked by it many a time. My cocktail capacity seemed to be sated by Clyde Common and Ten01. But Teardrop is definitely on my list for my next visit.

Sep 13, 2008
equilibrist in Pacific Northwest

Another Portland question--D.O.C.?

I just posted my long Portland trip report from my August trip under the heading "Portland in August"--but one thing I forgot to ask is whether any local hounds have tried the restaurant D.O.C. I couldn't seem to find anything searching this board. A friend of mine told me that it was recently (I don't know how recently) opened by the woman who runs Beast (and Yakuza, which she says is also good, next-door to Beast); I know it's just a stone's throw away from there. My friend says it's extremely interesting Italian food and she's had great meals there. I didn't have a chance to get there and am wondering whether to put it on my list for a future visit. It's hard to find much info on it.

Thanks!

Sep 13, 2008
equilibrist in Pacific Northwest

Portland in August?

Thanks to everyone for your help in setting my Portland dining itinerary. I'm now back and had a fantastic time. Part of the reason for my trip was to see if I could imagine myself living in Portland--and based on my eating experiences, at least, I'd have to say yes!

FIrst, sadly, the places that were originally on my definite to-do list but which I didn't get to. I like to tell myself that this just means I have to come back sometime soon and try them. I didn't get to Toro Bravo--I know it's supposed to be fantastic and I love tapas, but I do eat a lot of it in New York and LA and other cities, and it didn't seem to be as quintessentially Portland/Northwest as some of the other experiences.

Secondly, and I can't even really answer why, I didn't make it to Le Pigeon. This is a real regret. I had told myself that I would go the last night I was there before an evening flight, but it was Sunday and it was raining and I was short on time, and it seemed too difficult to find it on foot, and later cab back to my hotel (the Ace) and then make my way to the airport. So, next time.

Because I was staying at the Ace, Clyde Common was my go-to spot a lot of the time. I made my way through their bar snacks and cocktail list (loved the Anemic Marty, with seasoned vodka and celery juice, and the cocktail with rye and blackberries--forget the name). Also ate dinner at the bar there and had a memorable meal including a peach shortcake with black-pepper ice cream and basil syrup.

I checked out many of the happy hour cocktail specials in the Pearl District and particularly enjoyed Ten01’s happy hour—had dollar oysters and $5 wines, plus (another night) a drink with tequila, lime, grapefruit soda and bitters on the rocks. Mmm.

I ate lunch at Wildwood one day, and although the food wasn't the best I've ever had, sitting outside on their porch was so pleasant and my server was so helpful and welcoming (an experience I had repeatedly in PDX, not just at restaurants) that it was one of my more memorable meals. Lunch was a panzanella to start, but not a traditional one--the bread/croutons retained their crunchiness and were served with red and yellow cherry tomatoes as well as basil, cucumber and wax beans. I followed that with an Oregon albacore tuna salad with pink Chioggia beets, peaches, arugula, fennel, and onion. The menu description on the tuna salad also promised some ricotta salata which, sadly, did not materialize.

What else--I hit Park Kitchen for lunch and had a wonderful chilled melon soup with feta and almonds, as well as their famous house-made hot dog, which I just could not finish.

I also dined at the bar at Alberta Oyster Bar one night, though I didn't delve too deeply into their menu--I stuck to oysters and then a scallop dish with some pork belly, which was supposedly an appetizer but together with the oysters made for plenty for me.

I had lunch at Pok Pok one day with a friend of a friend. I think I need to find out more about what makes this place so great, because I don’t think we ordered all that well, or it just wasn’t that memorable. My friend had a pork dish recommended by our waiter, which she pronounced monotonous (I forget the name, but I tasted it and agreed). I had the Pok Pok special of sticky rice, roasted game hen, and papaya salad, and while it was fine, it wasn’t anything I’d recommend highly to anyone. Frankly I don’t know all that much about the nuances of Thai food but I feel as though I’ve had better Thai in LA (Saladang and some others I’m forgetting) and in NY and DC than I did at Pok Pok.

I found that as the week went on my appetite seemed to shrink—since this was somewhat more of an eating trip than is usual for me, I was hardly able to face big dinners by the end of the trip (one reason I didn’t go to Le Pigeon that last night, I think). That meant that I had a light-ish dinner at Paley’s the night I ate there—two appetizers and sorbet. My salad was fantastic—perfectly ripe pears with prosciutto and goat cheese and maybe something else. Then I had Dungeness crab cake sliders, which were maybe a tad disappointing. I hadn’t had any Dungeness crab yet in PDX and wanted to do so, but I found that the crab taste was a little overwhelmed by a kind of spicy squash/tomato salsa that came on the sliders. They were also a little messy, which I don’t mind, but I thought the crab flavor got lost somewhat. It also doesn’t help that I have ties to Baltimore and I’m very particular about my crab cakes! Anyway, service couldn’t have been nicer at Paley’s; my server brought me complimentary cookies and dessert wine to go with my sorbets.

Finally, my big splurge of the week—Beast, which I actually went to mid-week, which is good because my appetite was still relatively intact. The thing that stands out most to me from that meal is the concept, the extended, no-choices menu and communal dining, ideas that I like a lot in theory but which were made somewhat awkward by the fact that I was seated with a group of three (a father, his daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend) with no one else at our table (there were four other empty seats at the long table for the entire meal), yet we were all seated as though we were one party and it made it necessary to converse at least somewhat throughout the meal—which I didn’t really mind but which I felt somewhat bad about for the other people involved. It was definitely awkward, but the dining experience was worth it. I did think the menu felt a little heavy for the season—not the meat aspect of it, just the dishes chosen. For example, the starter was a “summer vegetable soup with grape-leaf and pine-nut salsa,” but it wasn’t at all light—rather, more like a hearty vegetable stew you’d expect to get in mid-winter, with squash and maybe even eggplant (I’m not remembering). I loved the charcuterie and foie gras bon bon that came later, though, and the dessert was a highlight—fig, caramel, and chocolate tarts with black pepper and cardamom ice cream.

Sorry for the length of this report, but thanks again to all Portland hounds for your help!

Sep 13, 2008
equilibrist in Pacific Northwest