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Eat Special Issue

Federal Hill

Photo: Rarah, License: N/A, Created: 2011:02:15 16:19:41

Rarah

Metropolitan Coffee House And Wine Bar

Photo: Michael Northrup, License: N/A, Created: 2011:02:15 14:55:52

Michael Northrup

Szechuan Restaurant


A GUIDE TO THE ICONS

$ = Inexpensive; “entrees” barely crack $10.
$$ = Entrees in the $10-$20 range, other than a few specials or the crab cakes.
$$$ Entrees $20 and up.
BYOB = The restaurant has no liquor license but allows you to bring your own booze. You may have heard of this.
P = On-site parking, i.e. a dedicated lot or garage.
T = Valet parking (for most places, this is weekends-only).
Out = Outdoor dining in season. Note: It could be a lovely deck, but it may be just a couple of tables on the sidewalk.
10pm = Serves food after 10 p.m. Many local restaurants will serve until 11 p.m. on weekends, but spots bearing this icon go further somehow.
B = Breakfast.
L = Lunch.
D = Dinner.
Br = Brunch on weekends.
Vg = Specializes in vegetarian/vegan friendliness. Almost all restaurants these days offer vegetarian options, and when asked by someone compiling a dining guide, many restaurants say that they can accommodate vegans on request, but this icon indicates vegetarian/vegan friendliness as a primary mission.
Rsv = Reservations are suggested, particularly for weekend dining.
Del = Delivery to a limited area, though many restaurants that don’t do phone-order delivery use web-based services such as carryout.com.

ABBEY BURGER BISTRO

1041 Marshall St., (443) 453-9698, abbeyburgerbistro.com

$$ 10pm L D

A bar devoted to gourmet burgers, not French fare. And we’re grateful, because who wouldn’t savor local Roseda beef topped with a drippy fried egg or build-it-yourself options that include turkey and homemade veggie burgers.

BABA’S MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN

745 E. Fort Ave., (410) 727-7482

$ BYOB Out L D

This small storefront charms with its pretty interior, gracious service, and inexpensive, yet quality food from all parts of the Mediterranean, including spicy hummus, creamy and smoky baba ganouj, kefta burgers, dolmas, and baklava.

BLUE AGAVE RESTAURANTE AND TEQUILERIA

1032 Light St., (410) 576-3938, blueagaverestaurant.com

$$$ 10pm L D Rsv

Not your everyday Mexican restaurant. Mole is a specialty here, highlighting a menu that ranges from expected staples to fine-dining entrees.

CORKS

1026 S. Charles St., (410) 752-3810, corksrestaurant.com

$$$ 10pm L D Br Rsv

Corks renovated and revamped in 2009 with a cooler contemporary space and a larger, more affordable menu. Some new dishes are playful, like the merguez corn dog made with lamb sausage and served with popcorn, but all are high-quality takes on homey faves.

BLUEGRASS TAVERN

1500 S. Hanover St., (410) 244-5101, bluegrasstavern.com

$$$P Vg Out 10pm L D Br Rsv

Federal Hill’s newest entry into the local/seasonal restaurant scene impresses with rustic charm and a creative menu. The menu changes frequently, but don’t miss the well-crafted charcuterie plate. An affordable, diverse wine list too.

MAD RIVER BAR AND GRILLE

1110 S. Charles St., (410) 727-2333, madriverbaltimore.com

$$ 10pm L D Br

A sporty/outdoorsy-themed bar and restaurant housed in a former bank, serving estimable pub grub and good beer specials.

MAGERK’S PUB AND GRILL

1061 S. Charles St., (410) 576-9230, magerks.com

$$ Out L D

The menu at this Federal Hill spot is mostly typical bar fare but MaGerk’s takes its cheesesteaks quite seriously, complete with special Philadelphia cheesesteak rolls and the traditional Cheez Whiz.

MATSURI

1105 S. Charles St., (410) 752-8561, matsuri.us

$$ Out 10pm L D

This tiny Japanese staple is best known for its superior sushi, but its traditional dishes are not to be overlooked. Delicious donburis, udon soups, ramens, teriyakis, and tempuras populate the menu.

METROPOLITAN COFFEE HOUSE AND WINE BAR

902 S. Charles St., (410) 234-0235, metrobalto.com

$$ Out 10pm B L D Br

This small hangout is chic yet warm with a mostly American menu that is consistently interesting and tasty. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus, ya know, good coffee.

MR. RAIN’S FUN HOUSE

American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (443) 524-7379, mrrainsfunhouse.com

$$$ Out L D Br Rsv

A fine fit for AVAM, Mr. Rain’s Fun House is a kick with its funky, carnivalesque décor and inventive menu full of influences from Asia and Eastern Europe. Spiciness prevails here. Order pork and kimchi-style cabbage if it’s on the menu.

MOTHER’S FEDERAL HILL GRILLE

1113 S. Charles St., (410) 244-8686, mothersgrille.com

$$ P Out 10pm L Br D

This sprawling bar and restaurant features an equally sprawling menu, from boardwalk fries to chipotle ahi tuna and Kobe beef sliders alongside a full compliment of salads, sandwiches, etc.

NO WAY JOSE CAFÉ

38 E. Cross St., (410) 752-2837

$ 10pm L D

Not too many surprises at this Mexican mainstay, and that’s good. The portions are agreeably gargantuan, and the simplest dishes come off best. Great hard tacos.

PORTERS OF FEDERAL HILL

1032 Riverside Ave., (410) 332-7345, portersfederalhill.com

$$ D Br

House-made bread and a slightly quirky menu elevate Porter’s above your normal corner pub. Mediterranean-inflected dishes such as zucchini fritters or lamb kabobs are definite must-haves. Spicier dishes, such as Thai mussels, are spicy indeed.

REGI’S AMERICAN BISTRO

1002 Light St. (410) 539-7344, regisamericanbistro.com

$$ Out L D Br

This enduring and cozy spot has a lot to offer—patient service, a gracious atmosphere, and especially the eclectic house specials, including terrific calamari, potato-encrusted beef, Black Angus steaks, and, most of all, panko-encrusted crab cakes.

THE RESERVE

1542 Light St., (410) 605-0955, thereservebaltimore.com

$$ D Br Rsv

The Reserve may look like a bar, but it eats like a restaurant: quail on a bed of couscous, pistachio-encrusted lamb chops, bison burgers.

ROPEWALK TAVERN

1209 S. Charles St., (410) 727-1298, ropewalktavern.com

$$ L D

This party spot offers a lively drinking scene and standard pub grub (burgers, salads, sandwiches) with a few unexpected twists (e.g. lobster tacos).

THE ROWHOUSE GRILLE

1400 Light St., (443) 438-7289, therowhousegrille.com

$$ D

A new, elegantly renovated restaurant space with a small, focused menu of elegantly tweaked American classics. Lunch served on Saturday.

RYLEIGH’S OYSTER

36 E. Cross St., (410) 539-2093, ryleighs.com

$$$ L D Br Rsv

Just about perfect modern pub food. There are oysters, of course, but also expert and inventive seafood bites, such as a triumphant scallop trio and jumbo shrimp wrapped in crispy wonton skins.

SOBO CAFÉ

6-8 W. Cross St., (410) 752-1518

$$ L D

The menu changes constantly, depending on available ingredients and the chef’s whims, and the inventions are mostly good ones. Prices are low, and soups never disappoint.

SZECHUAN RESTAURANT

1125 S. Charles St., (410) 752-8409

$ L D

A straightforward neighborhood Chinese place. The prices are still low and the preparations are safe, but the dining rooms are just the kind of cozy setting you’d want for winter comfort feeding.

STALKING HORSE

26 E. Cross St., (410) 244-6722, stalkinghorsefederalhill.com

$ Out 10pm L D

A lively bar scene offering pub grub with a special emphasis on ingredient-packed thin-crust pizzas, quesadillas, and twice-baked potatoes.

TAVERNA CORVINO

1117 S. Charles St., (410) 727-1212, tavernacorvino.com

$$ Vg Out L D Br Rsv

Souped-up Italian small plates come to Federal Hill. Think beef Bolognese with house-made spaghetti and local Roseda beef or grilled calamari enlivened with golden raisins and olives.

THAI ARROY

1019 Light St., (410) 385-8587, thaiarroy.com

$$ Out L D

Drunken noodles have the right balance of savory and sweet. Fried fish in curry sauce manages to retain its crispness. Salads are citrusy bright and fresh. And service is gracious, even when this storefront is packed.

THAI YUM

1006 Light St., (410) 528-2146, thaiyum.com

$$ Out L D

Ten-O-Six is now Thai Yum, marking a change to a strictly Thai menu. Chicken satay and Thai yum are strong starters, and the menu encompasses curries, stir fries, and noodle dishes, as well as slightly more daring specialty entrees such as green avocado curry fish.

Eat 2011 Contents
  • Pleased? Eat: City Paper's Annual Dining Guide | 3/2/2011
  • Federal Hill ABBEY BURGER BISTRO 1041 Marshall St., (443) 453-9698, abbeyburgerbistro.com $$ 10pm L D A bar devoted to gourmet burgers, not French fare. And we’re grateful, because who wouldn’t savor local Roseda beef topped with a drippy fried egg (or foie gra | 3/2/2011
  • South Baltimore BARRACUDAS: A LOCUST POINT TAVERN 1230 E. Fort Ave., (410) 685-2832, cudabarracuda.com $$ L D Br This small Locust Point neighborhood spot serves pubby standards with a few beachy twists (jerk chicken salad) and some serious local flavor (coddies). | 3/2/2011
  • Canton/Highlandtown ACROPOLIS 4714-4718 Eastern Ave., (410) 675-3384, acropolisbaltimore.com $$ L D There’s hearty and wholesome fare for Olympian appetites at this casual and cavernous Greektown mainstay. Lamb, seafood, and crab cakes are the house specialties, and al | 3/2/2011
  • Fells Point ALE MARY’S 1939 Fleet St., (410) 276-2044, alemarys.com $$ Out 10pm L D Br You can get tater tots as an appetizer or alongside any of the well-crafted sandwiches in various states of loaded-ness. The menu ranges from bar food standards to more ambi | 3/2/2011
  • Little Italy ALDO’S 306 S. High St., (410) 727-0700, aldositaly.com $$$ Vg d Rsv This Little Italy gem assembles choice ingredients in flawless preparations, nimbly negotiating the terrain between respectfulness for old-world tradition and mindfulness of contem | 3/2/2011
  • Harbor East BAGBY PIZZA CO. 1006 Fleet St., (410) 605-0444, bagbypizza.com $$ Out L D Bagby is the pizza place you wish was in your own neighborhood. Pie crusts are cracker thin, pastas and salads are homemade and generous, and service aims to please. CHARL | 3/2/2011
  • Downtown ALEWIFE 21 N. Eutaw, (410) 545-5112, alewifebaltimore.com $$ L D Alewife’s biggest draw may be its 40 beer taps, but the newest pub to fill the space across from the Hippodrome offers decent gourmet sandwiches and entrees too. Look for various in-ho | 3/2/2011
  • Mount Vernon/Bolton Hill/Station North ABACROMBIE FINE FOODS AND ACCOMMODATIONS 58 W. Biddle St., (410) 837-3630, abacrombie.net $$$ D B Rsv This basement spot has long held a culinary reputation that dwarfs its intimate size. It’s current menu of care-taken upscale comfort foods uphold | 3/2/2011
  • Charles Village/Waverly ALIZÉE 4 W. University Pkwy, (443) 449-6200, alizeebaltimore.com $$$ P Vg B L D Br Alizée has gone from fusion to high-concept comfort food. The menu changes seasonally, but look for bistro-inspired fare—roasted chicken, lamb confit, rabbit—all done | 3/2/2011
  • Roland Park/Mount Washington ALONSO’S 415 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 235-3433, alonsos.com $$ L D There’s been an upscale revamping and the pizzas have been gussied up. The immense burgers, though, are still here. BANSKY’S Cafe Lake Falls Village, 6080 Falls Road, (410) 377 | 3/2/2011
  • Hampden/Remington 13.5 WINE BAR 1117 W. 36th St., (410) 889–1064, 13.5winebar.com $$ Out 10pm D The Avenue gets a very well done wine list, along with a very well-turned-out menu of gourmet nibbles, pizzas, and entrees. ALCHEMY 1011 W. 36th St., (410) 366-1163, a | 3/2/2011
  • Belvedere Square ATWATER’S Belvedere Square Market 529 E. Belvedere Ave., (410) 323-2396 (and various other locations); atwaters.biz $ P Out L D It sells home-style breads and tasty sandwiches at its multiple locations (and the cream puffs at the Belvedere Square ba | 3/2/2011
  • Hamilton BIG BAD WOLF’S HOUSE OF BARBECUE 5713 Harford Road, (410) 444-6422 $$ Out L D Hamilton carry-out joint dispenses tender animal parts in classic regional sauces—Kansas City sweet and spicy, Carolina mustard or vinegar, and Texas pit style, our favor | 3/2/2011
  • County ANDY NELSON’S BARBEQUE 11011 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 527-1226, andynelsonsbbq.com $$ P Out L D Everything is slow-smoked over hickory wood. Ribs are a must-eat, the pulled-pork sandwich is orgasmic, and all the homemade sides are fantastic. W | 3/2/2011
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