For the past couple of years, many Baltimoreans had been lamenting the fact that no Baltimore City Chinese restaurant served Dim Sum. The last place that served it, The Chinatown Cafe, stopped the practice about two years ago. After that, the next closest place for Dim Sum was Jesse Wongs Hong Kong in Downtown Columbia, but that has reportedly closed as of December. Chinatown Cafe has since closed as well, but in its place is a new Chinese Restaurant called Zhongshan that is bringing Dim Sum back to Baltimore (323 Park Ave (410) 223-1881).
Dim Sum basically consists of moderately priced small plates and is sometimes served on carts. Many people consider Dim Sum menus to be more authentic than the typical Chinese food one might pick up at PF Changs or the corner carry-out. Supposedly Zhongshan will serve Dim Sum every day from 7am to 3pm. Lots of times people like to eat Dim Sum for brunch on weekends. If you haven’t tried it before, I would recommend it…just a word of caution for those with some food aversions…many Dim Sum menus contain items like Chicken Feet and Honeycomb Beef Tripe. Not into Dim Sum? Zhongshan will also serve the standard Chinese fare that we’re all familiar with.
Click Here to see the Baltimore Sun Article
I haven’t make it over to Zhongshan yet, so anyone who has, please post your thoughts as a comment.
Fortunately this one won’t require a trip to Vietnam, this Vietnamese Restaurant is right here in Baltimore. Mekong Delta Cafe, which recently opened up at 105 W Saratoga St just West of Mt. Vernon has been serving up some delicious food and making some very big waves with local foodies.
The Cafe itself is very small and simple and the decor and furnishings are modest. It’s obvious that it is a family owned establishment. There is no liquor license, so BYOB. Because of the small size it’s probably not a good place to bring a large group. Because it’s family operated, the service is friendly and gracious, but somewhat slow, so don’t come if you’re in a hurry.
The food, however, is unbelievable. I started with a summer roll that came with some type of peanut sauce. The vegetables in the summer roll were incredibly fresh and the shrimp were plump and perfectly cooked. The presentation was simple but beautiful. As an entree, I had the crab and shrimp fried rice. It had a real nice flavor and spice to it…not overpowering….delicious. I think I ate every last kernel of rice on the plate. My fellow diner had the Pho which was also reported to be delicious and fresh. Best of all, the place is very affordable. The bill came to $20.85 for two people, and for what you get, Mekong Delta offers a great bang for the buck. Don’t forget to bring cash…credit cards are not accepted.
Mekong Delta Cafe
105 W Saratoga St
Baltimore, MD 21201
Click Here to Read the Review in the Baltimore Sun
It all started with Pinkberry in California. Recently similar yogurt stores that offer frozen treats mixed with fresh fruit or other toppings have been popping up across the country. Think of it as a Coldstone or Maggie Moos but with yogurt instead of ice cream. Now it’s Baltimore’s turn…with the opening of Mr. Yogato in Fells Point where Eclectic Elements used to be (723 S. Broadway). This will be Mr. Yogato’s second store…the other one is in DC. No info yet on when the shop will open, but lets hope that we’ll be enjoying some frozen treats before the heat of the summer arrives.
Visit their website: http://www.mryogato.com/
I finally managed to make it over to Corks in Federal Hill restaurant to see the place. It reopened a few months ago after some renovations and a reformatting. A lot of the new format had to do with the menu, which now has a good mix of mdeium priced along with higher priced entrees.
The restaurant looks very small from the front, but it opens up to a larger dining room in back. There’s also an upper balcony for additional seating. I went on a Friday and business was brisk, although the place was not 100% full. There was plenty of room to move around, and it wasn’t one of those places where your table is 6 inches away from the one next to yours (thankfully).
I would definitely recommend starting out with the Merguez Corn Dogs. It comes with two Spanish sausages, battered (just like at the MD state fair), and served with a really nice spicy mustard. It’s also served over a bed of popcorn with freshly grated cheese. It doesn’t seem like it would, but the flavors mix well, especially the spicy mustard with the salty popcorn.
The restaurant has an extensive wine list, which remains fairly pricey, along with multiple selections of Foie Gras. However, there’s some lesser priced entrees including sandwiches and burgers for around $9-$12.
I couldn’t resist the Filet Mingon however, which was local and organically raised. It was advertised as a 10 oz portion, but it had to have been at least 16 ounces…it was huge! I asked for it medium well, but it had a bit more pink in the middle than I care for…probably because the piece was so gigantic. The waitress came by to ask if it was cooked to my taste, so could have taken the opportunity to throw it back on the grill, but it was so delicious, I was enjoying it too much to part ways…even if only for a few minutes.
Just announced, Talara, a “Neuvo Latino Tapas Restaurant” will open up at the prominent location on the corner of President and Fleet Streets in Harbor East. The menu appears to be promising with the highlights being a “Seviche Bar” and a drink menu with seven types of Mojitos. The restaurant will open in April 2009 http://www.talarabaltimore.com/
Baltimore Magazine reports that the owner of Ryleigh’s Oyster is taking over Juniors Wine Bar in Federal Hill. The restaurant/bar will undergo a name change and will be reformatted. The new name will be “Taverna Corvino”.
Baltimore Magazine also reported that Ryleigh’s restaurant group will be opening another restaurant called Avery’s Pearl set to open in the spring.
Read about both of these restaurants here: http://www.baltimoremagazine.net/ingoodtaste/index.php/2009/02/now-i-can-tell-you/
“Brasserie 10 South” recently opened at 10 S. Calvert Street and is associated with the new Club Lux. Supposedly the setup is apparently similar to Red Maple in Mt. Vernon. http://www.brasserie10south.com/
Also, recently opened in Mt. Vernon is “Marie Louise Bistro”, 904 N. Charles St, with a menu that reflects French, Italian, and Mediterranean food. So far, the place has been getting good reviews.
Got any tips on new restaurants coming to town? E-mail me! firstname.lastname@example.org
It looks like 2009 might be the year for upscale casual restaurants in Baltimore. It seems like a whole slew of them are in the works across the city, despite the current economic conditions. Maybe they’re counting on the regulars at Charleston, Prime Rib, and Tio Pepe to cheapening up a little bit. However, it’s probably more likely that that the upscale casual dining option is just becoming more popular.
The Maryland Daily Record recently reported on a bunch of these types of eateries opening on the West Side of the harbor, including Frank & Nic’s West End Grill, which just opened in the Zenith Apartment Building across from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Click below to read the article.
The article also gave us some updates on two other restaurants that BaltimoreGrows has been tracking. Sullivans Steakhouse http://www.sullivansteakhouse.com/is set to open in February or March, with Kona Grille http://www.konagrill.com/ set to open in April. Both will be located in the Verizon Building at Pratt and Light Streets. Supposedly, Redstone Grill http://www.redstonegrill.com/ was going to set up shop in the same building, but may back out of the deal.
Miss Irene’s, which recently opened in Fells Point (1738 Thames St (410) 522-2255) brings a new level of “upscale casual dining” to the area. The former dive bar in the heart of Fells seemed like it took forever to renovate…about three years. It was worth the wait…the inside is amazing.
The place is trimmed out in dark wood…making it a cozy place to hang out or dine. There is a large bar downstairs surrounded by tables, with a smaller more intimate bar on the 2nd floor. The dining room (also upstairs) has a cathedral ceiling with giant chandeliers. It makes you feel like you’re dining in a castle. The mediterranean influenced food complemented the ambiance well. I had the braised lamb shank which was so tender it nearly dissolved on my tongue. Entrees range from a grilled Wagyu Beef Burger for $15 to House-made pasta tossed with walnuts, dates, figs, Humboldt fog and lobster for $26.
There was a very healthy selection of beers on tap. I must admit I didn’t get a chance to delve into the wine list. The cocktail list is an incredibly creative collection of mostly Gin drinks. I believe most of them are unique to Miss Irene’s.
If you like Beer, good food, gin, or a cozy upscale casual place to hang out, then Miss Irene’s is a must see.
The Baltimore Business Journal reported that Red Brick Pizza, a California Pizza chain, plans on opening about 30 locations in the Baltimore area over the next few years…including locations in Baltimore City. No information as to any specific locations though. Visit http://www.redbrickpizza.com/
Despite the nation’s economic woes, there still seem to be some new restaurants coming to Baltimore.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the Bagby Building (along Fleet Street in Fells Point) will be the new home to a brick oven pizzeria and a new American fusion bistro. A Verizon Wireless store recently opened in the same building which also has room for two more restaurants. There’s an area available for outdoor seating as well.
The Sun also reported that while Tsunami, the sushi restaurant on Central Avenue north of Harbor east, has closed, the owners plan to open a new restaurant in its place. Supposedly the new restaurant will either be an Australian gastropub or a Mexican-Latino theme. Tsunami’s sushi will now be available at its sister restaurant, Lemongrass, next door.
And the Baltimore Business Journal reported that an “upscale casual” eatery is planned for the Zenith Apartment building on the city’s West Side. The publication also noted that the upscale italian chain “Vapiano” is scouting locations in Baltimore City. Vapiano’s only other US locations are in the Washington DC area and Ft. Meyers Florida.
Babas Mediterranean Kitchen recently opened on Fort Avenue in the Riverside Park neighborhood (which sits between Federal Hill and Locust Point). It’s nice to see another option for relatively cheap food in the area, that isn’t the same old South Baltimore sub/pizza shop. Babas is located next to Lime mexican restaurant in spot where Brunos sub shop used to be. We’ve eaten there once and enjoyed it. Although there menu is somewhat limited. Other reviews on the Web have been mixed, and some have compained that Babas has odd hours. They did a really nice job on the rennovation.
Check out the Sun’s review