Martin Knott — business owner, political guru and father of four — is one of those guys who seems to know everyone and everything in Baltimore. He is funny, very funny. Vince Vaughn-caliber funny. Based on those qualities alone he was on my short list to interview. What I didn’t know? He’s super passionate about food. I love the way his hippie tendencies (he is currently guest lecturing on “Dylan and The Dead” at McDonogh School) came through in his surprising answers.
I can’t wait to try his off-the-beaten path suggestions. Maybe I’ll ask him to join me. It’s bound to be more fun that way!
Home cook assessment: Do you consider Durkee Onions and Campbell’s Mushroom Soup legitimate ingredients or cheating?
Totally legitimate. We all have to eat and we want it to taste good. How you get there is up to the individual and it turns out that stuff tastes good.
Saturday night with the wife: Where do you book? What do you order?
We are at the Ambassador. Binda and Kehar are the best hosts in Baltimore. They always put us in front of the fireplace. It’s all so good, but we usually go with the eggplant appetizer followed by the lamb vindaloo for me and the chicken tikka masala for Allison. Oh, and the vegetable samosas are seriously great too.
Where would you take fun friends in from New York?
I would want them to get a true sense of the city and for that I say Peter’s Inn (in Fells Point). It’s just so Baltimore. The atmosphere feels totally authentic. You can get a Natty Boh at the bar. They have a million great restaurants in New York but they don’t have Baltimore.
How about for a celebratory dinner?
I’m going with the Prime Rib.
Where is your go-to place with the kids?
Italian Garden’s, Red Robin and lately the Green Turtle in Hunt Valley. They love it because they can go over to Dick’s afterwards and buy our 500th basketball.
Any drive-ins, diners and dives?
The New Wyman Park Restaurant has a great breakfast and lunch. Jong Kak is a Korean barbeque spot downtown that is my go-to for a late night stop off. It’s ridiculously good.
What new restaurant are you dying to try?
I hear the Towson Tavern is good.
Where do you grocery shop and why?
I shop at Eddie’s just to make Dennis Graul mad. Just kidding. I shop at Graul’s. My whole family has gone there for years and I love recent renovations. We are also a huge farmer’s market family. In the summer months we hit the 32nd Street Farmer’s market every weekend.
Is there a food item that you regularly go out of your way to buy?
Can’t get enough kale these days. We bake kale chips in the morning and eat them all day.
What Baltimore restaurant has the best vibe?
For me? The Curb Shoppe in Mt. Washington. You literally feel like you are in a bar from college. The owner cooks up great bar food and there is an outstanding jukebox that has inspired great dance parties. We have started to befriend the regulars who are so nice. It’s the perfect place to start or end an evening out.
OK, we gotta do it. Best crab cake?
Hands down Faidley’s. Everyone knows that and if you don’t you haven’t tried them. Faidley’s.
Anything on your wish list for the Baltimore food scene?
I would love more ethnic places. African, Middle Eastern, Asian. I love discovering new flavors.