Restaurant Review

La Calle’s modern take on Mexican food is a winner

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Octopus with cactus salad is one of many successful dishes on La Calle’s modern Mexican menu.

It’s been 25 years since salsa overtook ketchup as the most sold condiment in the United States, but Baltimore’s embrace of serious Mexican food is a newer phenomenon. And a phenomenon it is. The recent success of legitimately authentic Mexican spots like Clavel and Cocina Lucahadoras is a heartening development.

Patterson Public House delivers a five-star experience in a neighborhood restaurant setting

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Photo by Kit Pollard

We went to Patterson Public House expecting good wings and probably a solid burger. As it turns out, our expectations were too low.

The restaurant, which opened during the summer in the former home of Bistro Rx, is turning out genuinely sophisticated food–and not just pub fare, either. Plus, the service is five-star stuff. The Patterson Public House team is simply doing things right, all the way around.

Restaurant Review: In Fells Point, Duck Duck Goose makes fine dining fun, with a few caveats

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Can fine dining be fun?

Duck Duck Goose, a French brasserie that opened in Fells Point earlier this summer, makes a pretty good case that it’s possible. Though the menu is elegant and the kitchen, helmed by owner and executive chef Ashish Alfred, obviously takes food seriously, the Duck Duck Goose vibe is more festive than reverential–and that is a good thing.

La Buco di Marco’s pizza shows promise, but the Butchers Hill restaurant needs adjustments to flourish

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Pizza is a highlight at La Buco di Marco in Butchers Hill.

About halfway through our dinner at La Buco di Marco, “Welcome to the Jungle” came on the radio. It was the right song at the right time. The restaurant, at that moment, was starting to feel a little wild.

Restaurant Review: Blair’s on Hudson is a neighborhood restaurant with global flair

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Photo by Kit Pollard

The first thing that happened when I walked into Blair’s on Hudson was that I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen in a few years. It was a Thursday night and Blair’s was packed. Judging by the level of chatter and laughter in the air, we weren’t the only guests who had discovered an old friend at the bar or at the next table.

Restaurant Review: Chez Hugo Bistro is a stellar addition to Baltimore’s restaurant scene

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Photo courtesy of Chez Hugo Bistro.

With the fancy food coming out of the kitchen brought out by a wait staff dressed in jeans, Chez Hugo Bistro is a place that straddles the line between the old-school, white-tablecloth notions of high-end French cuisine and the new, more democratic approach to “good” food that characterizes 21st century American restaurants.

At Puerto 511, a recently refreshed space complements terrific flavors

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Photo by Kit Pollard

Thirty-five years ago, Elizabeth Large, then the restaurant critic at The Sun, reviewed the Little Italy restaurant Velleggia’s, which had recently undergone a major renovation.

According to Large, at the time, it was practically unheard of for a restaurant to completely transform its physical space. “I’ve never known a successful restaurant to do what Velleggia’s in Little Italy did,” she wrote.

Today, on the other hand, that sort of undertaking is commonplace. In the current restaurant market where diners are informed, social media rules and genuinely good restaurants open regularly, even highly lauded, fairly new restaurants know better than to rest on their laurels.

Case in point: Puerto 511.

Foraged Eatery uses local ingredients in a menu that’s both adventurous and approachable

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Foraged Eatery opened in Hampden in late December.

How do you feel about pig parts?

It’s entirely likely that this is a question you’ve never asked yourself, but it’s something dinner at Foraged Eatery will force you to consider.

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