Bolton Hill’s dining scene has long been on the sleepier side, but with new development popping up, there are changes afoot. The Tilted Row, which opened earlier this year, is an exciting part of that progress.
Before I stepped foot inside Nepenthe Brewing Co., I’d already heard a lot about it. I knew it was a new concept for Nepenthe Homebrew, a well-respected shop within the local homebrewing community that moved after a series of floods ravaged its building in the Meadow Mill complex next to the Jones Falls.
I’d also heard, through friends, that the new Nepenthe location was a lot of fun. They were right. During our visit, Nepenthe’s food was uneven, but there was a lot to like about it; the space, drinks and people went a long way towards making up for a few imperfections from the kitchen.
Orto is hot right now, and with good reason.
The Station North restaurant isn’t perfect; during a Saturday night visit about two months after it opened, we experienced some service hiccups. But even with room to improve, Orto is very good.
Orto, which opened in February, is the baby of Elan Kotz, whose previous restaurant experience includes opening The Food Market with Chad Gauss back in 2012. Kotz is a front-of-house and behind-the-scenes guy; Orto’s kitchen is helmed by Chef Stefano Porcile, who has recently cooked at erstwhile Station North favorites Colette and Bottega.
Family-friendly yet stylish, with a large, varied menu of elevated comfort foods and a lively bar scene, State Fare in downtown Catonsville hits a sweet spot of being broadly pleasing without dumbing down its offerings.
The Alexander Brown Restaurant is, without a doubt, one of the best-looking places in Baltimore. The restaurant, which opened downtown in early February in the former home of the Alex. Brown investment house, has the air of a well-maintained museum. The 118-year-old building is full of gorgeous architectural flourishes: high ceilings, marble columns and a showstopper of a stained-glass ceiling.
Gypsy’s Truckstaurant is as much fun as a college party, but its menu of global street food is a whole lot better than anything you’d find in an average campus kitchen.
A few years ago, I interviewed Karin Tiffany, the co-owner of Peter’s Inn, for a feature on restaurant personalities, and we got to talking about what’s important to her as a restaurateur.
She said she never takes her customers for granted, that she and her husband/business partner, Bud Tiffany, recognize that going out to eat is expensive and they take it seriously that people are willing to spend their money on their food, at their restaurant.
“Some things on my menu might cost what people make in an hour. That’s your hard-earned money. It’s a big responsibility.”
That stuck with me, and I thought of it again last year, just after Christmas, when the Fells Point restaurant caught fire. The damage was severe enough that Peter’s Inn, which had at that point been open for over 20 years, was forced to close for nine months to make all the necessary repairs.
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.
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.
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.