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Bret McCabe

Grand Café

Address:225 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 

More on Grand Café.

By Bret McCabe | Posted 10/14/2009

With its marble floors, granite counter tops, and posh ambience, this coffee-shop cousin to the Tremont Grand Hotel feels like its trying to be an opulent European café--you know, something you'd find in Vienna or anywhere in Eastern Europe the French migrated in the late-19th century. Grand Café isn't that grand, mind you--especially given its lunch items. A shrimp and crab wrap ($7.95) managed to make these tasty fruits de mare bland and common, served alongside lettuce and tomato and a characterless dressing. And with a bag of chips and small bottled water, lunch broke $10. Of course, savory isn't always the way to go at cafés, so stick with the Grand's morning offerings from its bakery display. Yes, there are croissant sandwiches and bagels, but notice how those danishes ($1.89) are about the diameter of a large pancake and three times as thick? The apple is sweet, delicious, and decadently filling, and pairs nicely with a small coffee ($1.50) that isn't a knockout brew, but more than hits the spot. The café offers the day's papers at the cream and sugar stand, and the tables--some inside, some out--finish off the wannabe-Euro vibe. And we will be back for lunch, as we spied a pistachio mousse and a Chambord variety ($4.95 each) that was as brightly colored as a freshly opened pomegranate. Hey, furlough work-weeks sometimes require dessert for lunch.

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