Burke's is not necessarily the kind of eatery you'd take someone on a first date, unless it wasn't going well. It looks like a diner stuffed into a Swiss chalet. But Burke's wouldn't still be standing after 75 years if it didn't have good American staples at reasonable prices. Given the ever-changing harbor area and the demise of Martick's and Marconi's, there's something comforting about taking a step back in time at Burke's.
This staid bar/restaurant on the northwest edge of Hampden has a long-standing reputation for serving possibly the best burger in town. Moist, hefty, well seasoned and cooked, and available with myriad equally well-prepared toppings, but honest and straightforward, never too fancy-shmancy--it's a freaking burger after all. The awesome battered fries that come on the side don't hurt either. Entrees, particularly specials, are well executed and of hearty portions; baked potato soup is outstanding as are grilled pork chops.
Open for just over four years now, Metropolitan still has the food and service of a new kid on the block. In other words, it's still good, and the staff still tries. This small Federal Hill hangout is chic yet warm, with a mod black-and-red exterior and a rich wood and exposed-brick interior. With an atmosphere that's everything a city restaurant should be, the mostly American menu is also consistently interesting and tasty. A craving for the blueberry pancakes will expose you to the highlight of the morning there: a self-service coffee station offering a wide variety of freshly brewed, high quality coffee.
With its dining facilities and a downstairs bar a hot spot for the rainbow flag set, the Stable is a good option for a laid-back dinner or a beer-fueled rager. Though service may be slower than desired, the waitstaff treats you like family. Often you don't even realize how long your food takes to arrive because your perky waiter keeps you entertained, making you feel like a new best friend. The Stable is known for its baby back ribs, which are unimpeachable, but some other dishes fail to live up to expectations. The Reubenesque and the Caesar salad are good staples to fall back on.
Peter Angelos' old-fashioned restaurant has managed to survive its tough location at Perring Parkway and McLean Boulevard, and on any given evening, Perring Place will be filled with a distinctly older crowd enjoying martinis and crab cakes, Manhattans and prime rib, and waitresses in black and white uniforms who never fail to call you "hon." If you like liver and onions, by all means order it here.
One of the few survivors of old-school Baltimore fine dining, the Prime Rib is still the place to go for truly special occasions. It possesses that rare confluence of supremely good service, genuinely swank environs, and, of course, utterly superlative cuisine, all present on an unwaveringly consistent basis. It's hard not to order the gorgeous and exquisite prime rib, but seafood here is also exceptional. The expertly aged beef is a step above even the most "upscale" of the chain steakhouses that have cropped up in town. And yes, jackets are still required for gentlemen.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201