Reisterstown Road, Northwest Baltimore / Pikesville / Owings Mills
Lake trout may occupy a less-exalted rung on Baltimore's culinary ladder than, say, crab cakes or ersters, but at The Roost (5281 Reisterstown Road,  578-0232) the whiting-by-any-other-name gets the royal treatment. There's usually a midday line at this Northwest lunchery, but the efficient staff is used to crowds, so you won't have to wait too long for you gargantuan foil-wrapped order of golden fried fish. (There are also good ribs, if you're so inclined.) Cop some greens or sweet potatoes on the side, and get a serving of peach cobbler for lateryou'll be too full to finish it now.
Been big changes at Puffins Restaurant (1000 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville,  486-8811), the little eatery that started out to make whole-earthers happy. Over the years a little fish crept in, then a little chicken, and the desserts tasted like they were made with something tastier than wheat germ. These days, Puffins is touting California cuisine and "healthy" MexicanThai salad, coconut-crusted chicken or shrimp, quesadillas, fajitas, and burritos. Burgers and steaks, even. Maybe meat really is back.
Not that it ever really left, at least not at the treasure-trove of Jewish soul food that is Suburban House (911 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville,  484-7775). Reading the menu you'll be tempted to take the advice of Fiddler on the Roof's Golde and take a little bit of this, a little bit of thata little bit of corned beef, a little bit of chopped liver, a little bit of blintzes, a little bit of derma. (After which your pals can take you directly to Sinai Hospital, for a little bit of angioplasty.) Just be aware that your eyes are bigger than your stomach, or plan on sharing one of their huge sandwiches or platters:.
Which is all well and good if everyone wants deli. But what if you're slobbering for kugel and a tongue sandwich and your sweetie wants, oh, wings, or pizza, or taco salad? Head a little further north to Snyder's Café & Deli (9616 Reisterstown Road [Valley Centre Shopping Plaza], Owings Mills,  581-2999). This spacious, classic-movie-themed restaurant serves up traditional deli favorites along with pub-grubbish fare. The young wait staff is sometimes a little inattentiveespecially, for some odd reason, when business is slowbut if you're not in a hurry, the lean corned beef in particular is worth the wait.
What's silvery outside, black and white within, and serves breakfast anytime? If you're out northwest Baltimore County way, it's the New Towne Diner (11316 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills,  654-0066). Not that it's all comfort food at the New Towneas befitting its affluent surroundings, the diner serves up the likes of blackened fish and veal Française.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201