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Eat Feature

Exit 32

Belair Road, Northeast Baltimore / Perry Hall

Posted 2/23/2000

It's been on Belair Road so long we can't imagine it anywhere else, but Bo Brooks Crabhouse and Restaurant (5415 Belair Road, [410] 488-8144) is moving in May to Canton. We can take the relocation, but please, don't go upscale on us, Bo. We wouldn't trade those orange plastic chairs and trash buckets for anything. Nor the humongous onion rings, or the acclaimed cream-of-crab soup. Most of all, keep piling those mighty crustaceans on the table and keep pouring the pitchers.

When Bo goes, it will leave Glenmore Gardens (4813 Belair Road, [410] 488-2366) as Northeast's undisputed king of crustaceans. The crowd at the bar is always lively, which can raise the decibel level in the adjoining dining room, but come summer you'll be crackin' shells outdoors on the crab deck, where noise is part of the fun.

What we know of Vietnamese cuisine we first learned at Saigon Restaurant (3345 Belair Road, [410] 276-0055). Inside this unassuming storefront, we watched the owner's kids play as we savored fiery soups, savory starters, chicken in a clay pot, and shrimp cooked with sugarcane. And oh, at the end of a glorious cheap repast, to sip a glass of thick, sweet Vietnamese-style iced coffee. Heaven.

The Who wasn't thinking of Café Tattoo (4825 Belair Road, [410] 325-7427) when they came up with the album title Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy, but the bar/club/ restaurant/tattoo parlor lives up to the accolades. Moderately priced Tex-Mex-ish goodies (succulent hot ribs, incendiary chili, "kickin'" chicken wings, a hearty turkey-and-black-bean burrito) provide the meat, live local bands the beat, and a fine selection of drafts the bounce. Owner/in-house comedian Rick Catalano is trying to sell the joint through an essay contest, which should wind up in the spring; he says the 'Too will stay the same, but you never know. Better make sure you take in the full Catalano experience before accepting a substitute, as Pete Townshend would undoubtedly advise.

Exit the Beltway heading away from the city, travel a piece, watch for the proper strip mall on your left, and pull in eagerly to DiSanti's Pizza, Grill and Bar (9638 Belair Road, Perry Hall, [410] 256-2770). The pasta is great—not just the usual offerings, but unusual pairings of noodles with sauce, seafood, and other ingredients. If you've got a pizza jones, it'll help to know that this is the suburban outlet for Highlandtown's legendary Matthew's (see Exit 38), so you can sate yourself now and take home something tempting for the freezer.

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