L is for Lunch
Women's Industrial Exchange · Sascha's Daily · Mughal Garden · Akbar · Bombay Grill · Nate's and Leon's · Snyder's Cafe and Deli
Sascha's Daily (5 E. Hamilton St.,  659-7606) just might be one of the most underrated restaurants in town. An attractive, humble little shop tucked away just off Charles Street in the heart of downtown, Sascha's lunchtime light fare is consistently a cut above (they make a great ham and brie on a baguette), its daily hot-food special always hearty and reasonably priced (we love the lasagna), and its cookies soft and sinful. Sascha's recently set up an offshoot inside the Walters Art Gallery.
If we've remembered to wear pants with an elastic waist, we occasionally treat ourselves to the gluttonous wonders of Mughal Garden (920 N. Charles St.,  547-0001), Akbar (823 N. Charles St.,  539-0944), or Bombay Grill (2 E. Madison St.,  837-2973). All three of Mount Vernon's Indian establishments host enormous, economical luncheon buffets. Novices get their first taste of delicacies such as the navrattan korma; regulars crowd their plates with mild palak paneer, creamy badam pasanda, and spicy alu ghobi, instead of having to choose just one. Most importantly, all three buffets include dessert, usually cool, creamy khir, which we'd never get at lunch otherwise.
Nate's and Leon's (300 W. Pratt St.,  234-8100) may be located in the heart of the Camden Yards/Inner Harbor tourist district, but its heart lies further east, on Lombard Street's Corned Beef Row (even though the original N&L's opened farther north still, in 1935 on North Avenue). The spacious bar/restaurant's menu includes some nods to California cuisine (veggie sandwiches, grilled salmon, mesclun greens, etc.) but mostly stays true to the traditional Jewish deli, with plenty of chopped liver, roast brisket, and, of course, juicy corned beef. A bit of advice: take the light rail to Camden Yards if you're visiting from outside the harbor area--parking is a bear.
Snyder's Café and Deli (9616 Reisterstown Road, Valley Centre, Owings Mills,  581-2999) styles itself as, well, both a café (pizza, salads, wings) and a deli (corned beef, knishes, etc.). We'll take the latter: Snyder's has an entertainingly extensive menu of old deli favorites and does a respectable job with the likes of lox, brisket, kishka, and potato pancakes. We'd be more impressed if they'd offer up a free pickle platter like the delicatessens of old (now that's how you start a lunch), but this being the modern world, we suppose we'll take what we can get.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201