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Eat Feature

Out-of-Town Baltimore

Braznell's Caribbean Kitchen · Saigon Restaurant · Thai Restaurant · Matsuri · Lisa's Cofee House · Ze Mean Bean Café · Blue Nile · Azeb's Ethiopian Restaurant · The Helmand · Ariana Restaurant

Sam Holden
The Black Olive

Eat Special Issue 1998

The Hours and the Times A Day in the Life of Baltimore Dining

Woke Up, Got Out of Bed Pete's Grille · Blue Moon Café and Espresso Bar · Bel-Loc Diner · Suburban House · Golden West Café · Cinnamon House · Jimmy's Restaurant

Baltimore, the City that Brunches Morning Edition Café · Weber's on Boston · Loco Hombre · Regi's American Bistro · Louie's Bookstore Café · Mount Vernon Stable and Saloon · Hull Street Blues · Grand Palace

The Noon Whistle Women's Industrial Exchange · Thairish · Silk Road Café · Suzie's Soba · Faidley's Seafood · Caribbean Kitchen · Minato Japanese Restaurant · The Bridge · Silk Road · Troia Bistro at the Walters · Caf

Meet Me at the Trough New No Da Ji · Sushi Chalet · Mughal Garden · Akbar · Bombay Grill · Attman's Authentic New York Delicatessen · The Roost · The Yellow Bowl · Micah's Cafeteria

Not Now, I'm on Break The Daily Grind · Funk's Democratic Coffee Spot · Donna's Coffee Bar · City Café · Java Joe's · One World Café · Strand Cybercafé · Coney Island

Get Happy Brass Elephant · Neon Moon · Globe Brewing Co. · The Brewer's Art · The Wharf Rat · John Steven, Ltd. · Kisling's · J.C.'s Bar and Grill · Nick's Inner Harbour Seafood Co. · Birds of a Feather · Bertha's

The Dinner Bell Breakfast is about responsibility, lunch is about sustenance, but dinner . . . dinner is about oppor...

Old Baltimore Haussner's · Martick's · Sabatino's · Da Mimmo · Palmer House · Gunning's Crab House · Bo Brooks · Obrycki's · Ikaros · Uncle Lee's Szechuan Restaurant · Tony Cheng's Szechuan Restaurant · Jerry's Bel

Road Kill The Fine Art of Dining à la Curb | By Joe MacLeod

New Baltimore Joy American Café · Sotto Sopra · Zodiac · Holy Frijoles · Corks · The Wild Mushroom · Jr. · Ruby Lounge

New Old Baltimore Winterling's · Mamie's Café · The Trolley Stop · Morgan Millard · Bay Breeze · Owl Bar · La Tavola · Opa

Big Night Baltimore The Black Olive · Tersiguel's · Kings Contrivance · Rudy's 2900 · Pierpoint · The Prime Rib · Tio Pepe's

TV Dinners Mediterranean Palace · Sushi Café · Iola Café · Al Pacino Café · Ledo Pizza · Tamber's Nifty Fifties Dining · Banjara/Singh Express · Chokchai

Out-of-Town Baltimore Braznell's Caribbean Kitchen · Saigon Restaurant · Thai Restaurant · Matsuri · Lisa's Cofee House · Ze Mean Bean Café · Blue Nile · Azeb's Ethiopian Restaurant · The Helmand · Ariana Restaurant

Out-of-Towner Baltimore Hard Rock Café · Baltimore Brewing Co. · Waterfront · Lista's · Joe Theismann's · Della Notte · Phillip's

Where Everybody Knows Your Name Café Tattoo · Sisson's Restaurant · Henninger's · Alonso's · Charles Village Pub · Mick O'Shea's · Kelly's · Buddies Pub & Jazz Club · Swallow at the Hollow · Peter's Inn

Cast Party Henry & Jeff's/Arrogant Director · La Tesso Tano · Thai Landing · Café Zen · Spike and Charlie's

Sweet Surrender Cheesecake Factory · Vaccaro's · Café Hon · Riverside Roastery and Espresso

In the Midnight Hour Valentino's · Captain James Landing · Sip & Bite · Double-T Diner · Gampy's · Nam Kang

Posted 2/25/1998

It's not just a meal, it's an adventure at any of Baltimore's growing array of eateries offering culinary exotica, where the wonders of chicken berbere, curried goat, and holupki with a side of latkes await. We're not exactly a U.N. of food just yet, but we're getting there, moving out beyond the breakers of Chinese and Mexican, Italian and Greek into the relatively uncharted seas of Afghan and Ethiopian and myriad other delights. Come on in--the water's great.

Braznell's Caribbean Kitchen (1623 E. Baltimore St., [410] 327-2445) is one of Baltimore's best bets if you're looking for something funky and a bit out-of-the-way. You'll recognize this place a few blocks from Fells Point by the big white sign towering over Baltimore Street and the year-round Christmas lights in the window; you'll remember it for the tantalizing Trinidadian fare (especially the wonderfully curried rhotis)--if your memory's not impaired by owner/bartender Alfred Braznell's tangy calypso punches.

Exotic eats in prosaic surroundings: Belair-Edison's Saigon Restaurant (3345 Belair Road, [410] 276-0055) offers up the likes of jack-fruit shakes and grilled minced shrimp speared with sugar cane. Vietnamese cuisine is an acquired taste but you're liable to acquire it within the first few bites of the super-gingery chicken dish com ga siu siu an dong.

Decorated with carved wood screens and silk paintings, the graceful dining room of Waverly's Thai Restaurant (3316 Greenmount Ave., [410] 889-7303) is a wonderful place to experience the sometimes subtle, sometimes fiery joys of Thai food. The aptly named eatery does an admirable job with Thai classics from tod man pla (shrimp and fish cakes) to the ever popular pad Thai (the tofu version is especially good). Afterwards, the intensely sweet Thai iced coffee will leave you buzzing to beat the band.

These days, when you can get sushi at strip malls, Matsuri (1105 S. Charles St., [410] 752-8561) might be the only place left in Baltimore that can still make Japanese food seem challenging and exotic. (Perhaps the sumo wrestling that seems to air perpetually on the house TV has something to do with it.) This tiny Federal Hill haunt is funkier than the city's other Japanese restaurants, more casual, and less expensive. The dramatically presented sushi and sashimi are quite good, but Matsuri's menu ventures far beyond the sushi bar. The terrific shrimp dumplings, steaming bowls of outstanding udon noodle soup, and sesame-sprinkled teriyaki salmon are all authentically Japanese and entirely excellent.

Lisa's Cofee House (2110 N. Charles St ., [410] 727-7081) is a quaint Charles Village eatery, the Ukrainian roots of which show up in both the spelling of its name and the menu full of Black Sea specialties. The borscht--either hot or cold--is not to be missed; nor are other unusual-to-Baltimore dishes such as pierogies and kasha. The homemade pastries are excellent, and the coffee--oops, cofee--is swell as well.

Ze Mean Bean Café (1739-41 Fleet St., [410] 675-5999) is an espresso bar serving the usual lite fare--but then these days, what café isn't? Ze Mean Bean's true talents lie in the Slavic portion of the menu, where terrific treats such as holupki (cabbage rolls) and potato pancakes await. Best of all are the pierogies, succulent dumplings bursting with potato, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruit fillings--too delicious for words. Don't miss the homemade breads and desserts, either, especially the heavenly apple pie.

One of the area's most positive recent culinary developments is the long-overdue emergence of an Ethiopian-restaurant scene. OK, it's just two places, but we'll take it. We like the Blue Nile (2101 N. Charles St., [410] 783-0982) for lunch--the big-windowed storefront lets in plenty of sunshine and the marvelously ritualistic coffee service seems like a decadent midday treat, especially on the heels of spicy heaps of doro wat (stewed chicken) and kitfo (collard greens with spiced cheese) scooped up, in the traditional Ethiopian fashion, with spongy injera bread. Come nightfall we prefer the darker, more elegant Azeb's Ethiopian Restaurant (322 N. Charles St., [410] 625-9787), with its traditional place settings, colorful murals, and liquor license. Chicken or beef in peppery berbere sauce always makes for good sub-Saharan eats, but we particularly recommend the veggie platter, groaning with lentils, split peas, cabbage, and more on a bed of injera.

A perennial contender for City Paper's annual Best Restaurant honors (and a winner last year), the Helmand (806 N. Charles St., [410] 752-0311) conjures up Afghan food that rushes right past delicious into the realm of the sublime. We honestly cannot get enough of the aushak (leek ravioli in a ground-beef or split-pea sauce), spinach-stuffed eggplant, tomato-y mushroom or chicken lawand, and pan-fried pumpkin, nor do we ever expect to.

Down south--by which we mean Severna Park--Ariana Restaurant (584 Benfield Road, [410] 647-6964) juggles Afghan, Israeli, and even a bit of Indian and Greek, with a panache that belies its side-of-the-road strip-mall digs. The vegetable dishes, especially the mustardy mushrooms and the subtly spiced pumpkin, are particular highlights. And where else are you going to get Lebanese beer in north Arundel?

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