Category Archives: Baltimore Restaurants

Restaurant Reviews

Baltimore Sandwiches: Regi’s Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Panini

Although most Baltimoreans know Regi’s for their American bistro-style dinner offerings, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s eaten there that they also offer an outstanding brunch on the weekends.  Regi’s, on Light Street in Federal Hill, opens early on Saturday and Sunday to provide some of the top breakfast dishes in the area.  In my times eating there I’ve seen almost everything on their menu get rave reviews, but arguably the best brunch item on the menu is the bacon, egg, and cheese panini.

Most people will immediately scoff at the notion that this sandwich can’t possibly be better than something they could get at countless other brunches around the city, but I assure you this sandwich is special.  First, it’s served on Texas toast, which is thick enough to contain and absorb all the egg while not being too thick and chewy, which is often the case with a bagel.  The eggs are scrambled perfectly and held together by just the right amount of cheddar cheese as not to overwhelm the taste buds.  The key, though, is the bacon.  Sliced thicker than in any restaurant I can recall, it’s cooked to just the right level of crispness to blend perfectly with the soft eggs and cheese.

Not only will you be treated to this amazing sandwich, but all of Regi’s brunch items are served with fantastic home fries that, again, are prepared crispy but not burnt.  When you wake up this Sunday after a night of drinking Bohs to celebrate the Ravens win over the Colts, consider heading to Regi’s for a panini that’s sure to start your day right.


There’s going to be a “Situation” in Baltimore Soon

On Thursday, February 11th, the legendary Mike Sorrentino, better known as “The Situation,” from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” will be making an appearance at Mad River Bar & Grill in Federal Hill. And by “appearance,” I mean, ordering lots of Jagr Bombs, showing everyone his abdominal muscles, and getting rejected by no fewer than 30 girls before, finally, bringing two ugly girls home who have no intention of hooking up with him. But, to be honest, he probably has too many otha tings goin on to really even care about dat anyways, the point is dat he coulda hooked up wit dem had he wanted to. It’s really their loss.

Bohs and O’s strongly encourages our readers to show up to this event. Not only is it a chance to see a reality celebrity, but it’s also a great opportunity to make fun of a reality celebrity. We haven’t seen such a pathetic and wildly delusional character as The Situation since the critically acclaimed Fox series, Paradise Hotel.

Bohs and O’s actually tried to start a twitter war with the Situation, but he was too much of a wuss to take on our superior intellects, not to mention biceps.

ALERT: Turp’s a Phony Baltimore Sports Bar

Last night I decided to pay Turp’s sports bar a visit. If you read my previous review of Turp’s, you know that I found it to be a great new spot in Mt. Vernon. The beers and food are delicious and cheap and there is Baltimore sports paraphernalia all over.

I’ve had my heart broken before and do not consider myself naive, thus I was aware from the start of Turp’s suspect credibility as a true Baltimore Sports Bar–which I will henceforth abbreviate as BSB. After all, a real BSB acquires the pieces of local lore and sports mementos that hang on its walls over many years of dedication to the city. Turp’s, by contrast, seems to have taken what I would call the “Applebee’s Approach,” and just bought a ton of Baltimore sports stuff in one fell swoop to appear to be legit. For a while, I have been content to give Turp’s the benefit of the doubt in terms of the bar’s intentions  and still consider it a BSB.

Does this look like a Raven to you?

However, last night all that changed. I was sipping my beer in one of the booths, when who should I see but the owner, John Turpin himself. As I approached with the intention  of buying him a cold Boh, I noticed that he was wearing a hat with the NFL emblem on the back. Even without being able to see the logo on the front, something–call it an innate  sense of Baltimore authenticity–told me that this was no Ravens hat. As Turpin turned, I began to see what could only  be described as a sideways blue and silver triangle which, as he continued turning, revealed itself to be none other that the star of the Dallas Cowboys!

How is one supposed to enjoy a BSB when the owner of said bar is practically flaunting his lack of allegiance to Baltimore sports?! I don’t know if Turpin is a Cowboys fan or if he is a Ravens fan that just thinks the Cowboys “have a cool logo” but both are equally offensive in my book. What makes it even worse is the illustration of John Turpin in the menu, which depicts him wearing an Orioles jersey and drinking a Natty Boh. Shouldn’t that be a Rangers jersey and a Shiner Bock in his hand?

I won’t be boycotting Turp’s since the value is too good, but I can’t help but feel disillusioned since discovering that it is likely operated, not by a Baltimore Sports fan, but a phony Dallas fan. As a Mount Vernon resident with few options for quality sports bars, I beg you, John Turpin, to make a grown up decision, apologize to everyone, and TAKE OFF YOUR HAT!

Dougherty’s Pub: My New Favorite Bar

It’s a wint’ry night, say towards the end of the work week, the weekend is coming upon us, and the first flakes of snow are dotting the streets of Mount Vernon.  The heart yearns for a cold pint of stout to warm the “deep heart’s core”, as the great Irish poet W.B Yeats might say.  It’s nights like this make me feel most poignantly the fragmentation of our modern condition.  And it’s on nights like these that I feel my myself drawn to the warm hearth of Dougherty’s Pub at 223 Chase Street in Mount Vernon. There I might down a few drams o’ stout, chuckle with friends, and on the first Thursday of every month hear the sounds of a traditional Irish music session.  Despite its large size Dougherty’s always feels comfortable.  Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s never too crowded, and it’s not a “meat market” where one must engage in The Hunt.  It’s more of a place to meet up with old friends for burgers and beer.  Their burgers are made from real groundbeef (not always the case), and if you want it rare they will cook it up rare and serve it with homemade fries.  Staple Irish beers Guinness and Murphy’s flow freely from tap and can.  Recently I’ve gotten into Murphy’s (see picture), which has a little more flavor and a drier mouth feel than Guinness.  Many people describe Murphy’s as tasting like chocolate milk, so maybe that adds to the spots homey feel.  Whatever you think it tastes like, its smooth, creamy, and inky black like the night from which you are seeking shelter.  The clientele is diverse, which speaks to the good quality of the bar, the bar lends its walls to MICA artists so there’s a Baltimoreesque contradiction between the dark pub and the trippy canvasses.
On the first Thursday of the month, Dougherty’s hosts an Irish session.  Like a jazz jam session, the Irish variety uses common melodies as the starting points for improvisation.  The trio we saw was made up of acclaimed local accordion, piano and fiddle players.  There’s a low key yet energizing feel to the tunes which lead in and out of one another, and, whether one hails from the Emerald Isle or not, the traditional melodies tap into the common folk past of all peoples.  There’s an uplifting feel to it all.  What I mean to say is, this music has got SOUL.  One more thing to report, last week a friend left her phone at Dougherty’s, and Mr. Bill Dougherty himself was at the pub at 9am the next day, holding on to the phone.  This clinched Dougherty’s for me as my new Favorite Bar in Baltimore.  Next time that you’re feeling as alienated as a young James Joyce, picking your way over the cobblestones of Old Baltimoretown, stop in for a swig of black malt, warm up with hearty fare, and take a brief respite against winter’s chill.

Baltimore Sandwiches: Andy Nelson’s Pulled Pork

Baltimore, though many traditionalists wouldn’t think so, is a barbecue town.  If you travel to many neighborhoods on a Saturday in the summer it’s easy to smell a grill cooking all kinds of meat.  From your back yard to roadside pit beef stands to Boog’s at OPACY there’s quality barbecue all over the area.  The shining jewel of Baltimore barbecue, though, is Andy Nelson’s.  Located on York Road in Cockeysville, and easily recognized by the giant pink pig atop the roof, Andy Nelson’s has been providing the Baltimore area with top-notch barbecue for years.  Many are familiar with their catering service, which is a popular choice for many Baltimoreans hosting graduation parties and other events.

Going up to the counter at Andy Nelson’s you’re overwhelmed by choices and everything sounds fantastic on the menu.  I’d recommend, though, that you don’t stray from a true classic, the pulled pork sandwich.  The meat is all freshly smoked in-house and it’s served on an excellent kaiser roll.  The quality of the meat is incredible and with some horseradish and their homemade barbecue sauce is perfectly flavored.  With the express meal you also get to choose two of Andy Nelson’s great sides, my two personal favorites being the cole slaw and the potato salad.

The only drawback of Andy Nelson’s is that it gets so crowded around lunchtime because everyone knows how great it is.  If you’re looking for another barbecue option that is hardly a downgrade, if at all, I’d suggest Big Bad Wolf BBQ on Harford Road.  It’s just an unassuming shack on the side of the road, but you’ll be treated to some of the best barbecue the city has to offer.

Andy Nelson’s Barbecue Restaurant

11011 York Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030-2004
(410) 527-1226

Big Bad Wolf’s House of Barbecue

5713 Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214-2262
(410) 444-6422

America’s “Best Bar”

If you haven’t heard by now that Brewer’s Art in Mt. Vernon was named best bar in America by Esquire, then you have probably been living under a rock, or worse, not in Baltimore.

On one level, I completely understand giving this honor to Brewer’s Art. As readers of Bohs and O’s know, we are prone to dismiss “guido” and “douchey” bars while waxing lyrical about “real” Baltimore dives and taverns. Brewer’s Art has the wonderful qualities of a classic Baltimore spot-exposed brick, dimmed lights, diverse clientele, and it also offers better food, better beer, and better (or at least darker) ambiance than your average drinkery. I could go into further detail about what makes Brewer’s Art great (e.g. rosemary fries and resurrections), but that seems unnecessary when it is already the “best bar in America.”

However, I disagree with Brewer’s Art being best the bar in America for one simple reason-the service. I don’t know about you readers, but at my imaginary “best bar,” the waitstaff doesn’t make fun of how I’m dressed or accuse me of stealing to compensate for their own inability to get an order right. I’m not even kidding- the waitress/bartender delivered the wrong food to me and my friends, then when we ate the fries, and she accused us of stealing. Sorry, but we didn’t feel like waiting an hour and a half for her to figure out how to wait tables.

Like I said, the Esquire award is old news, but more recently Baltimore Magazine has published a top 25 bars in Baltimore list that prompted me to write this article. I don’t disagree with Brewer’s being on the list, in fact I think it absolutely deserves to be, but what gets me is that the article makes a point of how humble the bar staff is and talks about their “down to earth” reaction to the Esquire award. Sneering at diners and purposely ignoring people at the bar isn’t my idea of humble service.  Maybe success has gone to their heads or maybe Brewer’s Art bartenders have always had a cooler-than-you attitude. Either way, if you go to Brewer’s art and are not a hipster intellectual, expect to be treated pretty poorly by the waitstaff.

Grocery Wars – A Response to “The Parisian”

The Parisian is a great sandwich, and rabbieli has written an excellent review.  However, that sandwich is about all I will deign to eat from Eddie’s.  To be honest, I owe my physical stature and robust health to being raised on a pure Eddie’s diet, in much the same way that most ‘merican babies drink corn syrup from their mothers’ teats.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve taken a more critical stance on Eddie’s.  Their salad bar is a zero on the binary scale (of salad bars).  The lettuce is often wilted, and there is a poor selection of vegetables.  Compare this to the mighty Whole Foods salad bar, where you can find the likes of Morroccan quinoa salad, all varieties of couscous, and other multicultural salads.  I find Eddie’s to be stodgy holdover from the Old Baltimore, where old men and women empty your cart for you, and while it is charming to see employees who you have known since birth, I find Eddie’s to be over priced and over-hyped by the North Baltimore set.

But alas, how bittersweet memory is!  While writing this, I am reminded of Saturday morning’s at Eddie’s, when Mother would buy me a chocolate donut as she did her shopping.  Is that chocolate donut my madeleine, which calls me down the cobbled paths of involuntary memory? to be continued…