Steak Lovers, Rejoice!

BAR VASQUEZ

1425 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21231 (https://www.barvasquez.com/)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

We tend to have good luck when it comes to Baltimore restaurateurs. Spike and Amy Gjerde, and their fantastic tandem: Woodberry Kitchen and Parts & Labor (and the excellent Artifact Coffee), have always served us well in Clipper Mill/Hampden/Charles Village. But for restaurateurs in Harbor East, look no further than Foreman-Wolf, the duo behind many of the city’s best, including the excellent Charleston, and the newly-opened Bar Vasquez. So when our friends recommended trying the newest venture from Chef Wolf, we gladly accepted. With the most recent Wolf-helmed dinner under our belts, I think it’s safe to say that our lucky streak continues.

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Little Brother…All Grown Up

PARTS & LABOR

2600 N. Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 (http://partsandlaborbutchery.com/)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

Spike Gjerde is fast becoming synonymous with Baltimore. The chef-owner of Woodberry Kitchen, the locally-sourced restaurant in Clipper Mill, opened his most recent offering, Parts & Labor, in Charles Village back in 2014. Little brother is housed in a former garage, features an open-flame hearth as the heart of the kitchen, and a retail shop which sells house-made sandwiches and fresh cuts of meat during the day. Parts & Labor, which butchers its own meat and serves in the same capacity for Woodberry, knows its way around the various cuts. It is this respect for meat-centric dishes, and the quality of the execution, which makes one legitimately question whether Parts & Labor is catching up to its well-reviewed sibling.

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Hidden Amongst the Homes

SALT

2127 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21231 (http://www.salttavern.com/)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

For a decade now, the quiet neighborhood of Butchers Hill, located on the northeastern border of Patterson Park, has housed a small restaurant tucked away in a mostly residential area. Salt, which features brick walls, warm wooden tables, and a friendly staff, gives reason for searching out the remote location. My wife, ever the adventurer, happened to stumble across the restaurant a couple of years back. We’ve managed to dine there on several occasions over the years, but I wanted a chance to see whether Salt is continuing to deliver during its ten year anniversary.

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Pizza, Beer, and So Much More

BIRROTECA

1520 Clipper Road, Baltimore, MD 21211 (http://www.bmorebirroteca.com/home)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

Growing up in the suburbs of the DMV, whenever we made the trek up to Baltimore, there were only two destinations: the Inner Harbor/Aquarium or Camden Yards. In recent years, however, Baltimore has seen a real resurgence within its dining scene: Mid-Atlantic-centric menus (Spike Gjerde), big name chefs (Michael Mina), and neighbors expanding into the city (Bryan Voltaggio). So during a recent outing with my family, when I decided to break them out of their comfort zone and head toward the Hampden/Clipper Mill area and Birroteca, I received more than one puzzled look. But, by the time the meal was over, everyone seemed to understand that there was a lot more to Charm City than the Inner Harbor.

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A Fine Dining Beacon in Baltimore

CHARLESTON

1000 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 (http://www.charlestonrestaurant.com/)

*** (Very Good)

Cindy Wolf, the longtime chef of Charleston, has been a part of Baltimore’s food scene since the mid 1990s. If Spike Gjerde, the proprietor of Woodberry Kitchen and Parts & Labor, is helping to lead the revitalization of the Baltimore restaurant scene, then Wolf has long been its matriarch. Along with business partner Tony Foreman, Wolf also owns Pazo, Cinghiale, Petit Louis Bistro, and Johnny’s around the city. Their flagship, Charleston, opened up in 1997 as a fine dining establishment, sitting in the heart of what is now considered the Harbor East neighborhood. And if our most recent meal is any indication, Charleston continues to flourish almost 20 years later.

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A Baltimore Staple

WOODBERRY KITCHEN

2010 Clipper Park Road, No. 126, Baltimore, MD 21211 (http://www.woodberrykitchen.com/)

*** (Very Good/Excellent)

Baltimore tends to be the lesser known city in the DMV; the little brother of Washington, DC. And in some respects it’s true: there are less attractions, less restaurants, and contains a smaller population. My wife and I tend to skew towards DC whenever we want to go out – whether it’s dinner, drinks, or meeting up with folks. There are exceptions to the rule though; some fantastic finds in Baltimore…you just have to know where to look.

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