STATION NORTH RESTAURANT GUIDEBOOK Baltimore, Maryland Created by Graphic Design and Illustration Students at Maryland Institute College of Art
STATION NORTH RESTAURANT GUIDEBOOK Illustrations by Mica Students Design by Emily Long Published by Maryland Institute College of Art
Station North Restaurant Guidebook ILLUSTRATIONS BY MICA STUDENTS DESIGN BY EMILY LONG PUBLISHED BY MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART ÂŠ 2010 All rights reserved. No illustration or portions of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction 6 About Station North 8 Map of the Area 10 Reviews 12 Index 40 Acknowledgements 42
WELCOME TO STATION NORTH
Greetings from the Station North Arts & Entertainment District in the heart of Baltimore City! One of the many attributes that makes Station North so vibrant and eclectic is the variety of restaurants and cafes in and around the District. From award winning pizza to delicious tapas; from sweet or savory crepes to Korean delicacies; and from mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches to some of the best wings around, there is something for everyone in and around Station North. The District’s proximity to the Maryland Institute College of Art campus has always made the area a student-friendly and creative place to savor a variety of cuisines. The students who compiled the reviews in this guide offer their opinions of eighteen restaurants in and around the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. I hope that their descriptions of the various restaurants and cafes encourage you to sample the establishments and take in the eclectic variety of foods available here. And after your meal, be sure to check out some of the great art, music, books, film and theater that are here in Station North as well. You won’t be disappointed. Bon appétit! Sincerely, David Bielenberg Executive Director of Station North Arts and Entertainment District
ABOUT STATION NORTH
Located in the heart of Baltimore, this was the first area in the city to receive the state designation as an arts and entertainment district. Spanning the communities of Charles North,Greenmount West and Barclay, Station North is a diverse collection of artist live-work spaces, galleries, rowhomes and businesses — all just steps away from Penn Station and Mount Vernon. The neighborhood features lots of compelling dining options: from Korean to American take-out. Mostly locally-owned restaurants, there are many dishes unique to Baltimore and to this charismatic neighborhood. The guide offers reviews of many eating establishments, and we encourage you to sample the best of what Station North has to offer.
MAP OF STATION NORTH
Review by Cailin Nealon Reviewer’s Choice: Salad of Frisee (local bacon lardons, bleu cheese, creamy mustard dressing, poached egg) 1501 BOLTON ST 410 383 8600 WWW.B-BISTRO.COM TUES–SAT 5PM TO 10PM SUN 10AM TO 2PM, 5PM TO 9PM
B’s atmosphere is casually chic. Going by myself, I felt somewhat awkward sitting alone in the lofty interior with its tall windows, high ceiling and open floorplan. This venue is definitely more enjoyable when visited with a group and doesn’t lend itself to intimate sequestered dining. I appreciated their support of local produce, including Maryland artisan cheeses and local bakeries. The dish I ordered was a delicate frisée salad with bleu cheese, thick delicious bacon, and a poached egg, presented as a daintily arranged nest of fresh, bold flavors.
THE BOHEMIAN COFFEE HOUSE Review by Kathleen Marcotte Reviewer’s choice: Whole-wheat Bagel and an Iced Coffee.
1821 N CHARLES ST 410 400 0022 MON–WED 9AM TO 10PM THURS–SAT 9AM TO 3AM SUN 9AM TO 2PM
The Bohemian Coffee House is small quirky coffee house on North Charles just past the Charles Theater. I visited this newly opened coffee house on a Saturday afternoon and was immediately charmed by the unique vintage decorations and the laid back atmosphere. I had to take a few moments to look around and discover the mechanical life-size monkey, jukebox, and a bookshelf full of art books. I was greeted at the counter by current and previous students of MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), and ordered an ice coffee and toasted bagel. Both of these items were excellent. I also appreciated the decorative plate that the food was served on. I noticed guests taking advantage of the comfy couches and free wi fi. Unlike many other cafes that I have been to in the past, The Bohemian Coffee House has a generous amount of seating which gives customers the freedom to stay as long as they please. This is a great place to visit with friends or on your own, and I look forward to returning to this coffee house soon.
CHARLES RESTAURANT BAR & CARRY OUT Review by Ellen Bae Reviewer’s choice: Stromboli
2500 SAINT PAUL ST 410 366 1600 M–TH 11AM TO 12AM FRI–SAT 11AM TO 1AM SUN 12PM TO 12AM
There is a seating area separated from the cashier/kitchen area upstairs, but it was a small area and too crowded.They have such a simple, delicious family-style fare at very reasonable prices, and friendly service. If you want something that is loaded with cheese, incredibly delicious toppings, stromboli is the way to go. I really liked the crust and how cheesy it was inside of Stromboli. It was soft and chewy inside and crispy outside. I look forward to returning on future visits and trying one of their other dishes.
IBAR Review by Sarah Straub Reviewer’s choice: Buffalo Chicken Wings
2118 MARYLAND AVE 410 637 3089 WWW.IBARBALT.COM M–TH 11AM TO 1AM FRI 11AM TO 2AM SAT 1PM TO 2 AM SUN 5PM TO 1 AM
From the moment you step into to the iBar, the place is split in two with an option to go up or and option to go down. Go upstairs first, all the action happens there, but you can always ask to go downstairs. The decor is eclectic and their seating is really comfortable and cozy. The tunes they play are great, they aren’t grading on your ears and you can her your conversation well. For the past two years they have been named Baltimore’s Best Chicken Wings so obviously I had to have those. I ordered their buffalo wings (medium) and their honey bbq wings and they truly live up to their award. The buffalo wings have a nice kick, and the sauce isn’t too overpowering where you can’t taste the chicken, which came out piping hot both times I visited. It also has this wonderful smoked crunch and they aren’t soft or soggy. The honey bbq wings are a little tamer and more on the sweet side, but still have that wonderful smoked crunch that makes them absolutely delightful. *Note contact iBar, their closing times fluctuate based on how busy they are that particular night.
INDIA TANDOOR RESTAURANT Review by Lauren Davis Reviewer’s choice: Murgh Tandoor
2101 N CHARLES ST 410 468 0969 OPEN DAILY 11:30AM TO 10:30PM DELIVERY STOPS AT 10:15PM
The burgundy decor, dim lights, as well as the place settings inside of the restaurant made it seem as if it would be a nice place for lovers to dine on a special evening. The cost of the food is fair, but not amongst the cheapest which is why it can be saved for a special night out or in since delivery is available. What I enjoyed about the restaurant is that they provided an option about how spicy the food should be, which is very considerate of those with delicate stomachs, like myself. I wouldn’t recommend being bold on your first go with Indian food. I would also recommend walking to the restaurant, as it is a 20 min wait to get take out rather then the 40-60 min delivery promise from the website, which doesn’t guarantee hot food. Finally, I suggest using cash for the payment method. The time it takes for their credit charge to go through also takes a while and won’t appear on the statement until another decent amount of time has passed.
JAVA MOON CAFÉ Review by Jessica Dikdan Reviewer’s choice: Iced Chai
1515 N CHARLES ST 410 528 1018 OPEN DAILY 6AM – 9PM
Java Moon Cafe is a small coffee shop/bar in Penn Station. The cafe offers a very wide variety of coffees, teas, and frozen drinks as well as grab-n-go sandwiches if you’re in a hurry. The cafe was extremely clean and everyone working there was very pleasant and chatty. Java Moon is the best place in Penn Station to hang out and watch a game at the bar if you happen to be waiting for a train or in need of a nice cup of coffee.
JOE SQUARED Review by Julianna Brion Reviewer’s choice: Flag Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Crab Pizza
133 W NORTH AVE 410 545 0444 OPEN DAILY 11AM – 2AM
From my first visit to the restaurant, the place seemed lively and inviting. Joe Squared’s signature “square pizzas” come in a wide variety of goodquality and unique toppings. I took a bite from the “crab pizza” and the “BBQ chicken pizza” which were both delicious. The “Flag pizza” was also shared among us, which came with 3 different sauces so that we could try a few types. They also allow you to create your own pizza which was great for one friend who had certain dietary restrictions and preferences. We enjoyed the quirky decorations- including an old Ms Pac-man arcade game and walls featuring work by local artists, which gave the restaurant a warm and energetic atmosphere.
JOUNG KAK RESTAURANT Review by Olivia Ady Reviewerâ€™s choice: The Korean-style Pancake
18 W 20TH ST 410 837 5231 OPEN DAILY 11AM â€“ 4PM
A small place great for an early dinner or late lunch. I enjoyed the large menu selection, and had a hard time deciding what to eat. In place of bread, we were brought about eight tiny dishes with an array ranging form Kim chi to potato salad, and when our food came, it was delicious. This was my first time eating Korean cuisine, but the waitress was quite helpful in showing me how to mix in the sauces to get the most flavor. I found that I could have spent as much or a little as I wanted, but the amount of food makes everything quite reasonable. I would go when I have a lot of time available, as this is not a fast pace eatery.
KADER’S CAFÉ MOCHA
Review by Lara Kaminoff Reviewer’s choice: #115, soup of the day with half a café sandwich of your choice.
1501 SAINT PAUL ST 410 962 5717 MON–SAT 10AM – 5PM
When I arrived at Kader’s, I was initially intimidated by the low lighting and the long coffee menu. Once I had settled into the soft leather couch, armed with a sweet chai latte and a good book, I was able to relax into the reggae pulsing from the distant speakers and take in the view of Penn Station, just across the way. My lunch was a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich (one of the many vegetarian options) and I was delighted to find it filled with roast potatoes, black beans, cherry tomatoes, green olives, feta, artichoke tapenade, and all manner of tasty, colorful ingredients which I thoroughly enjoyed. With a wide selection of bottled drinks and pre-packaged pastries as well as affordable, gourmet meals, Kader’s Café Mocha is a great place for a peaceful, sit-down lunch or a hurried, one stop breakfast.
NAK WON RESTAURANT Review by Qing Zhuang Reviewer’s choice: Soft Tofu Soup with Seafood
12 W 20TH ST 410 244 5501 MON 10:30AM TO 12AM TUE–SUN 10:30AM TO 4PM
I tried Rice in Hot Stoneware which is a filling dish that you have to mix thoroughly first like a salad. It’s flavored mainly by the hot sauce that you have to put in, but otherwise I found it too simple for my taste. Nak Won’s appetizers, which include sweet potatoes, bean sprouts and kimchi helped add flavor if you eat it with the dish. Their kimchi taste pretty generic, but I’m okay with that. As a seafood fan, I preferred Soft Tofu Soup with Seafood which is a spicy, bean paste soup with abundant tofu, scallion and clams. Very yummy and very filling.
Review by Hannah Erhardt Reviewer’s choice: Steamed Dumplings
2126 MARYLAND AVE 410 685 6237 OPEN DAILY 11AM – 4AM
Nam Kang Restaurant is situated on the basement level of a dull street corner, but upon entering after descending the narrow staircase, I found the atmosphere to be cozy and inviting. The pleasant wait staff seated me immediately and was very attentive, having to check back a few times before I had made my selection from the extensive menu. Numerous brick arches lead from the sushi bar and smaller seating areas in the front to the larger open seating room in the back. I found the décor very amusing; a blend of traditional oriental masks and lanterns, mixed with brightly painted polka dot flowerpots. It struck me as the perfect place for late night cravings while out on the town.
ON THE HILL Review by Erin Watson Reviewer’s choice: The Bolton
1432 JOHN ST 410 225 9667 MON–FRI 7AM – 8PM SAT 8AM – 8PM SUN 9AM – 8PM
I really love the colors in the restaurant: there’s something very warm and inviting about them, and the menu written in colored chalk is lighthearted and pleasant. The atmosphere is very easy, very casual. The staff was lovely and the service was good. All in all it was wonderful – I really can’t believe I have lived a block away from On the Hill for three years and never bothered to give it a shot. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
SOFI’S CREPES Review by Kevin Valente Reviewer’s choice: Thanksgiving Crepe
1723 N CHARLES ST 410 727 7732 TH–SAT 11:30AM – 11PM SUN 12PM – 8PM
Just a short walk from the MICA campus, my roommate Brittany and I find solace on this lazy Sunday afternoon inside the small, delectable gem that is Sofi’s Crepes. The mixtures of brightly colored paint, arrays of intriguing art, the wafting smell of crepes on the griddle, and witty banter among the employees gives Sofi’s Crepes an energizing and invigorating atmosphere. Perhaps, even more alluring, is that today the usual bombardment of people are not rushing through. After ordering - and the timing could not be more perfect - our friend Faith has just clocked in, and in front of our eyes, she whips up two tantalizing crepes, we embrace our piping hot crepes at a table outside. Underneath the awning, we are able to enjoy both the warm fall air and our delicious meals. Believe me, if the cheerful, polite staff and refreshing atmosphere do not bring you back, the food absolutely will.
CAFÉ AT BARNES AND NOBLE Review by Jessie Leete Reviewer’s choice: Granny Smith Apple Purse
62 W OLIVER ST 410 837 5604 MON–FRI 7:30AM – 9PM SAT 9AM – 9PM SUN 10AM – 8PM
While I waited for my apple purse to be warmed up, I pulled a photography magazine off the bookshelf in Barnes and Noble, conveniently only steps away from the Starbucks counter. Once the friendly barista handed me my aromatic after-school snack, I sat down at a table next to the large window, facing the outdoor patio where other students were getting work done on their laptops, taking advantage of the free wi-fi, and socializing over coffee. The Apple purse was so fresh, that it tasted like a slice of homemade apple pie that had just come out of the oven. As I flipped through my magazine and sipped my coffee, I couldn’t help but think that even if you didn’t like the taste of coffee, the fresh brewed aromas could attract almost anyone. Starbucks at Barnes and Noble Café is a great place to catch up with friends after class, re-caffeinate, and re-energize before a long night of studying and homework. I know I will find myself in Starbucks for these reasons quite frequently this semester.
STATION NORTH ARTS CAFE
Review by Emma Munger Reviewer’s choice: The BLT, Caesar Salad and Maryland Sweet Tea.
1816 N CHARLES ST 410 625 6440 MON–FRI 8AM – 3PM SAT 11AM – 3PM
If you’re hungry and ready to be a part of Baltimore’s sunny and funky soul then you should already be on your way to Station North Arts Café. My eyes were taken by pleasant surprise when we arrived and were met with the smiles from the happy, gossiping regulars. The creamy peach walls are festooned with bright paintings ranging from the hands of local artists to Picasso. Every surface is decorated with memorabilia and trinkets, including a tiny golden Oscar sculpture and a model helicopter made from Coke cans. Dried chili peppers and photos of friends are pinned to the walls, fresh flowers beam up from every table, and the smell of coffee and spices dance in the air. I ordered the classic BLT and found no objections with its integrity, light on the mayo thank goodness! Overall, this bike friendly, eclectically charming, delicious sandwich making café has it going on in all the right places. Check. It. Out.
TAPAS TEATRO Review by Manya Caralle Reviewer’s choice: Fried Calamari
1711 N CHARLES ST 410 332 0110 TUES–FRI 5PM – 2AM SAT–SUN 4PM – 2AM
Everything I ordered at Tapas Teatro was simply delicious. I ordered a glass of red house sangria, which was a great compliment to the meal. There is quite a variety to choose from on the menu, everything from fish to pork chops to artichokes. Being new to tapas, I sampled quite a few items. Crisp bread brushed with rich olive oil and paired off with salty chorizo started our meal. Spicy croquettes de Tapas Teatro came next, fried morsels of ground chicken and boursin cheese served with a creamy dipping sauce. The croquettes were just the right amount of spicy and perfectly fried. Overall, Tapas Teatro is a slightly upscale place with many delicious little meals for you and your friends/family to share.
Review by Kristin Nohe Reviewer’s choice: Sweet Potato Fries with Mango Ketchup
101 E 25TH ST 410 777 5277 MON–SAT 9AM – 9PM
When I first saw Terra Café, I was enamored by the sign over the front door declaring “Welcome Family”. Terra Café was just that, very welcoming with a nice, open atmosphere. When I received the cheese steak that I ordered, it came garnished on the plate. It was so delicious, and you could tell that they put a lot of time and energy into their menu. They had ran out of regular french fries, so they gave me a huge basket of sweet potato fries at no extra charge. They were the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had! They came with Terra Café’s own blend of mango ketchup, which was a great combination of flavors. Overall, my experience at Terra Café was a great one. I’d recommend it to anyone!
Review by Caleb Lin Reviewer’s choice: Coconut Curry “chicken”
2431 SAINT PAUL ST 410 622 8638 MON–SAT 11 – 9 SUN 10 – 6
I found the Yabba Pot to be a great relaxed place for vegetarian dining here in Baltimore. Their rotating menu offers an assortment of vegan foods from around the world. Entrees include various veggie “meats” like citrus soul ribs and peppered steak. For sides, they offer various vegetables, such as their cranberry nut adzuki. The coconut curry chickun I ordered had a very tasty, ever-so-slightly-spicy sauce. The imitation chicken had a light, springy texture, and was arguably even better than the real meat in my opinion. If it is on the menu for the day, it is well worth checking out. They also offer healthy fruit and vegetable drinks that are blended fresh right in front of you. The smoothie my friend ordered was a worthy purchase. I found the service there is hit or miss depending on the day, but the food is always a treat.
B Bistro Bohemian Café Charles Restaurant iBar India Tandoor Java Moon Joe Squared Joung Kak Kader’s Café Nak Won Nam Kang On the Hill Sofi’s Crepes Café at Barnes and Noble Station North Arts Café Tapas Teatro Terra Café Yabba Pot
15 16 18 19 20 21 22 24 26 27 28 30 32 33 34 35 37 39
All information presented in this book was accurate as of fall 2010. Please call restaurants ahead of time to confirm hours, locations, and specials.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The amazing book that you are holding exists through a collaboration by students and faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland and members of the Station North community. Many thanks go to the restaurant owners and staff who entertained the reviewers. Thanks, also, to MICA faculty members Rebecca Bradley in Illustration and Brockett Horne in Graphic Design. Participating students include:
Olivia Ady Laia Albert James Anderson Ellen Bae Julianna Brion Os Campos Manya Caralle David Carpenter Kathy Choi Kamau Collins Krystal Corbo Lauren Davis Jessica Dikdan Lynn Dohrmann Alex Dougherty Hannah Erhardt Julian Haddad Crystal Hong Nora Howell
Rosa Im Stephanie Indrajo Shu-Hsin Kao Lara Kaminoff Allison Kerst Sam Kittinger Jessica Kiser Jessie Leete Caleb Lin Emily Long Hannah Mack Kathleen Marcotte Katy Mitchell Alan Morris Emma Munger Cailin Nealon Lorraine Nicoletta Kristin Nohe Nhi Ngyuen
Colin Nyborg Liz Orr Sean Ostrowski Monica Picca Emily Ragle Elisabeth Rosenwasser Colleen Roxas Djamika Smith Justine Smith Kristin Squire Sarah Straub Wednesday Trotto Ruth Tsang Kevin Valente Victoria Venditto Erin Rae Watson Becky Winslow Qing Zhuang