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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bret's Federal Hill Food Review

Last night I went over to Nick's Fish House on the side of 95. This is becoming a popular place frequented by soft ball teams and soccer moms. They do really good volume and have a wonderful spacious location. Unfortunately, and much to my own chagrin for my friends that work there, I have to admit to never receiving a good meal outside of shucked oysters. Also I drove home with a co-worker and he was saying how Federal Hill was cool I guess - I figured I'd help him and the rest of the non-fed hillers out if they are ever in the area and can't find me at Turners.

This is prompting to me to write my Federal Hill Bar Food Review.

I am not planning on writing about places I have never been and these include the following: Vespa, Matsuri, Nichiban, Taj Express, Spoons, Green Olive, Zeeba Lounge, Porter's and any bar that does not server food (Nevin's, Turner's, Grumpy's)My ratings are on a scale of 1-10.

Bicycle - If you are a middle aged couple or 20 something vegetarian looking to get laid by your mountain biking buddy (hence the awful pretentious stupid name) than this is your place to dine. I'm sure you can find everything from Bore Ribs to Seared Duck Al Fau Grais Healthy Humping Salmon or whatever the hell they serve. I mean this place does have good food, an open kitchen, bright and quick waiting staff, and a local owner that took a chance on a south Baltimore property that should more than likely right now be a Rite-Aid or Laundromat. This however is not the place you want to go for a drink with a friend to watch a ball game. Unless your friend is a homosexual and by ball game you mean the Kennel Club Dog Show. BTW - they only serve wine and trendy shitty beer.

Rating Food (8) - Booze (1) - Clientele (9)

Blue Agave Restaurante y Tequileria - Oh the Schmave as we like to call it. Don't let the free chips and authentic Mariachi players fool you. This place is a walking shit box when it comes to food. Anyone who is going to try to sell me a skirt steak for 22$ is going to get the lash of my pen when I sign my check "Go to hell". Personally I find this place to be cheesy, overpriced, and just plain awful. You can tell it's awful because no one from Federal Hill ever eats there. It's always people from Parkville coming down to dine in trendy Fed Hill and then getting butt humped for 150$ tab after sucking down 4 shrimps between them and a 19$ margarita.

Rating Food (4) - Booze (5) - Clientele (County People)

City Crepes Cafe - I wouldn't worry about this place. It won't be around in another 4 months because well - they don't serve booze and their menu item of choice is Crepes and yet everyone thinks it's a breakfast place. Talk about your flaming hot bag of turds. Bye bye Crepe place.

Rating Food (?) - Booze (X) - Clientele (?)

Corks - "Oh show me the way to the next 300$ meal. Oh don't ask why. Oh dont ask. For if you dont spend 300$ on your meal. Than you must not be eating at Cork's. You must not be eating at Corks. I tell you, I tell you, I tell you that you aren't there." Don't get me wrong this place has great food but you are going to pay for it and you better be getting laid or be a tax attorney to swing this joint. Good luck.

Rating Food (9) - Booze (?) - Clientele (10)

Crazy Lil's - Now most people know old Crazy lil's for the 3$ car bomb brigades that come into there on Saturday nights. But, you know what - the food is pretty damn kick ass. They have an open upstairs now and a new menu. My more portly roommate prefers the wraps, but everything I have here from the wings to the burgers have been really good. Granted - it's bar food extraordinaire - but what do you expect when you are eating in front of a framed picture of James Brown's mug shot and Reservoir Dogs poster. If you need a Sunday afternoon lunch I'd recommend it. Plus there always seems to be a good amount of tail in there.

Rating Food (7) - Booze (6) - Clientele (4)

Federal Hill Lounge -
The most contrived stupid bar in Federal Hill is up next. This place was made for the summer with it's open front doors and neon counters and God knows what else. I think I ate there once but I have no idea why and I won't ever endorse going back. If you want to find out where your secretary is trying to get laid by a guy driving an M3 than this is the bar you more than likely want to cruise by.

Rating Food (?) - Booze (3) - Clientele (7)

Kiku Sushi Restaurant - My Korean brethren own this joint. I don't really dig Sushi but I know that they make me Korean food that isn't on the menu so therefore I love them. They have Sake but no Soju for all those Soju lovers out there. I hear the sushi and stuff is good - but to be honest - umm I couldn't really tell you. The Korean stuff they make is all right but I guess you would have to know how to order it. Thus making this review a complete waste of your reading. Sorry...

Rating Food (Korean shit is great) - Booze (1) - Clientele (5)

MaGerk's Pub - Old mc'Jerks' is your classic booze hound airplane hanger in Fed Hill. The Miller Lites flow out of here like the Nile in to the Atlantic. I personally hate this place for 2 reasons. 1st, and really the true reason, they claim to be a Philly bar. A Philly bar in Baltimore. Hmm - yeah fuck that. 2nd this is the place to find your girlfriend or ex-college sorority girl fuck buddy, or any declining piece of ass with her hands up in the air singing "Living on a prayer" at the top of her lungs while shaking her ass. The cheese steaks here are Philly style I guess - the bar food isn't bad but unless it's Sunday afternoon and someone else is buying than I won't be in there.

Rating Food (4) - Booze (6) - Clientele (3)

Mad River - Mad Beeeeeeeaaavver wider than your smile. Where is this place - oh just follow the smell of Aqua Gio, and look for the girls in black pants, guys with striped shirts unbuttoned down to their nipples, and the sounds of Jay Z pouring out of a converted bank into a discohell. Next to Sky Lounge (below) these is no place more deserving of a fire bombing than Mad River. You can't wear a hat but they can have a Golden Tee machine, mounted Lacrosse sticks on the wall, Hot Wings on the menu, and Plasma TVS on the wall but I can't wear my styling paperboy hat? Yeah - the BAS staff has had to ask me to leave more than once. Above all this - it's not a bad place to take in a football game on a Sunday afternoon after they have cleaned the hair gel and semen off the booths. I mean honestly if you like crowded loud places than this is where you want to go. Personally, I'd rather walk around all night with a mousetrap clamped on my penis.

Ratings Food (7) - Booze (8) - Clientele (6)

Metropolitan Coffee House and Wine Bar - Formerly, or maybe never known, but known to me as Zen cafe'. This is your Sunday morning breakfast joint if you don't mind waiting and not being able to smoke while some AIDS patient looking waiter forgets your orange juice for about an hour and brings you cold waffles with a side of tofu. It's not too bad - I mean it is, considering the best part of the whole place is that they put the syrup in old bottles of booze.

Rating Food (3) - Booze (1) - Clientele (5)

Mother's Federal Hill Grille - The famous Mother's. The famous jack ass place to hang out is what it should be called. I never hated Mother's until I sort of found out what a farce of a bar it is. They claim to be, at least they scream the loudest, that they are the quintessential Baltimore bar for Ravens and O's games. Yet - when I go there I can't get ZZ top off the radio and there are more people pounding shots of Jaegermeister than there are watching the game. Second, the food sucks ass. Third - remember what I said about McGerks and the girls - yeah you can apply that to Mother's as well. Only at Mother's they are more likely to have VD, a bastard child, or a neck tattoo.

Rating Food (4) - Booze (7) - Clientele (4)

No Way Jose Cafe - No Way Boozeaye's - I kind of Like No Way's if it wasn't so crowded all the time. The food isn't bad, especially for bar food, even though you have to sit at the bar to get the happy hour specials ($ tacos and 25 cent wings) - but other than that the place is solid. The owner is always cool and trashed. The wait staff there gets more drunk than any other place and the layout is cool if you want to go upstairs to get away from the 50 guys wearing Axe body spray down stairs.

Rating Food (6) - Booze (9) - Clientele (6)

Regi's American Bistro - I like Regi's and wish I ate there more. If there was one non-yuppy, old school, authentic feeling place to eat in Federal Hill it would be Regi's. They have meat loaf, and turkey. They have great contemporary American cuisine that is sort of reasonably priced. The wait staff is courteous and quick and the ambience of the small front room is just about right, complete with Baltimore row home paintings, a fireplace and hanging ferns.

Rating Food (9)- Booze Factor (5) - Clientele (8)

Ropewalk Tavern -
Are you a Republican? Do you want to at least pretend you are? well then the Smokewalk is your spot. It's spacious, I guess, but it fills up quick. They have pool tables, 4 big rooms, and lots of wood paneling. They have a huge selection of beer and the bartenders are pretty quick and courteous even if you told them they can go fuck themselves a week before. The food is pretty well - - umm - - bar food. It has a decent burger, and shitty Baltimore fare (crab soup, crab anything, fish anything).

Rating Food (4) - Booze time (8) - Clientele (7)

Rusty Scupper - Are you from Jersey? Are you from PA? Do you like overpriced shitty food so you can stare out at our filthy Inner harbor? If that's you then this is your place. You can sit atop the harbor in what looks like an alien space craft and chow down on a 25$ crab cake while over in Middle River they are having a 10x better crab cake for a 3rd the price. Anyway - enjoy yourself sucker.

Rating Food (5) - Booze (2) - Clientele (6)

Ryleigh's Brew Pub and Raw Bar - I loved the place, then I hate it, now I like it again. The service is still the worst in Federal Hill and I have no idea why. I have never had to wait so long for a waitress, a drink, my order or any other standards of restaurant service in my life. Upstairs could be a great place to watch football because it's an unknown jewel of the plasma TV world and downstairs has a solid bar staff that's fun to talk to. The food is actually pretty damn tasty and usually consistent. They have some of the best wings and crab dishes in Baltimore (cream of crab and crab pretzel are solid). I endorse it.

Rating Food (8) - Booze (8) - Clientel (7)

Sean Bolan's Irish Pub and Restaurant - When I first moved here I didn't dig on Sean Bolan's because of the endless Irish music, all male bartending staff seemed to know way too much about beer, and the sometimes awful waitress staff that were slower and dumber than a rabbit trying to drive a stick shift. But as of late I find myself showing up here once a week (usually for a 1\2 priced burger Wed. or a Saturday afternoon ball game.) The guys that work there have been there long enough to know the regulars and they like watching the O's and shooting the shit about booze. I don't know why there is a strong geriatric demographic always there but from time to time a nice piece of ass will walk through the door.

Rating Food (7) - Booze (9) - Clientele (6)

Sky Lounge - Fuck you. I hope you burn in the 7th ring of hell if you enter here. I hope you go upstairs listen to the bumpdity bump diddy bump music while you watch greasy guys spin on their heads and tell you how bad ass they are. I hope you heed my advice because at 2 am when you are walking out of the "Sky Lounge" I'l be the guy pissing in your Daddy's S-Class passenger window while you fumble for the words, "Hey".

Rating Food (Die) - Booze (You Fake) - Clientele (Yuppy Fuck)

SoBo Cafe - Ahh otherwise known as the place where the Lesbians hang out. That doesn't really matter because there is only one reason you go to this joint - - Chicken 'motherfuckin' Pot Pie. Well that, and girls with forearm tattoos. But either way if you want some tasty homemade food I recommend it.

Rating Food (7) - Booze (3) - Clientel (5)

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