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May 19, 2009

Top 10 Most Controversial Restaurants in Baltimore

Papermoon2.jpgThe idea for this Top 10 started with a discussion of Golden West Cafe in Hampden. I felt like I was hearing two different restaurants being talked about: People either loved, loved, loved it or hated it, with very little in between. As one person pointed out, you could say the same of several places in Hampden; but I wanted to broaden the scope of this Top 10.

There are some places that just generate strong feelings both pro and con, I'm not sure why. (If you have any theories, I'd like to hear from you.) Anyway, here's my list of the 10 most divisive restaurants -- ones that could ruin marriages or cause friends to come to blows. After the names of the restaurants, I've put why people say they like them or hate them: ...

* Ambassador Dining Room in Tuscany/Canterbury. Love it: Good Indian food, wonderful setting and suave service. Hate it: Overpriced, small portions.

* Birches in Canton. Love it: Excellent New American cuisine. Hate it: Outrageous attitude of the owner and wait staff.

* G & M in Linthicum Heights. Love it: The best, biggest crab cake in the Baltimore area. Hate it: Overrated crab cake made from Asian crab meat.

* Golden West Cafe in Hampden. Love it: Where else can you get New Mexican food around here? And very kid friendly. Hate it: Too many pretentious rules about the food, lots of attitude from the staff. And very kid friendly.

* Morning Edition in Butchers Hill. Love it: Fabulous breakfasts, quirky setting. Hate it: Rude, slow service.

* Papermoon in Remington. Love it: Fantastic, original decor,  good chow. Hate it: Bizarre, a little trashy and annoyingly precious. 

* Petit Louis Bistro in Roland Park. Love it: Wonderful French food, authentic atmosphere, fine wine service. Hate it: Noisy, crowded, expensive for what you get.

* Sabatino's in Little Italy. Love it: Great Bookmaker salad, generous portions of good Italian-American food, friendly staff. Hate it: Terrible food or hit and miss because it's become such a tourist attraction.

* Sip & Bite in Canton. Love it: Cheap, decent, quick diner fare, late-night menu. A Baltimore institution. Hate it: Grouchy servers, needs a good cleaning.

* Tio Pepe in Mount Vernon. Love it: Spanish food in generous quantities, Old World service, festive atmosphere, sangria -- what's not to love? Hate it: Food isn't as good as its reputation, crowded basement rooms, the staff plays favorites.

(Photo of Papermoon by Mauricio Rubio/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:12 AM | | Comments (231)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Excellent list, EL. Maybe this is the key to a long marriage. Long-suffering husband and I tend to like the same restaurants.

One way around the complaints about the Ambassador is to go for their lunch buffet--all you can eat for one price. I haven't been recently, but I assume the buffet is still being offered.

Now go back to bed!

Papermoon is the worst. I have never understood why people drive late night into the city to go there. The food is okay, but the wait staff is terrible.

I couldn't agree more about Petit Louis and Golden West. I've always had an underwhelming experience at PL and PAZO is even more distressing (why isn't that on the list??!). In Baltimore, mediocre food and service appears to get a pass when coupled with a DJ spinning trance, sleek furnishings and sharply-dressed albeit inept wait staff.

I killed a cockroach on the bar and was constantly swatting at a swarm of fruit-flies on my last visit to Golden West. Yuck and never again.

Agree with Dahlink, EL - great list and love that I'm nodding with both sides of many of the comments!

I've had this conversation with half a dozen people re: Golden West. By the way - hate it.

Petite Louis - I'll side with the haters.
Tio Pepi - one more hate vote.
Sabatinos - agree with the haters again
Sip & Bite - I would do neither their.

As for Birches, we used to love this place - (never a staff problem, though the owner is a Red Sox fan)until the recent switch to "comfort" food - a trend which has been embraced by too many places in town. Hey, Chefs, if I wanted home cooking, I'd stay home.

I knew Golden West would be on here as soon as I read the topic. My fiance is constantly trying to get me to go back there.

I do love their menu, but the greaseball hipster wait staff is far too nonchalant and unattentive to warrant my business or referral. I got up and left on my last visit after the waitress took our drink order, proceeded to chat with other customers, then other waitstaff for a minimum 5 minutes, bring the other table drinks, then came back and wanted to be reminded what we ordered.

If excellent service were a requirement for a restaurant to open in Baltimore, we would all be eating at home. I have traveled in 45 of the 50 states and rarely have I seen such poor service at top-notch restaurants on a consistent basis as I have here. Why do Baltimoreans put up with it and why do they tip for it? No wonder a magazine a few years back said that "Baltimore fancied itself a first-rate city with a third-rate climate." I still think that somewhere along the line people gave up the idea that service was at least as important as the food.

Awesome list, EL. I absolutely agree with both sides. I have never felt this bipolar before.

well, at least not in a long while...

No love lost here. I agree with your list.I have never understood why such third rate food and poor service is the norm in Baltimore. The Ambasador offfers wonderful ambiance ,top service and dried out chicken. If Golden West is that dirty at the table side, just think what the kitchen looks like.

Didn't Sip & Bite recently rehab their interior? I haven't been there recently, but it seems a bit soon to need a good cleaning.

Hey...Vetern teacher you met Owl Meat Gravy yet???

Not a bad list, I might add. Couldn't agree more with the Sabtino's negative. They are considered the McDonald's of Little Italy.

I can't come out against Petit Louis. Yes it is noisy, but I don't think the prices are all that high. Not to mention it so close to my house and they servie cassoulet in the winter.

Blue Moon Cafe. Pros: ZOMG DELICIOUSSSSS. Cons: Does anyone have the time to wait 2 hours for one of the 5 tables to open up? Blue Moon, please expand. PRETTY PLEASE!!!

I live in hampden and completely agree with Golden West. Seriously, where can you get tater tots and sauces like that? And brunch is good if you can get a seat, but not being able to change the menu items to your liking or allergy or stomach is a little offputting. I would add Rocket to Venus to this list actually. I've been to the bar often recently, but won't eat there. The staff comes from the same vein as Golden West, that very uppity, scenester vibe and the food isn't all it's cracked up to be, even if it is a good space.

I would rather eat sewage than Sabatino's again

We'll all need lithium after reading this, seeing both sides so easily. Nice work.

Good call on Papermoon. I love the crunchy hash brown squares, the breakfast quesadilla, and the quirky atmosphere, but the service is very subpar. The service model that is laid out in the menu saying that everyone will be your server is setup to fail. When it becomes everyone's task, it becomes no one's task. The sociologists call it diffusion of responsibility.

G&M serves the worst excuse for a crab cake I've ever encountered--and that includes the one I had at Harryman House 10 years ago that used corn kernels as a filler. Giant, tasteless ball of flavorless meat.

The trouble with Golden West is that the food is awful. You can send me all the kitschy decor and hipster servers in the world if a restaurant serves a delicious menu. At GW they drench far too many dishes in that truly bizarre chile sauce then tell you not to ask for any special orders because of the subtlety of the flavors involved (which is one of the most laughable and whacked out things I've read on a menu). Note to Golden West from someone who's eaten all over the Southwest: throwing a ton of chile into an uncomfortable sauce and pouring it over your dishes does not make them Southwestern, it just makes them inedible.

I couldn't agree more with the negatives on Morning Edition as well, which is sad, as it's located in a part of town where I'd really like to see businesses thrive. The servers are just so rude though. Plus it's way overpriced. Logic would dictate you'd get a decent deal at a restaurant in an up and coming neighborhood like that, but that's not the case at ME.

I can't agree with the haters more about Birches. I live right around the corner and my husband and I have tried--unsuccessfully--too many times to like this place. The food may be good, but I'm not willing to suffer the pretentious attitude of the wait staff to enjoy it.

I hate to say it, but isn't Morning Edition technically in Patterson Place, since it is on the east side of Patterson Park Ave.?

I agree with most of the list, I can't believe that Papermoon is still open. I've only ate there once and was nervous the whole time that a train or something us was going to fall and knock me out. I believe you could have classified the entire inner harbour as one, we love it because that's where the tourist go, we hate it because it's full of tourists. As far as Baltimore's service standards, I believe you pay for what you get. If you want great service, it's going to come at a cost. Besides Baltimore's restaurant diner isn't the most sophisticated to begin with, so it could be improved on both sides of the aisle. Yeah Petit Louis is loud, but so is RA Sushi, Sullivans @ times, and Brewer's Art, it's called ambiance. Some have their restuarant to have a certain vibe,

Without getting too emotional, I'd like to add to the G&M debate. I think the size of the crab cake at the price charged makes it a great value. However, I believe the taste and texture is mediocre at best. Tried it once, never again. Can't understand the raves. (Maryland crab cake eater for most of my 71 years).

I haven't been to Golden West in years and, based on this article and the subsequent comments, I will not be going there ever again. I remember having qualms with the fact that my friend who has multiple food allergies could eat almost nothing on the menu and they wouldn't make any changes. Any restaurant that relies on a hipster, snooty attitude won't be getting my business. I don't go out to eat to be looked down on by the person taking my order. Sorry.

I don't agree on G & M. Not that I don't their crabcakes aren't awful, but, I just don't think that there's any controversy about them. They are just crabcakes in name only. Anyone who's ever had a decent to good crabcake should recognize this immediately.

BTW, I think their crab meat is or at least was from South America and not SE Asia. SE Asia "blue swimming crab" at the source is different than our beloved crab, but is actually pretty good. But, it's a total affront when restaurants/huge seafood processors try to pass it off as being the same as "blue crab."

Yes, technically Morning Edition is across the street from the northeast corner of Butchers Hill. Hardly enough to quibble about, in my opinion.

On the other hand, as a Butchers Hill resident and Morning Edition "hater" (that's a little strong) I'd be happy to let Patterson Place claim it.

Well, the thread seems to have worked! Lots of love/hate out there...

I'll put in a good word for Golden West. Having lived in New Mexico for five years - yes, the green chile "sauce" is authentic. I once went and talked to the chef, and we compared green chile notes! Indeed, that's how it's served in NM.

Granted, I've only been there for lunch. Never had problems with the hipster staff. Sometimes slow, sure, but never off-putting or surly. From all the complaints, it sounds like I've been lucky.

the food at golden west is mediocre, at best....and it s always way too hot and stuffy (temperature-wise) in there. Actually, rocket to venus is always hot as well; they need to get some air pumping to freshen things up!

Great post, EL. Spot on!

First off, great list
At the same time I think I must come to the defense of Golden West. I have been there numerous times and never had problems with the food or the staff. If you go in there expecting your server to be a pretentious “hipster” jerk, it’s easy to nit-pick everything he/she does to fit that expectation. If you really want obnoxious service and mediocre food, Morning Edition has both in droves.

Golden West - food makes you actually sick, cold drinks served at room temperature
I avoid it even though I'm in Hampden at least once a week looking for a place to go.

Golden West = servers too cool to serve you.

I really don't think the prices at Peitit Louis are bad for the entrees. The noise and the service have made me vow never to go again on a weekend. I don't expect the foods auction (Steak frites?") at a nicer resturant. And the snootiness is troubling.

Morning Edition: Have tried hard to like it. Obviously many people do, since it's been there for ages. But the attitude, slow service and general look of the place prevent me from ever going again.

You can read about our negative experience here.

As for Golden West, any place that puts their rules before anything else, isn't someplace I am happy with. I think that their rule about no changes is assinine.

I must add Donna's of Cross Keys to this list. I love that it has parking, and outdoor seating. And the food is ok, even good at times. But the service is horrible! I can't stress that enough. I've tried over and over thinking it will change...sigh.....

This is the best Top 10 ever: chewy and delicious with a fine after-taste that leaves you wanting more.

This is the worst Top 10 ever: over-rated and way too expensive, plus the service just isn't what it used to be. Can I puh-leeeeze get a clean fork already?

Sip and Bite just got renovated so the 'needs a good cleaning' comment no longer applies. In fact, it's TOO clean - the grime was all part of the S&B experience.

Always a pleasure to visit HH Hippo's demented reality. Now I know that loud = ambience. Who knew?

Posting opposing comments at exactly the same time Amanda and VDP? Adorable. Now I have to throw up.

One vote for the Tio Pepe hate it list... This place is very overrated. The language barrier with the wait staff can be a problem. It's not uncommon in the industry, but when your main waiter has a lot of trouble with English, it makes dinner painful. We literally had to point to what we wanted on the menu.

My criticism of Golden West comes after repeated bad service experiences. Messed up orders and indifferent responses from wait staff were all too common during both busy and slow visits. The tables and menus were typcially sticky. The decor is more dusty and sloppy than interesting-- though I suppose that's the part of the whole hipster schtick.

Q. How many hipsters does it take to ruin a restaurant?
A: Dude, the restaurant was cooler before we were told to care about customer service.

Another restaurant that should be on this list is Jack's Bistro. Why do people get so fired up over it? I have been there twice and was not impressed either time.

Don't tell the owner though about this post. He and his many servants may invade to tell you how great he is!

I'm surprised not to see Victoria's Gastro Pub in Columbia on this list. I read a bunch of both 5-star and 1-star reviews before going there, and could totally understand both.

Food was excellent, but sparse -- I wanted to go directly to the McDonald's next door afterwards to get some FOOD, after the $90 "dinner" (more like appetizer) for two. Beer menu was extensive, but even more EXPENSIVE.

This whole thing makes me wonder if the owners/managers getting the bulk of the negative comments will read this and take any of it into consideration. Or if they'll just keep on doing things the same way since "bad service" tends to be their niche. I mean, they haven't cared for years, why care now, right? Still, part of me hopes...

I've had issues with the service at Donnas of Cross Keys. I would also like to be able to have my dog join me on the patio. The one thing I can't argue with is the location.

Another place that I haven't seen mentioned is Alonzo's, but I know there is a wide range of opinion on that place. Some think it is an old school Baltimore place, while other's see it as a dirty place to get an undercooked hamburger.

This is GREAT!

For the hipsters: you can still be cool and bohemian, but keep in mind when you apply for your position that there will be a good chance in your employment period that you will serving someone who wears J. Crew, plays tennis, and doesn't view life the way you do - get over it and do your job. Your time off is when you can go to Ottobar and complain about your preppy customers, but don't do it while on the clock trying to earn a tip.

The same applies to the "upper crusted" restaurants. Don't nit pick the favorites on your reservation book for the night and view everyone else as just a one time customer. Treat everyone as a gateway to you taking home more $$ at the end of the night. This isn't L.A. so don't try to filter out the customers that will land you a spot on the next FOX pilot.

Back to my lithium!


I've found this subject fascinating to read, even though I've only eaten at 3 of the places listed. I especially find it interesting that there haven't been any comments from servers at the places that supposedly have bad/snooty/rude etc. servers, defending themselves. I guess they either aren't reading or else they're just too good to lower themselves to speaking up in their defense.

Count me in as someone who LOVES Golden West. Maybe it's because as a young mom I like to be able to eat out with my family at place that isn't Applebees. Maybe I've just been lucky, because I have not had a bad meal there, the eclectic menu has always consistently delivered on what I am craving, be it a great thai salad, ginger pancakes or an omelette... Maybe I am blessedly free of food allergies and have never needed to substitute things on the menu... Maybe I like having vegetarian and vegan menu options...All in all, the prices are reasonable and the service I find to be no worse than ANY crowded restaurant - service can be slow, but please tell me where I can eat a huge brunch on a sunday and NOT experience any waiting. I've got news for Baltimore sun readers: "hipsters with attitude" dominate the restaurant industry in Baltimore, and most east coast metro areas for that matter (anyone spend time in Brooklyn - NY- recently?) I'm a transplanted New Yorker, living in Baltimore for the past 10 years. I would love to know where these mythical AFFORDABLE restaurants with superior service are that supposedly exist in "top-tier" cities.

What is with the surly and rude nature of servers? Don't they work expecting tips? Seems to me that customers wouldn't tip them. Or, do the customers just love being abused?

I actually never new there were people who liked the Sip N Bite, but where else could you go completely drunk at 3 AM.

And since they never called the police or threw my drunk butt out, I have to say I'm in favor.

I agree with the person who suggested that Pazo be on the list. The space is amazing, but the good is mediocre at best. I have never left there without being disappointed. I would also add Woodberry Kitchen. It's the only restaurant that actually served me something that I needed to send back. The oysters are great, but the rest is just not very good. I really want to like both of these places because the atmosphere is great, but I just can't get past the food.

Why isn't PAZO on here? Atmoshere is cool, but food quality is sub par for a high-end restaurant. People I talk to either love or hate that place for sure.

Missing from the list are (IMO):

- Mathew's Pizza
- Obrycki's
- Ruth's Chris

I hear people all the time either rave or bad mouth all 3 places.

My personal opinion on these places:

Matthew's--It's okay, nothing special. overrated IMO, not as "awesome" as it's proponents make it out to be, but certainly not awful either.

Obrycki's--Put it this way, I like to refer to it as "Phillips of Pratt Street." In case anyone was wondering, that's not a good thing.

Ruth's Chris--I've never had a bad meal there. Some don't like the butter (that makes it sizzle), but I've enjoyed most every meal I've had there and typically receive good service. But it is freaking expensive though. Although I don't mind the place as much as others, it is definitely not my favorite of the high-end steakhouses.

How can you not like the Slurp & Burp? That place is a classic diner.

Oh dear Lord, I am so sick of the term "hipster." And all the complaining about it just makes me think of crotchety old people from the county who "just don't get" these weird kids these days with their weird clothes. I can't help but wonder if some of the awful service people are getting is somehow related to their own poor attitudes and (likely obvious) disdain.

At Golden West, as everywhere else I eat, I find that being friendly with the waitstaff results in the waitstaff being friendly with me. And I guess I'm just not that freaked out by tattoos, tight jeans, Buddy Holly glasses, etc. I may be the exception to the rule, but I've honestly never been treated poorly by a server there, as I know I've said before.

I love G&M's crabcakes. Still haven't found one that measures up to them. My wife has just recently eaten there and reported that since its renovation it now looks like a very nice restaurant inside instead of a bleak cave. I admit I never enjoyed the fact that they sell their glasses of wine by the bottle. In other words, when you order a glass of wine, it is actually one of those tiny gift bottles. Which they bring you.

I've never had a problem with the food at Golden West, but there were a few times I also experienced slow service from the hipsters. I felt like they couldn't afford to hire a professional waiter so they just asked the guy who sleeps out back to watch the tables. Fine, I don't care if they have a staff dress code, but these kids just seem to easily get overwhelmed when it's busy.


I've had sweet hipster service and mean hipster service on the low end and on the high, in Baltimore, New York, and San Francisco. Same applies to my experience at diners, lunch counters, fast-food restaurants, etc.

I think the reason Golden West gets singled out for so much abuse is the perception that an Us vs Them attitude has become pervasive there, and the suspicion that even servers who begin their employment at Golden West with sweet intentions will eventually be infected with that attitude.

GW haters, I think the problem is you and your prejudices. I live in the neighborhood and have been eating there at least once a week since they were at the old location and, except on very, very rare occasions, have found the waitstaff to be polite and attentive. And the food is delicious and the menu extensive and sensitive to a wide variety of tastes and diets. I think it is somehow the "cool" thing to bust on GW and its employees. It's not. It's small-minded and mean.

GW shills are everywhere. We need Terminex!

It's the hip anti-hipster thing to do; all the anti-hipsters are doing it.

Good list and I agree about Golden West - on my last visit there (and I'd been a few times), it took 1 1/2 hours to get an awful lunch, never went back.

Petit Louis Bistro i found to be pretentious, overpriced and uninteresting. These are the two restaurants I won't visit again.

The others are OK.


I don't think you're the exception to the rule when you say you're not freaked out by tattoos, "weird" clothes, or Buddy Holly glasses. This isn't what could exactly be called an unusual look. I mean, doesn't pretty much everyone have tattoos now?? These "hipsters" don't stand apart because of the way they dress or look. They're just like any other social clique with it's mandated attire.That's not what people are objecting to. They're objecting to bad service. I mean, really bad service. I'm friendly to all wait staff, especially since I have many friends in the restaurant/bar business. The staff at GW just doesn't care about their customers. They have better things to do, and they let you know it. Doesn't matter if it's busy or slow. I except a wait on busy days. But when you see all the staff huddled together by the register giggling and whispering for 10+ minutes, and you've waited 20 minutes just to get your waiter/waitress to acknowledge your table and take your drink order, it goes beyond being busy.

GW haters...

Where there's (clove) smoke there's fire.

Sean, it is not just crotchety old people from the county who dismissively use the word hipsters. Don't forget about us crotchety young people from the city, albeit the gated part of it, who dismissively use the word hipster.

There are also several other words that people like me dismissively use. I think I'm going to go start a list of them.

Hmmmm, Claudelaw has that shill smell about her.

Oops, my paste didn't take.

"I think it is somehow the "cool" thing to bust on GW and its employees."

It's the hip anti-hipster thing to do; all the anti-hipsters are doing it.

(Makes more sense that way...)

I live in the neighborhood as well and have been going there since it was on the Chestnut end of the Avenue when it was BYOB. You could sit on the porch and sip your cold ones while the kitchen took their dandy old time with your Thai mint/chicken/peanut salad that you CANNOT have your dressing on the side with.

The fact of the matter is that service at Golden West has a serious bad rap. GW somehow earned that rep.

I personally feel they should seek to hire service people before hipsters. I get the picture it's not "cool" to smile if you work there.

"GW haters, I think the problem is you and your prejudices. I live in the neighborhood and have been eating there at least once a week since they were at the old location and, except on very, very rare occasions, have found the waitstaff to be polite and attentive. And the food is delicious and the menu extensive and sensitive to a wide variety of tastes and diets. I think it is somehow the "cool" thing to bust on GW and its employees. It's not. It's small-minded and mean."

- No offense, but you are a regular so your opinion may be slightly biased. You are also likely treated better than most because of said "regular" status. PLUS, if it's your neighborhood joint, you might also be one of these forementioned hipsters. Just sayin'.

I totally agree with the comments about the slow service at Golden West and Donna's at Cross Keys, but I have to confess that this is exactly why I like going to both places (although I think Donna's has the better all-around menu). When I'm enjoying a meal with someone, I hate to be rushed in order for the restaurant to turn over the table!

I second Alonzo's. They've steadily gone up and down hill for years and now they've sunk back to the days when it was a dive.

On my LAST visit there, there was a group in one of the booths near the bar, but very close to the dining area. They were being extremely loud vulgar with kids very close. Needless to say, they had consumed a few drinks. I nudged one them and (as politely as I could) indicated they were being offensive with kids around. That went over like a fart in church. I then waited until the manager was near the beer case at the front of the store. I asked him to please do something, he wouldn't. I told him I wouldn't be back.

Good riddance the food was overpriced slop and the menu was stale. It's become so filthy that I feel the need to wash my hands each time I use one of their linen napkins.

What a shame.

No Jack's Bistro? That place has let me down a number of times.

Trouble with Hampden is too many tats and pretentious pierced peeps. Without realizing it, the 'service' turns into a modern day hon fest. They all wanna YACK and ACT like they been doing this for years, when it's only been a few months. Ugly hair, ugly clothes, ugly attitudes (unless you're part of their crowd). Your order gets lost in the conversation about their musician boyfriend next gig. Different service would change the culture in every Hampden restaurant.

I'm surprised the Corner Stable didn't make the Top Ten.

So many controversial restaurants, so few numbers till you get to 10. EL

I thoroughly enjoy the food at Golden West, but the service is attrocious and indifferent.

We took my mother-in-law to GW on Mother's Day, and I got the wrong entree. Seeing as that it had already taken a half hour to get it the first time, I wasn't interested in waiting another 30 minutes to get it right. Imagine my surprise when the check came and there was no discount - no effort to make it right. My mother-in-law got fired up (not at me, for a change!) and started asking the server what he WOULD do to make it right. The server continued asking "well, what do YOU want me to do?"

I wound up getting a whole three dollars off and an offer of a free dessert.

Last time eating there, there are too many other good small restaurants in Hampden (Grill Art, Grano, Dogwood, Holy Frijoles, Rocket to Venus whose servers may be slow but are always friendly) to tolerate being treated in a such a way.

Come to think of it, all the restaurants I mentioned, with the exception of Holy Frijoles, have slow wait service. But they don't have poor/rude wait service. There's definitely a distinction to be made. I can deal with slow, I can't deal with rude.

Poor misunderstood hipsters.

Golden West used to be my least favorite resturant in Baltimore. Before Golden West moved to its current larger space especially, the service was beyond condescendingly rude. It was like they had a specific concept of what being inviting, liberal and inclusive meant, and anything that fell outside their definition was proactively treated with scorn.

I remember one time eating by myself and waiting an especially long time for my breakfast. I had nothing to do, and I had already been sitting at the little table for close to 30 minutes. So I took out my cell phone, turned it on mute and started to play a game.

Within a minute a waitress (not my waitress) came up to me, raised her voice so that everyone in as well as waiting for the restaurant could hear, and then yelled, "Don't you know it is rude to use your cell phone in a restaurant- We have a strict no cell phone policy. Turn it off and put it away immediately."

But the fact is I wasn't talking on my cell phone. And I wasn't making any noise, more or less making a peep. And I was just trying to pass the long time it was taking them to get me my food. In fact two women sitting next to me were talking very loudly. They were the loudest people in the restaurant, and their table was less than a foot from mine. I heard their entire conversation.

At that time, I wasn't dating anyone. I've now been married for over two and a half years and have a 7 and a half month old. And I have a blog on Baltimore family restauirants for fun. So that was definitely a while ago, and
what I look for in a restaurant as well as what I consider fun has really changed.

But I still seldom go back to Golden West, because, well, when I was single they treated me like garbage.


"Ugly hair, ugly clothes, ugly attitudes"

See? :)

the regulars on this blog sure do sound old and sheltered. perhaps you should stay in the county where you belong?

Wow, this is hysterical - I feel compelled to respond to the "shill" comments out there.

No need for anonymity in my book: I don't work for Golden West, I just eat there, practically every other week. I can usually be found in the back bar attempting to eat my dinner with my infant in tow. I started eaing there when I was pregnant and found myself craving spicy and sweet in one sitting and the ability to order one pancake saved my life. I choose to continue to eat there because GW happens to be one of the only restaurants in the city where I can nurse her comfortably (on the sofas) and dicsreetly (under a blanket) and no one will give a @#$%. They also have a decent baby changing area in their ladies room. You can see where my priorities lie, as much as I love good food. Perhaps then I have no business commenting about restaurants?

At the end of the day I stand by my orginal comments. When I want to get the hell out of my house with my baby, and eat a decent salad or burrito, I go to Golden West.

And for the record, I don't sport tatoos or piercings, but do sport black rimmed glasses because my vision sucks. I frequently use the word "hipster" derisively, as in "those hipsters moved into my parents' neighborhood and made it completely unaffordable for working class families" (when I'm not eating at GW, I am a labor activist in DC). I get as irritated by pretension as the next person, be it in the form of slackers who bitch and complain and feel superior to others or yuppies in boat shoes who bitch and complain and feel superior to others. But I will also admit that I'll tolerate a little pretension if it means I can get out of the house for dinner and take my kid with me. If in fact you still believe I am some sort of member of a brainwashed herd, feel free to suggest other restaurants out there that would better suit my needs, I'm open to it.

Everyone have a great day.

Donna B, Mathew's Pizza shouldn't even be on this list! As a die hard lover I guess I can't imagine anyone being a hater. But to each their own.

Top 10 things thats it was once cool to hate, that is now passe to hate:

2)inedible garnish
4)dane cook
5)goat cheese
6)jacks bistro

OK i'm only good for 7, i need help.

I dont think GW is quite passe to hate yet, but this thread is helping.

No order(just like EL)

Tio's is still the best restaurant in Baltimore period.

Hey, I think Michael Steele called Obama a hipster:

"He's young. He's cool. He's hip...",0,4277350.story

Oh, AND he called Democrats' actions "shabby and classless" - sounds like GW servers!!! ;)

I've been going to Golden West since they were in their "old" location. The food and the service have been on a downward slide since they moved into the "new" space and opened the bar. I often give second, third, fourth...etc chances to a neighborhood place but it's becoming difficult to justify spending my "going out" budget at GW. Poor, yet friendly service I can tolerate; poor and indifferent service is inexcusable. I say this from experience, I worked many years as a waiter and bartender.

Paper Moon is the worst: The coffee tasted like boiled gym socks. We asked for a fresh pot and the CRAZY owner came to the table and started yelling at us. Then they brought coffee from the same gross pot.

Golden West: The WORST!!! I refuse to ever set food in that place again. The service was pathetic - a bunch of art school drop outs who no one else would hire. Hamburgers like hockey pucks. The owner is too weird control freak with all the rules. Not a very well liked guy in the neighborhood.

G&M RULES! All the rest of you guys are pretenders. You probably eat crab cakes with bernaise sauce and sip wine with your meal. Crab cakes are meant to be eaten as a sandwich on white bread ( ok, a roll is acceptable) with gobs of tartar sauce that drip down your chin, maybe a slice of tomato and one (1) piece of lettuce. They should be accompanied by french fries and very cold beer. Proper protocol calls for a loud satisfying burp ( in the Japanese fashion) after you are through to pay homage to the crab(s) that gave themselves up for you (the longer and louder the burp, the more you liked the crab cake). AND.. don't forget to say " thanks Hon" to the waitress on your way out.

Nattering Nabobs of Negativity.

-thank you William Safire.

Le Sigh...where to begin? My name is Thomas Rudis and I am the owner of the much discussed Golden West Cafe. I would like to thank everyone for their comments on both ends of the spectrum, as criticism is the very foundation on which we grow, and good will enables us to thrive. I would like to address personally a few of the "thoughts" that have been shared with us.

Green Chile.

For really real. In New Mexico, the "N.M. Chile 6-4" is truly ubiquitous and "slopped" over everything. A million New Mexicans can't be wrong...can they? Well, as a "cake eater" from Pittsburgh, i didn't like it either until one morning...after a particularly debauched evening in Albuquerque, my roommates took me out for breakfast and ordered me a breakfast burrito drowning in hot Green sauce. 30 minutes later, my hangover all but vanished, my endorphines racing through me and a spicy tingle lingered on my palate. Alas!

No Substitutions!!

I feel passionately about certain things and I just can't help it. "Dammit Jim, this is a restaurant, not sky diving school!" No one needs hurl themselves from a plane, but try something new, or something else.
Allergies, on the other hand, are taken deadly serious as my managing partners' beautiful daughter is allergic to everything. People with severe allergies to things like peanuts, gluten, dairy are actually encouraged to bring their own food as we cannot make any guarantees. Others with mild to moderate restrictions are, and always will be, accommodated. There is an occasional rogue experience, but they are dealt with in a very serious manner.

Q: How many Hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: What... You don't know?

At this point, I am worn down to ambivalence. They may be annoying to some and may be testimony to a deep socio-generational collapse...or not. However, my personal manifesto states clearly that "people are not disposable" and I have chosen the path of rehabilitation. The past several years have seen great strides in customer service and "attitudinal" awareness. I can say this, however... The geek hipsters at the GW are very good people. They are honest and well meaning. Drinks may be slow sometimes, but they would give you their ironic t-shirts off their backs if you needed them (imagine that!).

You're a dirty birdy.

We are not polished, but we are clean. I would never endanger the health and well being of our customers. Public Health is a very important concern. Hand washing. 'nuff said. Food is prepared and stored properly with dates for freshness. Food safety is pathological here, ask to visit the kitchen anytime.
I can also not guarantee someone will not see a cockroach on the bar ever again. It is extremely rare, as our everyday practices are great, but our exterminator is a God. The myriad of boxes that come through our doors will invariably carry a passenger. Our exterminator anticipates this and hence...we rarely have a "sighting". I am deeply sorry for the person who did, and thank you. This is a topic that might be best left in the shadows, but I disagree. Knowledge is power.

We celebrate our Twelfth year in June, thank you everyone.

Thomas Rudis

LED: it's not the slow aspect of the service at Donna's it's the lipstick on the coffee cup, then never getting a refill on that cup, etc. that I'm talking about. Attentive service doesn't rush. I love that they let you linger. I hate that you have to linger over one cup of coffee. It really is a love/hate. I love the menu, wines, patio, parking. Hate the things they overlook!

I've never been to GW and for the life of me cannot figure out how a place known for slow service by inattentive (sorry) hipsters is also known as a great kid-friendly place. Huh? I am a former self-absorbed hipster with a 2 year old. I couldn't stand kids during that phase of my life. I also know that kid-friendly usually means FAST service. Little ones tolerate slow even less than us. So someone who has been there please explain this conundrum to me!

Morning Edition—I’m hater. The service is horrendous.

PAZO should definitely be on this list—the service is good but the food is horrible.

Alonso’s is absolutely delicious—and to be honest, it’s not a very kid-friendly restaurant anyway—have you ever seen a high-chair?

OK, now I have to add Golden West to my list...I'm assuming the tattoo on my butt isn't good enough? I'm going to have to get a couple that show? And maybe die my hair some unnatural color? Am I getting this right? Is that the whole "hipster" thing?

Thomas, thanks for your comments! Always nice to hear from the owners.

MS: "I refuse to ever set food in that place again." What, are you a former server? ;)

OK Bucky, have we ever had a post that generated 100 comments in a single day?

Bucky, don't forget the clove cigarette.
And work on your attitude.

I think I'm starting to agree with Bob, just Bob. I'm feeling a tad bit sympathetic for GW. I'm not sure I'll go there again, as the service is glacier slow. Their food, however, is pretty good.

Now, Bob, as to hating Dane Cook, some things, like Sperry Top Siders, will never be passe.

People are far too picky. I have never had a problem with Golden West. The servers don't kiss your butt, but they get you your food and do their job. And that is all I want, honestly.
Do I wish they did substitutions? YES. I can't do spicy and I would love to try something without chiles on it. but I deal. There's something for everyone on this menu. And kid-friendly is GOOD- or just go somewhere else already.

EL, This is BY FAR, the best top ten list you ever did, and it could certainly be expanded.
How can anyone discuss Morning Edition without talking about the service, (and I had a good friend who worked there..)
Paper Moon- I never had a single problem except finding a friend to go with me who doesn't hate it.
Sip & bite- um,
Ambassador- i went with my mom last time she was visiting, and she complained to the waiter about the price of a glass of house wine..
Tio's- I love it every time, but I think they never overcame the infestation problem many many years ago.
Birches,-only ate once. dont remember.
GW and G&M- never been to, but heard the good and bad over and over.
Sab's-Im a bookmaker lover!
Petit- last time I went, my friend had a gift cert. so, i didnt care about overpriced. that was 5 yrs ago anyway.

Thanks EL, keep up the good work.

Was it Elaine Benes(from Towson) who referred to Cosmo Kramer as a "hipster doofus"...and was it not Cosmo Kramer who told Jerry that" if you don't want to belong to decent society move to the upper east side"?

Yeah - Golden West has it's issues but those issues have been raised for years. The owner responded here - I don't agree with with everything he says but it's his place to run as he see's fit. If he can make a go of it and continue to stay in biz then more power to him. Yeah - service blows. Not sure the slow food movement equates with Golden West. He has kind of backed himself into a corner with all the rules - how can he relent now? There is no reason Golden West should stir the negative feelings it has - more a problem of customer relations. I don't want to see any business go under but none of this is helpful in this biz climate.

Diogenes -- I don't care for bernaise on a crab cake, but I don't want them to taste like Miracle Whip either. G&M isn't controversial -- It's objectively awful.

I didn't know Baltimore City Health department allowed patrons to bring in outside food. So if I bring in peanuts to GW and eat them next to a patron with a peanut allergy, according to the owner - it's completely legit with him and no one can tell me to stop eating them or leave? That's an attorney's dream case!

Wow ... busy day on the blog! I knew the folks in my office were bored with work today, but I didn't know it was a regional affliction.

Way back this morning Vetern Teacher made a comment about service in Baltimore compared to elsewhere. I meditated on that for the 40 miles I drove to Havre de Grace for a meeting this afternoon. I gotta vote with him.

My travels the last six+ years have taken me to 26 states and 29 airports. I have almost always been able to tack a part of a day or more onto a trip to sample the local culture. (And there are very few things more pleasurable than walking through a downtown at dawn and watching a city wake up. Omaha, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Antonio ... brilliant!)

On balance the service elsewhere is both quicker and more polite -- and I don't think I "present" as a tourist or business traveler (wait staff bucking for the big tip) and I am almost never in uniform (wait staff worried about eternity). I'll think on it more, but the places that quickly came to mind on I-95 included both professional waitstaff and amateurs, and there seems to be no distinction there. In fact, the sweet-young-thing who took my order at Santa Fe in McHenry (Garrett County) Saturday night was as good as anyone who has ever waited on me. I could say something almost as good about service at Orchid Garden in Hagerstown.

I appreciate the Sun's acknowledgment that service and atmosphere are worthy of evaluation on the same level as the food itself. There have been lots of moments in my life when the most important thing I needed -- especially on the road -- was an attentive server.

Morning Edition... LOVE The food. Savory French Toast. SO good! BUT and the But is a huge one...
The service is eternal, and the one time I went, we were in a party of 4, they seated the party of 4 who arrived after us before us. The only thing I can say is at least they managed to still be waiting for their food after we left.

Where there's (clove) smoke there's fire.

Why did Amanda turn out so much smarter than me, I, me. myself, oh never mind.

OK Bucky, have we ever had a post that generated 100 comments in a single day?

I don't know. Many of the 100+ posts were before I got here...I only captured them by scrolling through the archives. I don't recall that any since I've been here have gotten to 100+ comments this quickly. The other thing to note is that there has been practically no topic drift on this one. THAT is amazing.

I also want to give props to Thomas Rudis for contributing. I admire him for that.

Finally, I guess that if I have to ask was a hipster is, I ain't one...

Wow, over 100 comments in about 12 hours. Proof that people love to hate and hate to love.

Man, I haven't had a clove cigarette in like 20 years. They are in again?

I have only been to Golden West once and really was not impressed with the food at all. Our server, though, was friendly, and we had a large group of people with us. They even allowed us to bring a birthday cake for our friends b-day. It did take a long time for us to get our food. Fortunately, we had plenty to talk about while we waited.

I prefer Gecko's for southwestern style food.

Topic drift: What's a Dane Cook? He was on the Comedy Channel the other night, and he just wasn't funny ... and I have a VERY good sense of funny.

Birches - The owners, especially the husband, are complete jerks! Walked out in the middle of dinner and never been back. How is it possible they can be in customer service business? Can not wait for this place to fail so I can support the next owners! Must be tough going through life the way they do - I actually feel sorry for them. Stay far, far away from this place!

What's a Dane Cook?

I think he's a cousin to the Swedish Chef. (And I bet that when comments get posted later, I am not the only one to make this observation.)

Isn't a Dane Cook Victor Borge's chef?

Yes thuis is a hot topic but it's 80% about the crap service at GW.

Did anyone else notice that the name of the owner of place known for its bad service is pronounced rude-iss? Just a fun coincidence.

Come on guys, a place like GW has a culture of attitude that starts at the top.

All these complaints about slow food delivery also point to bad kitchen management. So bad front of house management and bad kitchen management equals very bad management in my book.

I tend bar, wait tables, and host at the Golden West. I've worked on the service end of the food industry for 15 years, though I’ve only been at GW for a few months. I offer you my half-hearted apologies for the long-windedness and serious nature of this post.

I can only guess that a lot of these perceptions are based on experiences had in the somewhat distant past. My experience with the bar and waitstaff, most of whom I consider at this point to be casual friends, is that they are genuine, hardworking, and clean. And I say that based not only on my interactions with them as co-workers, but on how I've observed their interactions with customers. They certainly rate echelons above the two-faced majority of service folk I've worked with in the past who kiss customers' asses and then spit in their food, never shutting up behind kitchen doors about how their customers look, act, and other mindless gossip.

Whatever the misperceptions may be about why co-workers would smile and talk with each other, it certainly isn't a seized opportunity to waste your time. Again, at other restaurants I've worked at (and in Baltimore this includes one "high-end" pre-opera/theater restaurant) servers can be vindictive to the point of standing in the kitchen with plates until they cool to room temperature, and, yes, actually spitting in food. At the Golden West, again in my experience, the servers work very hard to stay on top of their duties and give customers a fun, friendly, and timely service.

I don't know what people's "greaseball" hairstyles or education status has to do with one's experience at a restaurant. We’re lucky to have management that allows us to dress according to our personal styles, and we are an “eclectic” group, but GW servers are also quite clean. I didn't graduate from college, or even attend art school for that matter, but I'm certainly capable of waiting tables and tending bar. And I'm happy to do it with a genuinely friendly attitude, a smile on my face, and a roaring fire under my ass in exchange for a reasonable tip. And in my experience, so are the vast majority of my co-workers.

I like working at the Golden West, and I like our customers. I think a lot of the people who go to a restaurant specifically looking for “hipsters” to judge/be judged by are the same kind of people who’d post anonymous tirades about fairly trivial (for you; for me, this is my sole source of income you’re being so reckless with) matters on internet blogs. I think others, and anyone from that category who can let that judgmental part of themselves go, will also have a great time there.

Bucky, your Baltimore agenda is something, but it's not my Baltimore. If you left your agenda to me I would blow your mind with my Baltimore. If you didn't die, you would talk about it for the rest of your days. Bourbon Girl would blow your mind with her freaky soup agenda. I've said too much.


I work at the Golden West. I understand that things are sometimes slow and sometimes don't run smoothly, but even though you might look at me and call me a "greasy hipster" because I wear what I want, I still take pride in my work ethic and I believe that I work hard and do a good job. I have heard my bosses talking endlessly about specials and menu changes to know that they genuinely care about the food that they serve. If any of my tables has ever said they have a food allergy it can usually be accommodated, the only thing we are sticklers about is the chile sauce. Waiting tables is not a glamorous job. You run around like crazy, get food all over you, and people can be so rude that sometimes it makes you cry. But I still try to work hard and smile at everyone and do the best I can. I appreciate working somewhere that cares about composting and that the produce and meat is local. Maybe a lot of people that work there are artists and musicians and doing their own thing but I don't think throwing around the meaningless term "hipster" serves any positive purpose.

The only list Mathews should be on is Top 10 Pizza Places in Baltimore. For me they are #1 and have been for 40 years. No one does Pizza better IMHO.

Hey! BG has a freaky soup agenda??? ME TOO! BG, we should talk!

Claudlaw -- I was with you until you said "labor activist in DC".

EL, is this the post with the most responses ever?

at least we don't spit in their food? please... that's quite a standard that golden west employees strive for.

the waitstaff could be dressed in huggies for all i care. my dissatisfaction is certainly not about appearance, it's about blatant indifference and horrid customer service. i don't need my ass kissed. i simply don't need a hipster tude when i ask about something on the menu or about when another table gets served 10 minutes prior to us despite ordering 10 minutes after us. i guess that makes me crotchety and unworthy of courtesy.

How nice to finally see some thoughtful, well thought out responses from GW. I was especially impressed by the 2 servers who took the time to respond. It puts a face to the "hipster" label used in the blog. While I may never eat there (Hampden is not convenient for me), if I'm ever in the neighborhood I might be tempted to check it out. It sounds as though at least someone there is trying to do a good job, and maybe now they will even try harder!

What an absolutely fascinating dialogue. Now that the Golden West debate has been pretty well milked (or at least Green Chile Sauced,) any way we can continue to pro and con other restaurants in the coming weeks -- eliciting repsonses not just from fellow patrons but owners, chefs and servers? Incidentally, kudos to Claudlaw for her meaningful post. Given the value of the comments and mini-reviews we contribute to Dining at Large, let's be careful how we toss around the word 'shill.'

hey! The Golden West apparently employs servers who turn a blind eye to other people spitting in food.

so much for that second chance I was considering...

Of course, everyone has an opinion on food. I knew, from another job, the management of one of the restaurants on your list, and know for a fact they were active addicts of a, ahem, controlled substance. I will not set foot in that place for that reason alone.

We don't spit in your food? That's the best you can say for yourself and your employer? Good Lord.......

My take on The Golden West:
When someone who can't get to your table within twenty minutes of being seated to take your drink order, can't bring out said drinks in a timely manner, can't bring out all the drinks ordered, can't refill your drinks, can't acknowledge you exist, can't be friendly, and can't make eye contact with you to let you know they'll be with you eventually hands you a menu with a bunch of rules that say how YOU are supposed to act, it is just plain unacceptable.
I came to the conclusion that if I only picked up my cell phone and started talking loudly on it, someone would actually show up at our table. And while they were scolding me I may actually be able to get in an order.
I really don't care whether or not it's hip to bust on the Hampden Hipster-type and I'm not asking them to kneel down next to me, write their name on the table and pretend to be nice.
All I care about is how I am treated when I go out to eat. I don't need to CHOOSE to give some of my favorite dollars to a bunch of people who are too cool to wait on me.
You can pretend this isn't a problem all you want. You can keep telling yourself that these county jerks don't understand how it is in the city, but I've been coming to this city my whole life and have been living in it for sixteen years. I know there are restaurants with much better food and infinitely better service.
When my friends and I are discussing where we want to eat, GW always comes up and is always shot down by some or all in the group based solely on the service. I do not believe we are the only people who have had this conversation.
Look, I'm not asking to have my butt polished. I'm just asking for a professional courteous wait staff. Basically the exact opposite of what's there now. Unless I see video proof to the contrary I will not eat there again.

P.S. Where is the list of rules for the wait staff.

To the poster expressing the "connundrum" about a slow service restaurant being good for kids, here are some of my thoughts on why parents like this place:

1. The bustle of the place - aka "white noise" - it's just loud enough to have conversations, but drowns out any potential crying. Customers won't be as bothered if an indivudal kid is having a meltdown because GW isn't trying to project quiet ambiance. Parents won't feel as guilty about bringing their kids out if they should have a meltdown, precisely because this isn't a place to have a quiet, "fancy" dinner. I think the fact that there are always LOTS of kids in the place also makes parents feel less guilty if their kid makes their presence heard. The noise, incidentally, works great at putting colicky infants to sleep.

2. The staff is actually remarkably adept and calm when facing the incidents that can occur at restaurants where kids are brought along. For example, at a recent outing I saw a toddler actually knock over a glass of water - the glass broke when it fell to the floor. Now I am hardly suggesting this should be a way of life for families at restaurants, but I will also note the bartender in the back was very cool and sweet about this, and didn't make the perpetrator of this accident (which can happen to drunk adults, btw) feel like crap. I have also see the servers successfully dodge the toddlers who are learning to walk and embarking on their trips with mom to the bathroom. It can be like a gauntlet in there given the crowds and I think the staff handles this pretty well.

3. On a related note, the size of a place. I love the food (not the wait for a table) at the Blue Moon Cafe in Fells point, but I have avoided it as a brunch stop with my child because there is simply no room to place a car seat or stroller. GW is spacious, much less offputting to people schlepping all their kid accoutrements around.

4. The Menu - I have already made it pretty clear that I like the food. Well, I suspect that the kid-friendly menu will be a draw for me when my child gets older. There's plenty of options for a child's palate that don't include the dreaded chicken fingers and fries option that I see on most kids menus. And the better ingredients they use makes me feel better about introducing my kid to the menu (as opposed to the frozen sodium city I see in most restaurants that are "kid-friendly").

5. Finally, addressing the slow service. I would love to find a place where I can be in and out. I recognize that toddlers can't tolerate waiting for anything, and if mine eventually cracks under the pressure of waiting at GW we will leave, as we would at ANY restaurant. But I have yet to go to a restaurant where I wouldn't be faced with this problem. If there's a place where the food comes out fast, please tell me where it is for future reference!

Fun. Friendly. Hard-working. Genuine. Those are the things I said about myself, my co-workers, and my employers.

You can take and warp out of context whatever you want in your corner of blog anonymity, with more vicious, negligent comments. It is waste of your time. Most people will have read and comprehended the entirety of my post, and for those that did, I appreciate your time.

I didn't at all take the GW server's comments to mean either 1) that she is proud of the GW staff for not spitting in people's food or 2) that she had endorsed with her silence that behavior in her previous place of employment.


I have never been to GW so I can't give my (totally useless at this point) opinion of it. But, I did work for many years in the restaurant biz, and if there is one thing I know for sure, bad server attitudes in a restaurant are like a virus. A virus that is virtually impossible to get rid of because the afflicted train the newbies, and eventually the newbies become afflicted. It is a vicious circle that is nearly impossible to break.

Birches is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, and I have never, ever had a problem with the service. Yes, the owner was somewhat indifferent to me one day when I expressed my love for their food, but I just chalked that up to him being that kind of person, and moved on. However, I have always found the waitstaff there to be warm, funny, and very attentive. Besides the fact that the food is fantastic, and that means more to me than anything.

I also agree that the Corner Stable should be on this list. My best friend of a million years absolutely loves the place and raves about the ribs that fall off the bone, and their delicious crabcake. I contend that the place is a step down from my parent's club basement...the ribs are overcooked and covered in the most disgusting ketchup sauce ever, and the crabcake is as dry as Bea Arthur's (may she RIP) sense of humor. Ugh. Needless to say, we do not share many meals there. He can go on his own to eat that slop....I'll be up the street getting my BBQ on at Andy Nelson's.

What's a Dane Cook?
I think he's a cousin to the Swedish Chef.
Totally made me do a spit-take...thanks, Bucky.

All the focus on spitting in food, but nothing on the ass kissing? Some of you are very selective in what you want to take literally. :D

Does anyone remember EL's blog post titled, "The Split Check and other horrrors" ? It makes mention of the chef/Proprietor of Birches Restaurant and eloguently describes why they made it on the list of 10 most controversial resturants. The only way for Birches to get off this list if if the other EL Blog post titled, "Birches for sale?" comes true!

Hello, I also work at the Golden West. I guess I just had to chime in. Nobody enjoys criticism, but it is sometimes the best way to grow, so I thank everyone for their comments, positive and negative.

I've worked at the GW for a long time. First I have to say, the owners/managers bust their butts to constantly improve the dining experience. Whether it be new specials, new options for varying diets, better choices for patrons with young children or whatever, they're always working. And they don't live in a vacuum; we're aware of the rep we get sometimes and are always trying to step our game up.

I feel I should say this: a huge percentage of our clientele is made up of what i would consider to be "regulars". These are people who, up to several times a week, can be found enjoying a meal at the GW. A few of those folks have responded here, and I thank them for their kind words. I think it says a lot that so many people enjoy there experience at the GW to return on a regular basis.

As far as the attitudes of the staff are concerned, I know one thing: I love working at the Golden West. It's the only job I've ever had that I never dread going to. And I think most of my co-workers would say they feel the same. I come to work, enjoy interacting with my co-workers, and enjoy interacting with my customers. And I think most of them can pick up on that. I REALLY try to be friendly, courteous and accommodating. Sure we're a little wacky and eccentric, but that relaxed atmosphere is what allows us to provide people with a more personal kind of service. I think our bosses, and many of our patrons, would rather have us be ourselves. I love to joke around and talk with my tables, and i usually feel like they appreciate that aspect of their dining experience. I know for a fact that many customers come from the out-lying suburbs (and even sometimes from out of state!) just to experience our little slice of off-beat Hampden, and I for one really enjoy seeing those people's excited reactions to our decor, dress and menu. For some people, it's a little adventure.

Thomas is completely right, food safety is priority #1. And I believe a few people have taken my co-worker's comments, about having witnessed staff at OTHER restaurants spitting in food, out of context. In my years working at GW I have NEVER witnessed anything remotely close to that kind of behavior. She was simply stating that, as anyone who's worked in the restaurant biz knows, there are bad apples out there.

Lastly, our service. I know we're not perfect, but things have gotten SO much better (particularly over the last year and a half). I usually end a busy night genuinely proud of our team work. We all take pride in our work here. Unlike some people's conception of us as entitled hipsters, I think the contrary is true. We ALL feel lucky to have a job that doesn't make us feel like the life force is being sucked out of us. So it actually makes us WANT to do a better job, to keep a good thing going, for our customers and ourselves.

OK, sorry for the long windedness. In short, to all those who've had a bad experience in the past, come back and give us another try. I bet you'll have a nice time! Thanks.

Yikes! I think we've found out where springs1 works?

That was very well done, anonymous. I believe you when you say that the staff there is committed to trying to make things better.

I'll come back, just to see.

But, please please, GW people, I'm asking you to have a talk among yourselves about those Notorious Policies. Not even the policies per se but how you're conveying them. I still think they're at the root of so many bad feelings.

I mean, see how different the tone is between this (in the owner's own words, above):

"People with severe allergies to things like peanuts, gluten, dairy are actually encouraged to bring their own food as we cannot make any guarantees. Others with mild to moderate restrictions are, and always will be, accommodated."


this (from the Notorious Policies):

"We ask that if you have tree nut, peanut or soy allergies, you eat at your own risk."

The way it's presented on the menu a) is an eff-you conversation closer, b) seems to imply that people who have allergies are making them up, and c) not even how you really feel!!! which makes you seem gratuitously mean.

I'm feeling like I'm about to have a Joseph Welch moment, but, please, you all sound so decent, just be a little decenter.

Everyone has their own truth, but when dealing with the public perception is reality.

So, the owner of GW is trying hard to serve good food and he stands by his loyal, friendly, hard-working staff, and all of the employees who have written comments love their work and love interacting with their customers and feel proud of themselves at the end of the day.

This must mean then that the overwhelming number of us here in the blog as well as outside the blog who speak of horrendously bad, slow service--time after time, year after year--must be part of some mysterious conspiracy.

It seems that for the Golden West Cafe, where there's smoke there's ire.

Ironic for the owner of Golden West to quote Spiro Agnew in defense of his hippie dipster staff.

People make the biggest fuss over the things that matter least.

I won't say I LOVE Golden West, but I really want to be around when one of the haters has an experience there. I have taken hip friends, and also my decidedly un-hip mom and aunt, and they've asked for me to take them again. Everyone had fun, and ate some food they've never seen before. It's not fast food -- relax, enjoy the decor, the cute hipster boys and girls. What, you think they're ugly and pretentious? Then go to Grill Art and sit alone in the dark.

PS: Irony that the haters call the chef a control freak when they don't get to have their picky preferences honored.

I've eaten once at Golden West in recent months and was not overwhelmed by either the food (mediocre) or the service (slow), but that is not to the immediate point. My daughter loves the place.

The point is that a diner's negative experience is remembered and colors perceptions for a very long time. It's entirely plausible that Golden West service was as bad in the past as the various complaints here describe. It's also plausible, aw, c'mon, that the current wait staff is courteous, helpful, and prompt. The problem is that even if verything is swell now, it will take serious, applied effort and a long time to live down the negative reputation.

I appreciate the statements of the proprietor and the current staff here, but they are going to have to show the customers, not just tell them.

Food safety is pathological here

You do realize that pathological means "indicative of disease"?

Welcome to Bizarro world – the customer is always wrong and possibly delusional.

New rule: We ask that if you have rude hipster allergies, you eat at your own risk. Next! Why am I thinking of the Soup Nazi? No soup for you!

Flaquita, Es una gran conspiración y somos participantes involuntarios.

And The McIntyre has spoken.


Now see here!

Spiro Agnew, a Marylander, may have said it, but it was Mr. Safire who wrote it. I chose to give credit to the one who deserves it. Why do writers always get all back of the bus in favor of the "talent"?

Peanut allergies, while the topic of some debate are deadly serious and for some, and they know who they are to which we speak are sensitive to residue. Since peanuts are used liberally in several dishes, we can not be certain of a residue-free meal.

The rules page was writtten by me several years ago and has changed little...but I have not. I promise to review it again and edit, or remove anything less than savoury.

My good man Umberto Swarm, lets jump ahead to the 3rd definition in Merriam-Webster's dictionary for Pathological.
3: being such to a degree that is extreme, excessive, or markedly abnormal

Thank you all and Good Night!
Thomas Rudis

Mr. Rudis,

I have never been to The Golden West but I now feel compelled to give it a try. Your appearance here, and willingness to engage with your detractors is quite appealing. Plus, you have a way with words, which is an attribute at least as worthy as good cookin'. Alas, if you weren't so busy running a controversial restaurant you might have time to partake more fully of the pleasures to be found in this blog. Do try to stop in again. Around here, we don't remove anything less than savory.

People with severe allergies to things like peanuts, gluten, dairy are actually encouraged to bring their own food as we cannot make any guarantees. And why would I want to go to a restaurant if I had to bring my own food? Is there a plate fee, akin to a corkage fee?

Y yo, Bujito, nunca mas regresare'. Ya basta!

I've never been to The Golden West, but after all this I'm def going there soon!

when dealing with the public perception is reality.

Or, as Vance Packard told us long, long ago, Perception Is Everything.

lets jump ahead to the 3rd definition in Merriam-Webster's dictionary

I only have Webster's Dictionary for Snarky Blogsters.

Now I just see mental patients scrubbing with tooth brushes

I am an employee an the golden west.

Without giving too much away I will say I agree with the customers and not the employees and owner who are defending something they are a little too close to to make a sound argument.

The service is better now than in the past, thats true. But thats not saying much. It could easily be much better. Getting your food faster is a plus, but if your server looks like he/she just walked in from an outdoor week long summer experimental music festival with no shower facilities your appetite may be lost.

Indifference about how you appear to your customers is still indifference. Even if you care about their experience, your appearance says otherwise.

The restaurant is far from "pathologically" clean. Its clean, but could be cleaner.

The servers can be either gracious and professional, or you may get "the guy sleeping out back" watching the tables. He still works there. There is more than one of them.

Just yesterday I was in and saw a shining example of the famed "dirty hipster" employee. I shook my head and thought...
a: what a bad first impression
b: why is this still a problem?
c: how may times does it take for customers to complain about the "dirty servers" before we actually hold management and employees to a higher standard of dress and hygiene? Do we care more about our employees feelings than we do about the comfort and confidence of our guests?
d: in light of all this talk about dirty indifferent staff its hard to live it down when I see it right here before my eyes.

So, with that said maybe some action can be taken in house to clear up these issues once and for all.
The staff are all gracious, sensitive, honest and hard working people. Thats what makes it hard for those in charge to come down on them about their appearance. Maybe these comments will shed a little light on the situation and personal pride and responsiblity will win out over policy changes and uniform inspections.

Thank you all for the comments, as I hope in the future no one will come to the GW and think their server just woke up from the alley outback to take their order.

Bujito? Me gusta mucho.

Thank you anon. Your comment brings a reasonable coherence to the issue. Your comment could easily be turned into a plan for improvement by management. Before you posted it one could reasonably believe that there was some kind of mass delusion on the part of customers and/or employees/owner. Of course we already heard from the Nattering Nabob of Reasoned Thinking, John McIntyre.

It would appear the previous anonymous post is a Ruse...buyer beware. Many great points were raised, but without a certain familiarity that would lead me to believe they were a staff member of GW. Anonymity itself is a discredidation and I encourage everyone, including my staff, to use your real name. If nothing else, it encourages one to be more thoughtful.
Y'all are stuck with me now.


I don't want to go to a restaurant where food safety is abnormal -- I'd rather go to a place where food safety is extremely normal.

I'm generally of the notion, "better unsigned than unsaid." And when people are simply offering their opinions, I stick with that.

But when someone claims to have specific insider knowledge about something, I tend to discount the claim when it is made anonymously.

(I understand why the "employee of GW" might want to remain fault with that. But I'm not just going to give that information the same wieght I give to an information from an employee who signs his/her name. I'm with Mr. Rudis on this one.)

Veddddy interrrrrresting....

So now, perhaos, we should also discount the favorable comments about Golden West from anonymous posters who claim to be employed there?

All the servers/employees were anonymous.

I agree with YumPo – Ya basta!

Just remember, slow service does not equal bad service.
Bad service equals bad service. And I have nothing personally against the place. I want it to be a good experience every time I go. But it isn't. I want there to be more good restaurants in this town, not less. There is no ulterior motive for complaining about GW.
It seems that the owner and staff want to marginalize the people who are complaining by saying they must be closed-minded people who don't understand.
This reputation has been earned. It is years in the making.
We all have better things to do than pretend something is wrong with a restaurant when there isn't.
Mr. Rudis you need to stop lying to yourself and hold a staff meeting to address this. I doubt you will. Unless, of course, business drops so dramatically that you actually have to make your staff and yourself treat every customer as though you need them. Not the other way around.
By the way, I was just there within the last month and nothing has changed.

If it were my staff, I'd prefer them to keep their mouths shut in order to create any worse of an image than they already have.

Wow, this is one big topic, no? I do agree on GW, but have been on both sides. When I first went there I loved it, but it soon dawned on me just how pretentious the place was. The second time I tried to get in there they had ten people waiting to get in. The food IS good, but not excellent, and I can get as good or better food from a restaurant that takes a lot less time to get into, with much more attentive waitstaff and a management that DOESN'T mind making substitutions. So no more Golden West for me. I'm starting to agree on Rocket 2 Venus, too, though I still like their cornmeal fried oysters. The Grill Art Café is still hands-down my vote for THE worst food in all of Hampden.

Just got back from Golden West. Very nice time. The service was competent, sweet, and caring. Plus, evidence of teamwork. I'd go back.

It's like we have the same brain JM.

Scary. More so for you.

Just remember, slow service does not equal bad service.

That's like when Boris and Natasha had a race with Rocky and Bullwinkle in a two team race.

Boris: We lost
Natatasha: No, we came in second.

Slow service is bad service.

[Don't think less of me because I love Rocky and Bulliwinkle.]

So now, perhaps, we should also discount the favorable comments about Golden West from anonymous posters who claim to be employed there?

Yes, I do that, too.

If I eat in Hampden, I'm going to Dogwood. There's a place that is trying to do right thing, both in buying local ingrediants and in employing people who need a second chance in life.

Amanda, you are absolutely right.

Amanda C -- anybody who loves Rocky and Bullwinkle is OK in my book. (Oh, and your point about service is spot on.)

Watch me pull an hassenpfeffer out of my hat.

Silly rabbi, trigs are for kicks

This made me miss Tio Pepe. I still think about that fish with caramelized bananas dish they have.

Rocky episodes are available on

It's interesting that this has turned into a discussion of GW -- perhaps it's because servers and the owner responded? I have anyways enjoyed the place, and while the service is sometimes slow, I have never had a rude or mean server. The times it as been slow it has also been busy, which brings me to my main point: in a business where something like 50% of new restaurants fail within one year, Mr. Rudis has not only kept his restaurant going, but has expanded, first to the larger space, and then into the bar area. While I can sympathize with those who hate it, his (controversial) formula keeps bringing people like me in. Why should he change? Ultimately, were I in that business, I would hope for that kind of success, and I'd much rather be on the list of those restaurants people love or hate than that of restaurants people couldn't care either way about. Congratulations to you, Tom!

Rocky episodes are available on

Oh thank you. That's the perfect respite for a lunch break. How can you be stressed watching Sherman and Mr. Peabody

Golden West Cafe is clearly the most devisive, but their food is sooo good I'm able to stand their crappy service and overall 'too cool' vibe.
Papermoon is scary, Sabatino's came across as out-dated (in a bad way) and Tio Pepe was a bit stuffy but damn good.

Where's Woodbury Kitchen, Salt, Ra Sushi, and Rocket to Venus? All of which are a bit contrived and heavily overrated.

Some people don't like Pazo? Is it because of the dress code?

Indeed...Apathy is my mortal enemy. It is found a plenty in the 20 somethings that grace our payroll for the first time. I attempt everyday to instill the belief that in order to care about others i.e. our customers, we must care about ourselves. I keep trying.

Please forward thoughts and criticisms.

Thomas Rudis

I don't like Pazo because the service was uneven, the food was only ok for the price and it felt like a well-decorated barn. Granted, very well-decorated.

Dress codes don't bother me. Having to physically grab a server after putting my wallet on the table, fiddling with my credit card, trying to make eye contact and then calling out, "Ma'am or Sir" as they run by does.

I don't see any connection to Pazo being a well dressed barn. I believe it's one of the most attractive restaurants this city has to show for itself. And for the dress code, its not really there to bother you as much as some of the city residents that think a 6XL white tee shirt (dress) is proper attire. That place is also a monster. Having known some people that work there, on a busy Fri or Sat, they feed 700-800 people which doesn't count the bar or lounge. Not too many places can say that. Some say it's snobby or too uptight, then I would ask about a place that requires jackets for men, is that even more uptight and snobby?

And for the dress code, its not really there to bother you as much as some of the city residents that think a 6XL white tee shirt (dress) is proper attire.

Let me translate that into plain English for you. "And for the dress code, it is to keep out poor people, especially if they are also black."

This from a place that ran my credit card before they so much as permitted me a glass of water.

When I was in Baltimore on business when Pazo first opened, I took my son and daughter-in-law there one evening. It certainly is a nice rehab of an industrial building and the wine special was good. However, I thought the fast pace of the service was counter to what I like in a Tapas place. We had to order all of our choices at once and then they brought them out when "they" were ready not when we were. I believe we ordered 8 or 9 different things and before we had finished the first 2 or 3, the rest seemed to be upon us all at once. It was quite a crowded tabletop.

To top it off, Cindy Wolf personally stopped by our table to supposedly see how everything was but added could we please finish up because they had people waiting for our table.

They food was OK but I have had better and with the atmosphere and noise I experienced I won't be back.

My favorite for Tapas is Jaleo in Virginia. There as you sip your Cava, you order 4 or 5 things, they come as they're prepared and when you finish those you order 4 or 5 more. It is a quiet, relaxing experience and I have never felt that I was being pushed to clear the table for other diners.

That's not tapas at all. Tapas is an attitude not a size. Screw fake American tapas. Americans ruin everything.

Cindy Wolf personally stopped by our table to supposedly see how everything was but added could we please finish up because they had people waiting for our table

Oh no she di'int. B>] (Just read my mind...)

If you don't like being rushed, may I suggest next time getting tapas to go. Maybe even eat it in the car or perhaps the bus. Just be sure not to drop an empanada on your 6XL t-shirt.

And are those big shirts really 6XL. When I was a kid I had a t-shirt that was the actual size that Andre the Giant wore. I'm thinking that was something like 4XL.

Owl is right, tapas is an attitude. Not to shill, but Wild Olives (in Rosemary Beach FL) has a tapas menu and they do it right. Ate there last week and really enjoyed it. The plates are well prepared and brought out only when you are ready for the next.

Well, pretty much anything goes well with a cold Stella Artois.

Golden West service is AWFUL! I was 7months pregnant last time I ate there for lunch. The server delivered everyones food but mine then proceeded to tell me they were out of the sandwich I ordered. WTF???? Shouldn't someone have come to me immediately not AFTER waiting over an hour to get our food! I was one hot, hungary pissed off pregnant lady!!!

Wow, I'm surprised that Birches made this list. When my husband and I lived in Canton, right down the street from the restaurant, we became regulars. The wait staff was great, and always greeted us by first name. When I loved the cd they were playing, next time we were in, there was a copy ready for us. We love the food and people there so much we had our rehearsal dinner upstairs in the private dining space. It's one of the few places we miss now that we are out in the suburbs. They've always gone out of their way to accomodate us for special occasions and needs.

sara -- for some of the reasons why Birches made this list, see this prior D@L post.

Maybe I can score some pirated DVDs at Birches.

Yes, The Morning Edition is not in Butcher's Hill, it is in Patterson Place.
the owner is neghborhood friendly and the food is delicious. Since I don't usually care to rush through brunch and I tend not to be rude to wait staff, I don't find the slow service to be a problem.

I hate restaurants where the staff is whipping your plate away before you've even finished chewing. I'll take a more laid back atmosphere any day.

Thanks hmpstd. I just read the post. Wowsers! I see from the comments that a good number of people sided with Birches on that issue, and I would have to agree. If I ever go out to eat with friends and know that I'm not treating or being treated, I always stop at the ATM for cash. It's hard enough trying to split the check amongst a group of friends, let alone asking a server to split credit cards so many different ways. As I mentioned earlier, I had my rehearsal dinner held at Birches for a similar size party and you better believe that prices and payment were all discussed and agreed upon before the event.

Birches even making this ridiculous excuse for a Top Ten list is all the more reason why the Sun Paper circulation continues to decline. I can't even imagine where the notion to assign such a description as "outrageous attitude" came into anyone mind except for this self assigned "food critic!" Having enjoyed more meals from Brian's kitchen and late nights at the bar with Marnie I would suggest that Ms. Large remove her head from her lower region and just not write anymore about Birches since she clearly has no ability to be even remotely objective about this OUTSTANDING local haunt that we would WELCOME in my neighorhood anyday of the week... that was the kindest way I could put my thoughts to your "blog."

Please note that these aren't my descriptions. If you use the search function for Birches on Dining@Large, you'll see that there are many readers who feel both ways about the restaurant. EL

Easy up there old Clif boy. If you can spare yourself the five minutes out of your day, scroll up to the link provided by hmpstd and do yourself some real reading... if it wouldn't be too much trouble. One would hate for one to get an entire story before one spouts off at the mouth.

I think that Birches must give away an awful lot of free drinks, judging by the quality and reasonableness exhibited by its partisans.

Wow...Clif sure set us straight.

Of course, I don't think that someone who spends late nights at the bar with the owner's wife qualifies
as "objective".

I believe most of the negative opinion about Birches formed in this blog was based on the actual words of the owner. I know mine was.

Dear Ms. Large,

Thank you for the kind review of our restaurant. We also would like to thank our loyal customers that continue to support us in these tough economic times. We are very much honored to be considered Baltimore’s best crab cake for so many years and work hard to provide our customers with a memorable dining experience. We take pride in using only the highest quality jumbo lump crab meat available on the market. According to our (six) crab meat vendors, G&M uses more crab meat (some weeks exceed 10,000 lbs) than any other single restaurant in Maryland.

Needless to say, since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, that kind of volume has been difficult to come by in the local markets; it is simply not available in the quantities and quality that we require certain times of the year. After rigorous testing, we felt that using certain types of meat from Indonesia and Thailand were acceptable to supplement our domestic meat only when needed. It is our understanding that other restaurants in our position use similar techniques.

We are proud of what we serve our customers and even prouder of the prices we are able to maintain in these difficult economic times. Thank you again for your continued support.

G&M Management

I'm from Atlanta, and I am continually appalled at the terrible food, retarded service, and shockingly high prices I get EVERYWHERE here. I think the Golden West is one of the worst restaurants I've ever eaten at: if I were blogging, I'd call it the Worst Burger in Baltimore. Maybe Worst on the Eastern Seaboard. (Although it jockeys with Cafe Hon for this honor.) As far as the "hipster" factor goes, a third-rate dump like Baltimore can't even get that right. Hipsters are supposed to be beautiful and nonetheless highly competent servers, as they are in real cities. If you don't think so, then for God's sake try leaving Baltimore and living somewhere else for a while.

Gee, TD, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.

Ever since the blog went to Insta-Post, there has been a bit more snark.

Thanks G&M, for your comment and honesty.

I've noticed that, too, and I can't figure out why. I'm still reading and killing out duplicates and anything too objectionable. (Always glad for your input on this.) EL

Transitional growing pains and the coincidence of some temporary lunch meat

Yes, there has been more snark. I wish we could flag questionable posts for Elizabeth, to help her out.

I don't want to go back to her having to be chained to a computer 22 hours a day, but the tone is changing. I guess that means the regulars have to step up, and try to smooth things out.

Problem is, I'm such a snark-filled raving lunatic from Hades that I'm not sure how to be all elderly statesman. I'd rather misbehave myself.

Anyone got any ideas?

I wouldn't worry too much, Anonymous. As long as we have RayRay around to abort the incoming (he's faster and more effective than a Cone of Silence), everything will work itself out. We all just have to stop and smell the honeysuckle.

Or, each of the regulars could volunteer a day to do screening. Think of the power! (shudder)

G&M, I never even thought that Katrina effected crab consumption up here, but I'm sure it did. Thank you for pointing that out to us.

It never, ever ocurred to me that EL would be editing out as much snark as we've been seeing here in the past week. Of course, I've seen more snark on some of the other blogs this past week or so, too. Is it possible that Sun management has advertised the Sun blogs more widely, thereby bringing in the uncivilized?

I wasn't editing out snark. That's what's puzzling. Maybe people are just in a bad mood with all the rain. EL

You gus are being ridiculous. EL wouldn't have deleted any of these comments. It's all in your mind.

if you just ignore the snark it goes away.

unfortunately, most people feel the need to vigorously defend themselves against any and all unsupported, unsubstantiated, erroneous and anonymous comments posted about anything and everything in the internets.

thus, snark breeds snarker which begats snarkest.

and then the entire thing implodes into a void of snarky nothingness.

so, please, just ignore the snark, :)

No, it doesn't go away. I've been on other insta-post/message boards and the snarkers have been known to just attack everyone and everything being said, while those who don't want to be around it just disappear.

Eve, this isn't other places. Let it go. Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophesy? Stop feeding it and it won't live. Besides, this isn't unmoderated. Ignore the negative element and it will die. Besides you're imagining it. There are cycles in moods that are natural.

Gah, I was being anonymous up there, due to a cookie cleansing so I could get google maps to work.

Danged technology. If I could just get wifi in my head...

Group hug!

There--now don't you feel better?

When we do get snarky people here, it is usually do to critical comments about a particular place. These comments bring out the supporters of those places (owners, staff, patrons). This can be bothersome, but I can understand it.

We are lucky that we don't get a lot of people just trolling for a fight just for the sake of harassing people.

C'mon RoCK, the people trolling for a fight know better than to do it here. They will be ripped up one side and down the other by the acid tongue superior responses they get over here.

Yeah, we can blog rumble with the best of 'em.

Oh, I love a blog fight as much as the next guy, but eventually the fight gets old.

The problem is that, for a good fight, you have to have some material beyond, "U suxors, dood, heh, u sed crab"

Remember over in Wordville, when JMc mentioned that one message board/blog that begins with an F? (I dare not mention its name so they don't come here).
His blog was beseiged with snarkers. Good of JMc to post a representative sample of what he received. I'm sure he got lots more nasty stuff that he killed off.
They eventually drifted away though.

I think that before Insta-Post, people were more moderate in their comments since they had be approved before they were posted.

Now that the sun is finally out in Baltimore, maybe people will be happier. Or at least outside, and not on their computers.

Well, I check all the time and kill out anything I would have killed out before. So if it's up, it isn't up long. EL

Couldn't resist addressing snark in today's post.

Discover magazine reports that in April a moderately sized asteroid missed hitting the earth by 40,000 miles.That's waaaaaay to close for my taste. I'm gonna try to feed the hungry and visit the sick from now on.

BTW: Just a note on Petit Louis:
Took ten people there for dinner early one Saturday evening. I had only eaten there once before a long time ago...I sat there looking at that study-in- minimalism-menu of theirs and thought--"Uh oh." Well, after two glasses of wine, some pate, soup s,cheese, and those ethereally light fries that melt in your mouth, we were all smiling. And the service was OUTSTANDING.

You know I've eaten in all of the 10 mentioned over the years and for the most part there were good and not so good things about each of them. I guess that is what makes them real. At least they are all still in business!

Stay away from Birches. Owners are insane and service absolutely stinks. Your evening out can easily end with a screaming match with the owners caused by nothing. They are so close to Hopkins yet they don't check themselves in for the help they so desperately need. Too bad really - they waste their lives just being angry.

Check your head beastie boy.

If you want to slam somebody you gots to bring the details. Otherwise you just look nuts yourselfs

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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