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October 30, 2009

Of Turp's, Diablita Cantina and other restaurant things

TurpsSportsBar.jpgI was bad this week about linking to stories in the print edition. There were just too many other things to talk about. I only just got around to reading Other Reviewer Richard's review of Turp's in Mount Vernon, mainly because it isn't a place I'm going to be eating anytime soon.

That was a mistake on my part. I really loved this paragraph in his review:

When you walk by it, Turp's looks busy all the time; Neo Viccino always looked like an Edward Hopper painting. This turn of events is an illustration of something, surely - of giving people what they want, of the struggling economy. The take-away lesson for me is that, next to location, timing can be the most important ingredient in a restaurant's success.

Timing could be a whole other discussion because it's rare that a restaurant reinvents itself so successfully. ...

Plus, did you notice to the left of the review online there's something called "Topics"? I love that list.

They are: 

Edward Hopper



In other news, I got an e-mail from someone complaining that McCormick & Schmick wasn't on my Top 10 Seafood Restaurants, which appeared in print Wednesday with some of your comments. I told him that while I wasn't averse to putting chains on the list, the last time I had eaten at M & S, I hadn't had a very good meal. (I gave it a pretty good review when it opened.)

I urged him to comment under the blog post, but I think print readers aren't interested in blogging or bloggers -- even though they'll take the time to send me a letter or e-mail.

In my Table Talk column this week I expanded on several blog posts, including a mini-review of King's Grilled Kabobs in Hampden, but the only new material (well worth a look) is the Deal of the Week, actually Deals of the Week this week. 

I was interested in the fact that the restaurant featured, Pazza Luna, is "burning old stock" and selling bottles of wine that presumably are worth much more for $20. I would love for someone who has seen the list and can comment knowledgeably on it to tell us more.

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 12:56 PM | | Comments (8)


I'm not surprised it's doing well. Back in March, I wrote about how Mount Vernon needs a sports bar.

Rock on, Turp's!

When we went to Pazza Luna on Wednesday night, several of the bottles on the "old" list were sold out, but we were still able to snag a very nice 2006 Boroli Quattro Fratelli Barbera d'Alba, formerly $42, for $20. Sweet deal!

Sam, yes -- prescient, very.

I went back to look at the responses to that thread. The idea that the Mt. Vernon Stable and the Owl Bar qualify as "sports bars" is to laugh.

We ate at M&S once. That was enough.

Haven't been to the M&S in Baltimore, but was dragged against my will to the one in DC last spring. I was not impressed.

I think the success of Turp's speaks to how that neighborhood is changing, particulary because of UB.

For years UB was only a commuter school. People would drive to school and then drive back home. Now, the school has a lot of its students living in the neighborhood. This new population provides a clientele for places like sportsbars.

Went to Turp's on Friday about 7PM, and there was a good crowd. Ordered the Italian supreme pizza and wings. I would rate the food as above average bar food. Good pizza and very meaty, large wings. The menu was quite extensive too. Prices were right for food and alcohol. Good luck to Turp's! A good addition to Mt. Vernon.

Went to Diablita on Friday. Impressed by the space when we walked in, then realized it's decorated exactly like Red Star- communal table, barstools etc. Cozy place. The menu gave us pretty high expectations with the ingredient lists, poetic preparation details, we had such a hard time deciding. We ordered our drinks and they were goooood, even if they were slow to get to us (it wasn't crowded at all). We were in for a treat if the food followed suit...but it didn't. Such a disappointment, in service and food presentation. The steak in the steak tacos looked like something from Chipotle (no offense, but we weren't there for fast food) the additional ingredients (onion, bacon, in this instance) were SCARCE to say the least. Our shrimp tamale was just a huge ball of dried up fried cornmeal with one shrimp hidden in the middle. Anyone else tried it?

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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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