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October 8, 2009

Richard reviews ZhongShan



Other Reviewer Richard had a very good meal at the newest restaurant in what used to be the closest thing Baltimore had to a Chinatown. I've been wondering how ZhongShan was doing, especially as none of you has mentioned it. It sounds like it's flourishing in one of those Bermuda Triangle locations.

Pictured are selections from the dim sum menu (clockwise from bottom): vegetable scallion pork bun, steamed shrimp dumplings, Chinese egg sponge cake, mini sweet rice, taro dumplings. In the center are crispy sesame balls and fried dumplings at Zhongshan. ...

In case you missed it, for yesterday's Table Talk column I tracked down an owner of Bagby Pizza Co. in Harbor East, who gave me the quote of the day when I asked why he had decided to open a pizzeria: "You have to love pizza. C'mon."

The Top 10 from a week ago was also in the Taste section, with some of your comments.

(Kim Hairston/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:21 AM | | Comments (12)


We discovered it shortly after it opened, after a few months of lamenting the Chinatown Cafe.

What I wouldn't give for dim sum right this very second.

definitely craving dim sum now. is there anywhere that does dim sum dinner carryout in baltimore?

Darn it, Dan, now I'm craving that too. It's one of Baltimore's biggest culinary shortcomings, not to have real dim sum...

I'm pretty sure that I've posted here about my experiences with ZhongShan. I ate there twice when I was still working around the corner and had two very boring meals. The first time, the flavours were so unmelded that it tasted like everything had been cooked separately then tossed before serving.

The room is something else, though. It is worth eating there once just to enjoy the camp.

I have picked up takeout dimsum from them on several occasions, I think it's solid stuff. Is it the best Dim Sum I have ever had? No. Am I happy to be able to get in in Baltimore? YES!! Get the honeycomb tripe, good eatin'...

I want to go just for the dim sum -- they're gorgeous! Isn't a parking lot nearby?

I went to Bagby Pizza Co. a couple of weeks ago and thought the pizza was absolutely scrumptious. The crust was very thin and crispy, at least at first. One problem with those thin crusts is when they sit on the circular metal serving trays, no air can get between the crust and the pan. The heat then causes the crust to steam and go soggy. I think if they had a circular cooling rack of sorts it would make a big difference.

By the time I got to the second half of my pizza it was still tasty but texturally deficient.

I had a pizza with grilled eggplant and squash with mozzarella and pecorino and herb oil. The vegetables had nice grill marks on them and were sizable chunks. It was really perfect outside of the eventual crust issues I already mentioned.

Here's the problem, despite the quality of the pizza, the price is exorbitant. It cost about 18 dollars for my large pizza, which was not a lot of food considering the very thin crust. I have not gone back since and don't plan on it unless the price goes down.

Corey, I want to say that we have eaten at Bagby Pizza Co. and we find it to be "Great!" Unfortunately, people like you who feel that they are culianary experts in Baltimore seem to always complain about portions and prices. Maybe you should stick to Dominoes pizza and the Tasty Diners which are really more in your budget and let the rest of Baltimore enjoy good high quality food! If we leave it up to people like you to critique restaurants based on your budget and taste, we won't have any great places.

Please, let's ease up on the personal attacks. He has a right to tell us why he doesn't like it; just tell us why you do. Thanks. EL

Sparky - I did not see anything particularly negative about Corey's feedback. He gave the food high marks, but just thought it was too high priced for his liking. Personally, I appreciate comments from "people like him", because in this day and age, for me and I assume others, price is something to consider when dining out.


It seems as if you have a grudge from the past that you're applying to me but the truth is you don't know me at all. I never claimed to be a culinary expert, that's putting words in my mouth. I did work at Linwoods in high school as a prep chef for a few months. I've always loved food, cooking it, consuming it, and talking about it. This blog does not have posting criteria and I doubt my comment will have any significant sway with prospective Bagby's customers.

Like Trixie said if you reread my words you'll see that I gave a very positive review of the food itself. It is a fact however that given the price and portion sizes Bagby's will not fit in everyone's budget as a regular dining spot.

Perhaps the price needs to be that high in order for them to turn a profit using very high quality ingredients. Whatever the reason there's nothing wrong with their decision it just limits the potential clientele. Given the Harbor East area I think they should have plenty of people for whom price will not be a concern.

I will still visit Bagby's on occasion, especially if someone else is paying for it! But until working at Baltimore City Public Schools becomes a more lucrative career Bagby's will not be a regular stop for me.

What do you think about my idea to keep the crust crispier longer?

One more thought, perhaps our disconnect is a result of the context in which we think of Bagbys. Typically pizza is considered a cheap, fast, and easily accessible meal. I would say that about 95% of places that sell pizza fall under that description. There's a priming effect in place such that when I hear pizza I bring a set of assumptions and expectations about what it should look like and cost. Bagby's clearly does not fall into the same category as Dominos and Pizza Hut, despite having a casual storefront, interior, and pick up service.

If you think that Bagby's might be a slightly more expensive pizza chain your price and portion expectations will be violated, perhaps leaving you discontent.

If you consider Bagby's as a nice (not high class, but nice) restaurant then the quality, price, and portion sizes will likely meet the expectations you bring with you on to Fleet Street.

I think it's extremely interesting to think about how the context we bring into a dining experience effects our dining experience, and how that experience might have been different carrying in a different set of expectations.

I guess this just emphasizes how subjective the idea of "value" is to different people. Maybe its a difficult concept to evaluate in the context of a blog. It looks like similar idea is being discussed in regard to Volt.

The pizza is tasty at Bagby though, no doubt about that. I don't mind paying a couple of dollars more for 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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