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December 28, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterbacking: Sam's Kid



Yesterday my review of Sam's Kid appeared in the A & E section.

This is the latest in what I hope will be a trend in Baltimore's Asian restaurants: places that are stylish and fun as well as having good food. Reasonable prices don't hurt either.

The other restaurant that comes immediately to mind in this category is Minato, after it moved up Charles Street. ...

I can't decide whether Red Maple counts or not. It certainly has lots of cutting-edge style and Asian tapas have been a specialty, but I don't think of it as an Asian restaurant.

It's interesting that Sam's Kid is one of three tapas restaurants in Fells Point. We've had neighborhoods that specialize in bars, and neighborhoods that specialize in cuisines, like Little Italy. Can you have a neighborhood that specializes in how people like to eat these days?

(Lloyd Fox/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 11:06 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Monday Morning Quarterbacking


Sorry to be picky, why no food photos?

employees Landfill, make of that what you will.

There weren't any when I went to look for them in the archives. I'm assuming the owner decided not to fix anything. I leave that up to the restaurant since we aren't paying for it. EL

So, we tried to go to Sam's Kid on Sunday night. Every table we saw was occupied, but we would have been happy to wait. I can see by your photo that there is a bar in back of the restaurant, but standing in the dining room, there's no way to know that -- there are stairs and a giant plant in the way of your view. We stood in the dining room for several minutes without seeing any restaurant employees. Finally, a server dropped off drinks to the table directly next to us ... and then turned on his heel and walked away, disappearing in the back again. That was enough for me. We went across the street to Tapas Adela, which was just as busy. The difference was that Tapas Adela managed to have three employees waiting to enthusiastically greet us and seat us immediately. We were drinking amazing red sangria within a few minutes.

Yes, good reviews are killers for small places. They just aren't equipped to handle people all coming at once, and they usually do more harm than good. EL

Tried to get in Sam's Kid for lunch today. I arrived at about 12:30 and there was a 30 minute wait! Sucks...was looking forward to lunch their too.

Went to Sam's Kid for lunch around 2 pm on a Wednesday. Though I agree the food was delicious, the service was extremely slow. My table all ordered at my table at the same time - however other ppl were seated after us and received their food before ours, and none of our food came at the same time. A little disorganized if you ask me - but yes the noodle soups are delicious. They should consider up'ing the staff - esp in the kitchen.

They said they were looking for more servers, the holidays disrupted the schedules of the ones they had, so send 'em if you got 'em, because that was the best pad Thai I ever had.

We went to Sam's Kid for lunch today on the way home from a hospital appointment. We got there at noon, and were the only customers. By the time we left there were five or so other parties. Mind you, this was not only a Monday, but a very cold Monday.

The food was good. We split four of the small plates: Ocean Spring Rolls, Spicy Broiled Mussels, Crispy Calamari, and Green Beans sauteed with spicy black-bean sauce. The spring rolls and the calamari both had a sweet Thai chili sauce, on the side in the case of the spring rolls, while the calamari were tossed in the chili sauce. The calamari were cut in strips the shape of French fries. I really, really liked the calamari and the spicy (and crispy) green beans, with the ocean spring rolls close behind.

I found it strange that they have no wine by the bottle. We don't like buying wine by the glass, so we stuck to beer.

We got a bottle of wine there. It was one of the bottles sold by the glass, which I admit is a little weird. EL

Went to Sam's Kid on Friday night. My overall take - excellent food, terrible service, and hated the decor. Let me explain...
When we walked up to the place, we thought there was no way it could be a restaurant - the lighting was so bright and there was a hideous bright purple couch in the front. They really need to do something about the lighting.
We sat at the bar, even though there were empty tables, that's just how we roll :) After we sat down, we realized how unsightly the area behind the bar is. The wine and liquor bottles are just sitting haphazardly next to the dirty dishes and sink, and there were receipts everywhere. There was no bartender, and only one server for the whole dining area and bar.
A friend of the owner's was there with a group, and he invited himself behind the bar to make his own drinks, poured his wine on the counter right in front of me, came back on multiple occasions to reach in front of people over the bar for something - I found it incredibly rude and unprofessional. The poor waitress looked miserable, and overworked, and other patrons at the bar were getting quite pissed about food taking too long and ended up cashing out and leaving. In general the service was a disaster, and if they intend to last they need to fix it quick.
As for the food, we thought it was excellent. We had the vegetable tempura - eggplant, zucchini, carrots, broccoli. I had the Chiang Mai noodle soup, which I thought was to die for. Reminded me of our time in Thailand, with a spicy coconut broth, hints of kaffir lime. YUM! My fiance got a stir fry noodle dish, which was also excellent. Probably the best asian food we have found in Baltimore - I think we'll wait a while before going back, so they have some more time to get their act together. And hopefully they won't have random friends helping themselves to the bar next time.

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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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