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April 16, 2010

Chef takes it easy

Greg NalleyI caught up with W. Greg Nalley yesterday. 

He's been executive chef at Nick's Fish House in South Baltimore for about two months. Nalley was once chef-owner of Harvest Table in Locust Point, but he sold it and took about a year and a half off.

What was he up to all that time?

"I kind of fished and got in my wife's way," he told me. "My jokes stopped going over with my wife so I figured it was time to go to work. This deal came about and it really enticed me. This place has so much potential."

Nalley said he hasn't done a big overhaul of Nick's menu, but he has added several fish item. "Fresh fish of the day -- three or four fresh fish of the day -- five different kinds of oysters," he said.

He's focused on bringing in higher-quality purveyors and on "cross-training" his staff. He also said he'd like to increase the number of catered events the waterfront restaurant does.

Along the way, he's found he very much enjoys being the chef, rather than the chef-owner.

"I don't have to worry about payroll," he said. "I don't have to worry about insurance. I forgot how easy it was."

W. Greg Nalley, in his days as executive chef of Maryland Turf Caterers, injects strawberries with Grand Marnier for the Preakness Corporate Village in 1997. Sun photo by Kim Hairston

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:21 AM | | Comments (15)
        

Comments

Sounds good. Nicks is a great example of one of the things I love most about this area: good food on the water.

FLIRV, I appreciate the POSITIVE comment, but what do you mean by good food on the water? Bay Cafe, Cheesecake Factory, Rusty Scupper?

Anonymous, I hope you're not claiming that the cheesecake factory or rusty scupper has good food...

What's he injecting into that chicken breast? I want some.

cheesecake factory? seriously??


haha even the captcha agrees "tackier in"

Sam...
W. Greg Nalley, in his days as executive chef of Maryland Turf Caterers, injects strawberries with Grand Marnier for the Preakness Corporate Village in 1997.

Maybe if they have a new chef I'll give Nick's another shot. I was there twice before, and both times I found the experience to be horrible. Once was inside and despite the restaurant being empty (I should have taken that as a sign to leave), the service was hard to get. The food was worse. The second time I went -- because I wanted to eat on the water -- it was more crowded, and I took that as a good sign. However, service was just as hard to get, and the food was just as terrible.

Hmmm... on second thought, maybe I won't go back. Why do people like this place? Is there something I'm missing?

I ate there this past Sunday. I don't usually go there for food, but I was told that they had changed chefs and that the menu was new. My "fresh" ahi tuna sandwich tasted like rubber. It was awful. I wish it had been edible. I really wanted to like it. I'm sticking to strictly drinking there from now on.

Ironically, I just finished eating leftovers from my Nick's lunch- a crabcake sandwich. I did notice that they had a new menu today when I was in and now I know why. The crab cake sandwich there is one of the best in Baltimore, if you haven't tried it, it's worth it. Could have been a little more hot, temperature wise, but still good. I was happy to see they've added sweet potato fries- my fav- but they needed a little sea salt or something to spice them up.

Nik, the service is usually sub par (although I have to say today wasnt so bad) but if you have a crab cake sandwich in one hand, an Orange Crush in the other, and you are sitting on the deck in the sun, you will understand why I put up with the service.

Kristen--Orange Crush? Really?

Dahlink, not the 1950s soft drink.

Kristen--Orange Crush? Really?

Orange Crush:
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
3/4 oz. Triple Sec
Orange Juice

Oh, those Orange Crushes go down way too easy. I haven't had any around here, but when I'm on the Eastern Shore, I'll get one-or more- at the Harborside in West Ocean City or Harrisons in Tighlman Island. Both of those places use fresh squeezed OJ.

Generation Gap, thanks for clarification. Dahlink, I highly recommend you give an orange crush a try!

RoCK- you can get the fresh squeezed OJ in the summer at Nick's- anything other than fresh squeezed just isn't a real O.C. in my mind. Make sure you ask to confirm that they are using fresh squeezed that day, sometimes they try and half ass it, but usually they have someone at the little deck bar squeezing away during the summer.

Hay Gap, you left out the main ingredient, they call it a crush because of crushed ice.

if i know greg nalley, (and i do), he's injecting orange juice in the strawberries, and telling everyone it's grand marnier...

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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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