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January 7, 2011

Your weekend dining

kdbaltoIt's Lullville. The holidays are really, really over. Winter dining promotions are about to begin. Restaurants need some live bodies, I think.

What's everyone doing this weekend? Where are people watching the Ravens game?

Baltimore Sun photographer Barbara Haddock Taylor shot this 1999 QVC deal from her own tv screen. I'll have to ask her why. On the left is Ron Kauffman, now retired, selling his Chesapeake Bay Gourmet crab cakes.

Posted by Richard Gorelick at 10:22 AM | | Comments (2)


I have been reading this blog for a long time and have never posted. This morning I felt compelled to post about my dining experience last evening. I went to CR Lounge in Mount Vernon with what we call the Wednesday Night Club. Every Wednesday my parents and my Aunt and I venture to a different restaurant in Baltimore for a bite of something new. At the CR Lounge we had a fabulous time from appetizers to the last morsel of the three scrumptious desserts that we managed to polish off. We were greeted by our charming waiter Rick. Cocktails and cornbread hot out of the oven soon followed. We started with the shrimp risotto and a delicious mélange of mushrooms with manchego and truffle oil which was accompanied by a salad that was dressed better than any that I have had in recent memory. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the risotto. I must confess that both my father and I make risotto frequently and I am hesitant to order it in restaurants since I often find it a bit bland. In this case the risotto was seasoned well and the shrimp that were perched above came close to stealing the show. Two racks of lambs, shrimp and grits as well as short ribs with potato gratin were ordered for the main courses. The first bite of the short ribs that I ordered grabbed my attention. The meat was incredibly tender and pulled apart as soon as it was touched by the fork. When I was able to pull my fork from the short ribs I took a bite of the shrimp and grits and nearly swooned. I did not try the lamb but was told that they were perfectly cooked and simply delightful. The evening ended on a high when chocolate cake, not yo mama’s banana pudding and a coconut cake arrived. We were told that the coconut cake was truly homemade as the chef makes the cake at his home and then transports it to the restaurant. We often have a hard time finishing one dessert but this time the three disappeared. My father and I also finished off with what was called the Tito Mojito. Rick said that he brews the tea himself with fresh mint. He heats the tea to order and adds fresh mint and rum. I was delighted to see that it was indeed the perfect end to the evening. Throughout the evening we found ourselves looking around the restaurant and being puzzled as to why it was not completely full. We had a tremendous experience and I hope that more people will give CR Lounge a try because it is a restaurant that I would like to return to often.

thank you for this

We too had a fabulous experience (with the food) at CR Lounge when a group of 13 people went for my birthday in November. However, almost every person in my party has stated emphatically that they will never return. It has even become a major joke between all of them, using CR Lounge as the catch-phrase to describe a completely disastrous evening. I do have one friend who has suggested we return for a girls night of wine and coconut cake at the bar and amuse ourselves watching the train-wreck that goes on around us. The customer service was appalling in ways that would take hours to describe. A few low-lights of the evening:

It took over an hour for everyone at our table to receive their first drink. The waiter refused to take more than two drink orders at a time, then would disappear to the bar for ten minutes before returning each time.

The waiter was also obviously very, very drunk, reeked of alcohol, and touched three women in our party very inappropriately. They were not amused, and three times is certainly not an accident!

Near the end of the meal, he announced proudly that he had taken the liberty of improving two orders for tea by adding amaretto and whiskey to them. This was neither requested nor appreciated, and was added as an extra charge on the bill.

Several of the drinks were double charged on the bill, which came more than an hour after we first requested it.

My husband and I had to stay after the entire party had left for another half hour to figure out and argue the bill. We were still charged for items we did not have and did not order , and were there for a total of four hours, which ruined our remaining plans for the evening.

The restaurant knew we were coming, and knew we had a large party. We had made a reservation in advance (another difficult experience fraught with poor customer service), and there was only one other table filled the entire time we were there. There was no excuse for the inattentive and disturbing service. As I said on this blog before, the food was fabulous, and I feel terrible for the terrific kitchen that has to deal with this disaster front of house. I hope they get their act together, but after a night like that, I doubt any of my group will return. Perhaps for that wine, coconut cake and sadistic entertainment value, but I for one will wear an armored bra and will certainly avoid ordering tea.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner 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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