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June 29, 2009

Inside Green Cilantro

green cilantroYesterday, I went on a bit of a pedestrian adventure, walking from Federal Hill to Canton and back. Along the way, I stopped into a couple new bars (strictly to catch my breath, you see).

The first place I hit up was Green Cilantro, the new bar which replaced the Whistling Oyster on South Broadway. It was a great spot for Sunday afternoon swilling -- the big windows at the front of the building were wide open, which made Green Cilantro look quite inviting.

Green Cilantro's owner(s) have gussied up the place a bit -- new furniture, a new paint job, etc. There aren't any beers on tap yet, but the bottle selection wasn't bad. I ordered a Magic Hat #9 ($4.75), which was, oddly enough, served in a bottle -- even though I was one of four customers in the place.

I wondered if the bartender was new at this, because I paid for the beer with a $20 bill, and she handed me back a ten, a five and a quarter. I had to ask her to break the five so I could give her a tip.

When I asked about the name, the bartender told me they've been getting a lot of friendly criticism for it. And rightfully so. It's probably one of the lamer new bar names I've come across. I like Dave's suggestion of calling it Xtreme Cilantro much better ...

Considering the place is named after a controversial herb, you'd think the owners would incorporate the place's namesake wherever possible.

If I were them, I'd put cilantro on everything that comes out of the kitchen. I'd serve wheat beers garnished with cilantro instead of orange peels. And I'd set up a cilantro cannon (similar to a confetti cannon), which I'd fire off at random inside the bar. But that's just me.

According to the bartender, the only drink that incorporated cilantro was the cilantro martini, made with Absolut Citron vodka, lime juice and (you guessed it) cilantro. It only costs $6.75, and I almost tried it then and there.

But it was 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, and I didn't want a cilantro martini to be my first drink. The bartender didn't help convince me either.

"It's an acquired taste," she said.

Rest assured, I will try it the next time I'm there.

There were a good two sips left in my beer when the bartender snatched it and asked me if I wanted another. I thanked her, politely declined and headed for my next destination: Clutch. More on that later.

(Photo by Alexander D. Mitchell IV)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:09 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Missi and I stopped in Saturday night. Not a bad time and the menu looks promising...even though I detest that soapy-tasting herb.

It was good to see some familiar old-school Fell's bartenders working there Saturday night, though. A new place where I already knew everyone!

Here's hoping I don't have the same bartender you did the next time I stop in.

$4.75 for a bottle is out of my price range. Where are the cheap bars?

My wife and I stopped by last week for a beer and tried one of the tapas called
"gambas al ajillo" or garlic-flavored shrimp.
Nicely done. Quality fresh shrimp that didn't feel it had the life frozen out of it and a good job on the spicing. Not quite as much garlic as I was used to as a one time Madrileño ex-pat, but very nice all the same and more to my spice-shy wife's liking. We'll try more tapas and report when we do.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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