So I reviewed Harbor East Deli and Byblos
As a few of you know, I was The Sun's takeout food columnist for about two years. Sometimes I review restaurants, too.
I don't know if I could be a full-time restaurant critic or not, though. There are, after all, only so many ways to describe a crab cake.
With Happy Drinker/Eater Rob Kasper on vacation these past couple weeks, I've been covering his weekly restaurant review in the Live section.
First up was Byblos, an inviting little Lebanese spot in Federal Hill ...
The food was well-seasoned but not spiced to death, and the husband-and-wife than run it are a cute couple. In the review (read it here), I said it was one of those spots you didn't know you needed until it opened. I think it will do well.
For some reason, our fancy new newsprint/online publishing automation system decided to randomly delete two stars from Byblos' ratings. That's why, in print, it only has two stars for food (instead of three) and one and a half stars for service (instead of two and a half).
When we realized what had happened, I yelped like a little girl and sheepishly called Byblos to apologize for our computer's mistake. I wanted to re-enact that scene from "Office Space" with my desktop, but it wouldn't have been a good move.
Next up was the new Harbor East Delicatessen & Pizzeria. Like the menu, the name is a mouthful. Zink! Damn, I should have used that in my review (read it here). *Shakes fist*
I expected more out of Harbor East Deli, and it didn't live up to it. The pizza was boring and needed more sauce, the sandwich I tried didn't have any mayo or oil, which meant that, after a few bites, I felt like the dude in the Aaron Burr milk commercial.
The lamb gyro was another story -- overflowing with thin strips of meat, tomato, lettuce and cool cucumber yogurt. I also liked the boardwalk hand cut potatoes, an unnecessarily long way of saying "fancy French fries." But on the whole, Harbor East Deli has a way to go.
One reader took the time and effort to read my article and e-mail me some constructive criticism:
I'm just a casual reader of the Baltimore Sun, but I do tend to notice shortcomings in writers' work. You for example, used the sophmoric phrase "let alone" twice in this article:
1) "let alone a deli"
2) "let alone take a bite out of"
Surely your command of the English vocabulary could be better?
Gosh, I love fan mail!
(Top photo of Byblos by Jed Kirschbaum/Baltimore Sun. Bottom photo of Harbor East Deli by Gene Sweeney Jr./Baltimore Sun)