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June 18, 2010

So I reviewed Harbor East Deli and Byblos

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).

harbor east deli belly!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)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:02 AM | | Comments (11)


Let alone constructive fan mail

Wait a minute: Who is Chris Sligh?

The problem with the Harbor East Deli is that it's ungodly slow. Don't even bother between 12-1 you'll waste your whole lunch hour waiting for your food to come up, and when if finally does the order will likely be wrong.

Also it's very loud and you can't understand what the quiet little girls working the counter and saying. Overpriced and overall and EPIC FAIL for harbor east

Harbor East Deli could be a lot better but the girls working the counter do not speak English well enough to take orders, the yelling out the numbers once the meal complete does not work, it just causes a cluster#$% at the register and it is too slow. If the management can address these issues things could improve there dramatically!

I agree with all of the above about Harbor East Deli. I can't understand nor hear anything those european girls are saying. and judging from the accuracy of my orders I think it's safe to assume they can't understand me either.

The food is overall very good though. Just overpriced like everything else in Harbor east.

Fan Mail - I thought both reviews were great! Descriptive, informative, and easy reading.

I completely dis-agree with you people on the pricing. This is the cheapest sandwich in town. Compare this to subway, you get a sandwich 2x the size for 6.99 I mean that is cheap. Im not sure where you all are living but that is dirt cheap. Go to whole foods/taco fiesta/Bagby/Rosina and you will be 2x that price. Beers 32oz are 4.99 thats dirt cheap. I mean i dont see it.... As far as the Russian women, i think its great they provide these young girls with an opportunity to come to America but at the same time, they maybe should have someone else on the register during a lunch time rush... The food is great and cheap, if you want a high end sandwich go to Bagby/Rosina and pay 15 bucks, if you want a good in an out deli i think this hits the spot. I dont think this was meant to be gourmet, this is a upscale deli that caters to all spectrum of buyers in my opinion.

Went to Harbor East Deli a month or so ago after a Saturday matinee. My 4-bullet point review:

• Location

• Customer service
• Price
• Food quality

Lots of potential ... but they don't meet any of it.

The article stated that Harbor East Deli is open until 3am on weekends. Tried to get a bite Friday night around 1am and they were closed.

Mark, that's odd. I talked to the Deli, who confirmed the hours for me before we published the review. Maybe they closed early that night? Just a guess.

The food is terrible at harbor east deli and pizzeria. I wouldnt recommend it to my worst enemy. I would much rather go to taco fiesta or bagby and get good food. Also the service is much better

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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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