March 28, 2008


1300 Bank Street
Baltimore, MD

Although the link above is to the Lemongrass restaurant in Annapolis, they recently expanded with a new restaurant in Baltimore. Technically its located in Little Italy but for those of you from the area, its actually on the North side of Little Italy just shy of Fell's Point. And honestly - its in a shady little part of town. There is a parking garage directly across the street that should bring out-of-towners some sense of comfort and security, but for those you too cheap to pay for parking (*cough* me!), you can probably find some street parking.

Lemongrass is apparently pretty popular in Annapolis and I was pleased to see that they offered a number of vegetarian dishes. I had read some mixed reviews of the new Baltimore restaurant (mostly in regards to their "poor" service) but still wanted to give it a shot. I went with some girlfriends to celebrate a birthday.

I called them a week in advance to make a reservation. A man answered the phone and was very polite. He took my information and said I was all set.

I arrived with one friend in tow about 30 minutes before the reservation. Since we were still waiting on 2 more friends, we sat at the bar and didn't check in at the "hostess" desk yet. Lucky for us - it was happy hour! Their happy hour special was $3 glasses of house wine (white or red... and I think the white was actually a combination of several white wines), and $4 asian imported beers.

My friend got the glass of white wine and enjoyed it but I splurged and went for the Lemongrass martini ($7/glass). I'm not much of a martini drinker and generally only order them to feel fancy, but this one was amazing. It was a blend of a vanilla-like flavor with lemon. It sounds weird but was actually quite tasty and there was definitely no bite to it from the alcohol. Don't be fooled though, there was definitely plenty of booze in there... trust me.

When I went to check in with the hostess, my reservation was not there. I had read some reviews from people complaining about their lost reservations so I wasn't entirely surprised. We were fortunate because we were eating on a Wednesday night so there was plenty of space.

Since Lemongrass markets itself as a Thai restaurant, their swanky decor in the bar (giant hindu statue, etc) wasn't unusual. But I was a little surprised that the giant artwork next to our table was a scene from The Sound of Music. Seriously... that's Julie Andrews.

The server was very nice and I was really digging his Fu Manchu moustache.

We started off with some appetizers: some crispy string beans and the Papaya Salad (julienne green papaya, roasted peanuts, string beans and tomatoes tossed with spicy lime dressing).

We devoured both quickly.

For dinner, we ordered:
- Veggie Delight (stir-friend mixed vegetables and tofu in a light garlic sauce)
- Asparagus Shrimp
- Some chicken dish and some beef dish (I should have paid better attention to what my friends got).

Most of their dinner options are below $15 so it was pretty inexpensive. I thought my veggie delight was very good. It wasn't greasy and the garlic sauce wasn't overwhelming. I do have to say, however, that this isn't the most authentic of Thai restaurants. If you're looking for authenticity over ambience, you may want to go elsewhere.

We also ordered desserts: friend banana with vanilla ice cream and... fried ice cream. When the server told us the specials, I think we all shot each other a confused look. I thought fried ice cream was a Mexican dish? I guess its not.

Because it was my friend's birthday, he brought it out with a candle and spared her the silly song.

Overall, we enjoyed everything we got and thought our server was very nice and attentive. I recalled reading a lot of reviews regarding the bad service and aside from the reservation snafu, I wasn't seeing any of it.

Until the next day.

I went to check my bank balance and it appeared that my $30 charge (we all split the bill) was $136. What?! I thought perhaps he accidentally ran my card for a different bill (since our bill didn't even equal $136) and promptly called the restaurant. The woman on the phone said she'd pass along my info to the manager. I was freaking out but am happy to report that the manager, Kim, called me back within the hour and was nothing but polite and helpful. She researched the previous night's records and saw that the server had accidentally ran my card with the total bill (although the number is still off) but cancelled it and their records show that they are only authorizing a $30 charge to my card. She noted that the initial swipe of the card registers with most banks but should be removed within 2 business days.

So all in all - the food was decent, priced VERY well, and their food service was decent enough. My recommendations would be to make a reservation and call back to CONFIRM your reservation before you go over (especially if its on a Friday or Saturday evening). I would also recommend parking in the garage across the street unless you're the type that likes to live dangerously and want to see if your car will get broken into.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

the top left picture in the foursome is actually pad thai tofu. it was tasty and i even had enough to take some home. i agree that this isn't the most authentic of thai restaurants but still makes for a great birthday dinner.