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TOWN HALL

TOWN HALL

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New Restaurant Openings

Updated: Thursday, April 24 2014, 05:04 PM EDT
On Tuesday night, I was invited as a guest to try out the newest of chef Spike Gjerde's establishments, the brand new Parts & Labor in the Remington neighborhood. Located in an old brick industrial building on North Howard Street (which most recently was the home to an auto tire shop), the newly renovated complex features the restaurant/butcher shop at the front, and the new home of the Single Carrot Theatre ensemble in the rear of the building. The butcher shop area occupies the spot closest to the street, and the expansive industrial-chic dining area sprawls beyond that. An open exhibition-style kitchen overlooks the room, and the place has the feel of a dining hall, in that most of the seating is at long, tall  communal tables that fill the middle of the space. There are a few more private booth seating areas tucked along one side, near the windows, and a large L-shaped bar toward the rear. As might be expected, the casual menu is meat-centric, with down-home sides such as a terrific, herb-laced potato salad. The spring green salad was fresh and interesting, and we sampled the ribs and the P&L version of a Baltimore classic, the pit beef sandwich, which was a revelation-- a nicely refined, grown-up spin on the local street favorite. Their take on a classic Manhattan-- here dubbed the Remington-- did not disappoint. The place was packed, and looks to fill a much-needed culinary niche in this working-class neighborhood that borders the south side of the Johns Hopkins University campus.
     On Wednesday night, I dropped by another North Baltimore newcomer, the eagerly anticipated Le Garage, now open on The Avenue (36th Street) in Hampden. The brainchild of The Wine Market's Chris Spann, it touts itself as a "Beer Bar & Frites" kind of place. The subterranean space (which formerly housed The Dogwood) has been completely redone, with several seating areas and a large barroom. Surfaces are concrete and metal, with subway tile and exposed brick adding to the industrial-yet-warm feel. On the menu, expect appetizers such as French Onion soup, roasted marrow bones, liver & onions and an escargot tart.. Entrees include mussels & frites, Vietnamese braised oxtail, a grilled pork chop, pan-seared Arctic Char, and moulard duck magret. On the sandwich side, there's a list of open-faced tartines (the one with bacon, tomato jam and fried egg was a highlight), and the burgers come in beef and vegetarian versions. Those tasty frites come with a choice of dipping sauces (the list is long, but we tried the Old Bay ketchup). The eager staff made our experience a delight, and the bartender knows how to make a great Sazerac. This is a solid addition to the already myriad dining choices in Hampden.
(Shown above: The crowd chows down at Parts & Labor.)New Restaurant Openings


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