Sunday, September 29, 2013

Baldwin's Station

While planning to go to the beer festival, my friend Dave decided to try and find a place for us to go eat dinner afterwords.  Dave and I have similar taste in food, so I have to admit that that much mocking ensued.  What did he hope to find in the middle of nowhere, Maryland? I heard they just got an Olive Garden.

Allegedly, he found a good Mexican restaurant in Westminster, MD.  Being from Texas originally, I have a blanket aversion to Mexican food this far north, especially in areas that aren't known for having wide ethnic diversity.  I abruptly vetoed this suggestion.

We ended up going to a place in Sykesville, MD called Baldwin's Station.  I've driven by this place a ton of times on my way to visit friends, but I'd never stopped to eat there.  It was surprisingly good.  It wasn't crazy gourmet, or particularly innovative, but it was on the nicer side of casual and the food was solid.

For an appetizer, I had what I think they called a scallop bisque.  It was OK, but it wasn't a bisque, wasn't creamy at all.  Not 100% sure I like scallops in a soup.  My favorite part about scallops is the nice crust they get while being seared and their sweet, delicate flavor.  All of this gets lost in a soup and the scallops just become a bite of mush.

My main course was much better.  I had beef shortribs served over mushroom risotto and grilled squash.  The squash seemed like a bit of an afterthought, just placed on the side and not really incorporated into the dish.  It could have been any vegetable/side: asparagus, mushrooms, an artichoke.
The shortribs were cooked perfectly, and would have fallen off the bone had they still been on the bone.  The bones were nicely arranged on the side of the plate, I guess to show me that they were once attached to the meat ... or something.  But, the meat was delicious and covered in a tasty glaze.  The risotto provided a nice texture and flavor contrast to the richness of the meat.

They had a shockingly good scotch menu, so I had a glass of Oban for dessert.  Dave had Talisker, which I actually liked more than my Oban.  The Oban was a bit too smoky and didn't go well with the rich, almost fatty taste I had left in my mouth from the beef.

All in all, it was a solid restaurant in an unexpected location.  I know this review sounds incredibly picky, but my meal was good and I cleaned my plate.  For having zero expectations of having a good meal last night, I was really pleasantly surprised.  

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