I remember dining at b when it first opened, many years back. The food and service has fluctuated through the years, as to be expected, but what remains contant to me is the ambiance of a real neighborhood eatery. It blends in so well with the surrounding historic homes that you'd most likely drive by without notice, were it not for the diners softly buzzing over their plates and glasses of wine, outside clustered on the sidewalk. It's a wonderful place to relax on a summer night, with no where to be but with friends.
There is a list of specials every night, a choice of appetizer, salad, pasta dish, fish, and "butcher's block." The open kitchen in the back is the only reminder that you are not dining at a good friend's home for a dinner party.
We started with a bottle of Vouvray. Two of us ordered pizzas, one with calamari, the other mixed mushrooms. They weren't mind-blowingly good...then again, you can't really mess up a pizza. The crust could have been thinner and less cheese on top would have highlighted the toppings better. Rather, it was covered in a gooey layer of cheesey swampland. Taste was ok, according to my friends.
I split the mussels with another friend, since they were a large portion. Tender and juicy, but we both agreed the broth could have been more savory or fragrant. It was very tomato-ey, and could have used more garlic. But.... we still ate it all up! We also ordered some salads and appetizers- the tomato and mozzarella salad and roasted eggplant and pepper, with mozzarella and pesto. The flavors were all great and colors beautiful.
Our lovely evening was marred when a neighborhood dog was run over by a car in the street...but luckily it wasn't badly injured.
So go, stay a while, enjoy a bottle of wine and one of the most charming neighborhoods in Baltimore.
1501 Bolton Street
Baltimore, MD 21217