I grabbed lunch with a friend last week at Gertrude's at the BMA. It was the perfect day; we sat under the canopy tent, on the patio by the fountain. Gertrude's is well known for its Chesapeake style, Eastern shore cooking, with many dishes using backfin or lump crabmeat and oysters. I ordered the sandwich and soup combo-
Steamed spiced shrimp, lemon-parsley dressing, lettuce and
tomato on seven-grain bread, with potato chips
Miss Jean’s Red Crab Soup
Traditional vegetable-based Maryland crab soup
with backfin crabmeat
The shrimp salad was unremarkable, there was definitely Old Bay in it, which covered up any traces of lemon or parsley. The consistency was quite loose and wet, making the shrimps go slip-and-slide everywhere. I felt like the chips were a cop-out. Considering the quality of the food on the menu, the atmosphere, and location, the presentation of the Utz-like potato chips on my plate just didn't mesh. I understand there idea of going for a "lunchbox" kind of lunch, but would it really be asking so much if they had made homemade chips...hell, I'd even take Kettle chips over what I got on my plate! Just a suggestion.
Whoever Miss Jean was, sure got it right on the Maryland crab soup recipe. Light tomato broth with corn and beans sets the stage for large sweet pieces of hand-picked crabmeat. And quite a lot of it, for just a small cup of soup. Next time I think I will just order a bowl of this.
Gertrude's does a good brunch service, with standout dishes like Gutman Avenue eggs, and Back Creek Inn Crab Quiche. The complimentary basket of cornbread and biscuits is enough to win my heart, and stomach. If you are going for dinner, try going on Tuesdays, they have $10 and $12 dinner specials, which are great deals. Gertrude's is sophisticated and unpretentious, located in a serene setting, with a bit of an urban flair. Don't forget to visit the BMA after your meal, it's free now.
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218