Maggie’s Farm is located at 4341 Harford Road in Baltimore. They made the best list due to their sometimes Southern, sometimes Asian-tinged menu of comfort foods served at a higher standard. The review also mentioned the Nashville hot chicken bun, beer burger, and their popular crispy Brussels sprouts. However, the review mentioned that Maggie’s interpretation of the dish is considered one of the best and the original.
I was not have the best day so I decided to venture out on a Wednesday evening to Baltimore’s Best for a good meal and fun experience. One of the challenges of dining in Baltimore City is getting to the restaurant and parking. Going east toward Fells Point and Harbor East is a nightmare at almost any time but especially at 5pm on a weekday. So I try to stay out of those areas or in an area I know is usually pretty easy to get to. After looking at the areas on my list, I made my way to Maggie’s Farm and the location did not look to difficult to get to though it was a little out of my way. Off to Lauraville in Baltimore I go!
On the website, they mentioned free street parking and parking in the Safeway parking lot. The restaurant did not have a large sign but Safeway did so it gave me a landmark. I turned off the busy street (Harford Road) to Montebello Terrace and immediately found a parking space. I was parked next to a building that had tables outside, a little bit of greenery, and a tiled mural outside of it. Once I got situated and began walking back to Harford Road to find the entrance and the door on the street was for delivery people. The actual entrance was on the side directly in next of my car! I had no idea since there was not a large sign to help me locate the place. But the parking situation was quite awesome! There were a few steps to walk up so if you are handicapped, you may have to sit outside only. There may be another way but I did not see it.
I arrived just before 6pm and they had just opened at 5:30pm so I was one of the first people in the restaurant. The dining room was in the back of the building and the kitchen was upfront. So when you enter from the side door, you are in the middle of the both the kitchen and the dining room. Very interesting setup but I am under the impression that since Harford Road is such a busy street, they placed it in the back of the building to have a quieter dining room.
The dining room had roughly 20 tables and a full sized bar. The décor gave off a farm/country vibe. The walls had a red-patterned wallpaper that really added a dimmer environment. A lot of decorations were of things that you would find on a farm and stuff made out of wood. It was different but came together well. I decided to take a seat at the bar so that I would not take up a full table. The bartender was very friendly and provided me with a menu and water right away. I ordered sparking water but I quickly learned that it was club soda coming out of the tap. That was disappointing. But I made the best of it. I decided to partake in the Prix Fixe, 3 course for $35 menu which included a snack (appetizer), dinner, and dessert. That was a really good deal.
To start, I ordered the crispy Brussels sprouts ($8). After recommendation, I ordered their popular starter the Fried Oyster Steamed Bun ($5). While I waited, a woman came and sat at the bar and was a regular because she and the bartender knew each other by name. She spoke to me and raved about how delicious the restaurant is. She lives nearby and comes there all the time since she doesn’t cook. She wanted to help me with my order and highly recommended the Nashville hot chicken bun. I knew I should have went with my first thought. I tried to get the Brussels sprouts in the Prix Fixe meal since they were more expensive. I asked if there was a price limit on the items you could select and he replied no. But I knew I wanted to try two different things and the bun would be cheaper so I would pay for that separately. I seemed like he understood.
When my starters arrived, I was impressed with the presentation. Both dishes arrived on a piece of tile for a plate. Like for a floor or wall. I’ve never seen anything like it but it worked! The crispy Brussels sprouts were just as the review said. Charred to a crisp and laced with tiny grapes and pieces of savory guanciale (basically bacon) and sweet saba. This was drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette sauce. They were awesome! The char was not too intense and added a delicious flavor to the sprouts. That was good stuff. The oyster bun was good but it was served with one oyster on top of a huge bun. The fried oyster was good and not fried too hard but there was nothing really spectacular about it either. And without the oyster, the bun was good but it was too much and I wanted to save room for my entrée. So, I probably ate about a third of it with the oyster. The lady at the bar had a friend arrived and their hot chicken bun arrived. They were nice to share a piece of that with me and it was way better than my oyster bun. Maybe next time.
I ordered the Grilled Duck Breast ($26) for my entrée. The dish came with sweet taters, roasted asparagus, and red onion-cherry jam. However, since they are all about fresh ingredients and getting what is available, they served it with broccoli rabe instead. The bartender asked me how I like my duck and I was a little confused. I guess people their duck cooked to different levels. I requested the chef’s choice. The dish arrived, on a plate this time, and was simple and pretty. The duck breast was quite pink but looked moist and delicious. Breast can be rather dry but this worked. The duck rested on top of the sweet taters and had a slight Asian flavor added to it. It was moist and tender. I have never had duck that way before but I would definitely order that again. I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes and sweet taters being sweet potatoes went over my head but they were even good. I ate a few pieces of those. They were fried but not like a traditional tater tot. It looked like they fried it with the skin. The broccoli rabe was on the right side of the plate on top of the jam. The broccoli rabe was seasoned so well and just added more savory flavor! It was delicious! The broccoli was difficult to cut into with the knife but the flavors of garlic, salt, pepper, and some oil were perfection. I did not think that I would like the jam but that took was quite good. The entire dish came together wonderfully.
The ladies sitting near me ordered the burger and the short rib with fries. Both of their dishes looked amazing as well. The burger was piled nice and high with a knife in the middle of it. The braised short rib was served with one rib in a square. It looked a bit dry but that lady said that was a delicious. She enjoyed it!
For dessert, I ordered the strawberry shortcake served on a sweet biscuit with powdered sugar and whipped cream. This was not usually on the menu but again what was available and it is all about fresh ingredients. The dessert was pretty good. A little light on the strawberries for the size of the biscuit but I still enjoyed it. The whipped cream tasted fresh and was probably made in house. But after I finished my dessert, I was still a bit hungry. So I decided to order the Nashville Hot Chicken bun ($5) and call it a night. When I got my check, I was disappointed to see that they included the oyster bun on the Prix Fixe menu even after I asked and ordered the Brussels sprouts first. But it was only $3 so I let it go. My total was $50.88 and after a 20% tip, was $60.88. Not bad.
My bun took a little while to arrive and when it did, the chicken looked darker than I remember. It was burnt! I could not believe that they would even serve that. It was hard to enjoy as most of the batter was hard and falling all over the place when you cut into it. The bun was not as good either. It was a bit under-cooked and very sticky like under-cooked dough! I’m not sure what the happened in the kitchen but I just ate what could and left. Not the best way to end the meal.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed my meal minus the bonus round at the end. I made friends and the staff was very friendly. However, I should not have to spell out my demands and make it awkward especially since I was clear that I wanted the Brussels sprouts in the Prix Fixe deal. I would definitely visit this restaurant again for dinner or brunch. I would just make sure to get there early because the place is small and I imagine that it would fill up very quickly. Though there are also tables outside. The following is my Seven Mac Score for the restaurant:
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Please look out for my next post as I review another one of Baltimore’s Best! And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!