Friday, December 28, 2007

Treating Pierogies and Galumki Like Tapas

This is the place. Well, the place if you're me, my sister, and SM the Sunday for Christmas. We were going to go to Peter's Inn, but they were closed. Bec was initially disappointed (don't worry, she got better). She was totally intrigued by SM's description of "biker bar with gourmet food." Alas, it was not to be. S'okay, we made do.

Ze Mean Bean Cafe was right around the corner. While not quite as intrigued as biker gourmet, the name of this place and SM's tale of slavic cuisine won us over. Thank goodness for that.

We sat down and had a slow go getting into the food now groove. No rush to order, which was good 'cause we had no idea what we wanted. The decor was warm, they'd just finished a renovation in September. There was a classical guitarist. Nice stuff.

We started with wine. I went red, SM went white, Bec went water with no ice. Still no ordering of food. That happened after a few sips of wine.

Finally, we ordered food. SM started with an appetizer sampler. One each of a potato, farmer's cheese, and sauerkraut pierogies, one holupki (mini cabbage wrap), a potato pancake with applesauce, and polish kielbasa. SM ordered a Krupnik Crabcake and a stuffed crepe; Bec ordered a crepe, a bowl of borscht, and the Cold Honey Mint Goat Cheese salad (asking for that to come last); I went with the "I'll sample their samplers and get a main course" strategy and ordered a full plate of the Holupki (Gulumki). About 20 minutes in, after the sampler plate had arrived, Bec was moved to order another plate of pierogies.

When the borscht came, Bec dug in. Then proceeded to tell us she hated borscht. I may have lost some wine through my nose. SM was much more composed. We discussed. Then our lovely server came over and the order of pierogie plate two occured. This occured also.

Bec: Your borscht is great.

Server: Thanks.

Bec: And I hate borscht.

Server: Then why did you order it?

Bec: Because it's what your restaurant does best. I had to try, and it was great, so fresh.

We merrily ate our way through the rest of the meal. I loved it all. Bec loved the inside of the crepe more than the crepe itself, but I beg to differ. I think the Hungarian Chimichanga was divine. Divine I say.

The crabcake was the hit of the meal. So good that I took a sip of wine, looked up, and said "Can I have another bite of crab cake." Twenty minutes after it was gone. I had 'ghost-food.'

It's described on the menu as "a 4 oz. Maryland crab cake served with a spicy Polish honey vodka sauce over greens and asparagus." What I notice now is that the menu also says "entree portion available." Damn.

Bec made me take a picture of the salad when it arrived. MADE me take a picture. And you can see why. It was gorgeous. Bec couldn't finish it, or start it. But I hear tell she had a pretty fine breakfast the next morning.

I'll be back for sure (after several other places SM and I have on a Baltimore list) and you should go there yourself.

Ze Mean Bean Cafe on Urbanspoon

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