Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baltimore House of Pain

When I finally joined the 21st century and invested in an iPhone, I immediately decided to download as many discount apps as possible in a sad attempt to save me the dollars I spent. One of those apps was Coupon Clipper.  They are not paying me to endorse them. I genuinely think that if you have an iPhone you should immediately download this app.  So many surprising discounts waited for me at the touch of a screen!

One of those discounts was $10.00 off a meal at the Baltimore House on Lebanon Church Road in Pleasant Hills. PID grew up here.  He's a Bethel boy for life. And he had heard great things from many friends growing up about the Baltimore House. He'd actually been anxious to take me there for a while, knowing my deep seeded love for all things shellfish. So as soon as I noticed the coupon, we set sail.

It looked like a place I would absolutely love.  Enormous and gimmicky -- my usual cup-o-tea. I was so excited when after making my way past the 3 pool tables, I was greeted by a land-lubbing pirate guarding his booty, then made my way up a few floors of amazingly tacky (and I honestly say that in a GOOD way because I love restaurants like that) Jolly Roger-esque memorabilia.

We were still incredibly optimistic as we eyed the menu and had SERIOUS trouble deciding between the seafood buffet, the fresh fish platters and the "Seafood Feast." I even spotted Oysters Rockefeller on the menu for $5.95.  WHAT!? $5.95?! I almost gave it a shot but I needed to try something new for a change.  So we checked out the buffet and were pretty unimpressed. Very little sushi and empty chafing dishes were really all we saw.  So we decided to go with the Seafood Feast.

Our waitress was extremely sweet, but we got off on the wrong foot right from the start when she took our order without writing it down.  This is a GIANT pet peeve of mine.  Note to all you eateries out there: WRITE DOWN MY ORDER!  You honestly are not impressing me by "memorizing it" and it will only make me angrier if it doesn't come out absolutely perfect.  I'll admit -- she wound up getting our order right, but only after she returned to our table three times to clarify.

But it had been a long day, so of course it had to start with the wine...
A glass of house Cab Sav eventually made its way to the table.  Here, house is definitely synonymous with "cheapest the state store had available," which I totally shouldn't judge.  I'm perfectly OK with that as it's what I do at home.

So we moved on to the bread...

Here's where I should have had my first clue.  But I still didn't.  The bread was rock solid on the outside.  Sometimes that's permissible dependent upon how the bread is baked.  But I can't even be sure it didnt' come directly out of a 3 day old bag. Oh well.

On to the appetizers...
The crab puffs came out looking burnt to a crisp, but tasted surprisingly decent. They simply looked like they'd been forgotten about in the fryer.

The Lobster Bisque was a complete mystery that left both PID and myself scratching our heads. It looked and tasted more like yesterday's clam chowder with a few chunks of store-bought lobster tossed in for good measure and some sort of peach tinted food coloring for effect.  What an epic disappointment.  (Sorry, we were so caught up in how little this tasted like lobster bisque that we both forgot to snap a photo).

It was about this time we heard both the guys behind us and the couple to our left blatantly begin to complain.  Though our waitress had improved her impression by coming back to check on us a number of times, the other tables waitress was completely negligent and downright rude when they reminded her for the fourth time of their drink orders. Their complaining did not cease at any point in the night, which wound up affecting our already jaded experience.

Just when we thought things couldn't get much worse, we received our entrees.

PID's mashed potatoes were literally like water and FREEZING cold to boot.  My coleslaw was inedible -- it tasted like I was eating straight pepper.  And those were just the side dishes.

I'm not going to add injury to insult by dramatically describing everything that was wrong with our meal.  So Ill give you the abbreviated version:
Cod: more fryer batter than fish
Scallops: comparable to burnt rubber
Crab: tiny legs, very little meat
Shrimp: dry and flavorless
Hearts: broken

Restaurant Info:
Baltimore House
Address: 176 Curry Hollow Rd,  Pleasant Hills
Phone: (412) 653-3800
Reservations: They occasionally have live music on the weekends, so you should at least come early.  On a week night you'll get in no problem
Price: $$

Cliffs Notes:
2 glasses of Cab Sav @ $6.50
2 Diet Pepsis @ $2.50
Crab Puffs @ $6.50
1 Cup Lobster Bisque @ $3.25 
2 Seafood Feasts @ $15.50
Coupon Clipper @ -$10
Tax (7 % in Allegheny County) @ $4.39
Total for two: $51.96

Overall Opinion:
SUPER bummed. It was anything but the amazing seafood joint that PID had heard about years ago.  We learned (or rather, heard a rumor as I cannot clarify this as fact) halfway through the night that the entire kitchen staff had been replaced not too long ago.  Maybe that had somethign to do with our poor experience?  I will say I did love the atmosphere.  It was so much fun just walking through the place.  And although our waitress and I started off on the wrong foot, she did come back to become one of the best waitresses we've had in a while -- pleasant and astute while living a double life as waitress/bartender.  But alas, waitstaff and decor do not make a restaurant.  Food does.  And we were so incredibly disappointed with the food.  We certainly hope that if you brave your way to the Baltimore House you will have a far better experience than we did.  Here's hoping they were merely short-staffed, though that shouldn't much qualify as an excuse when you're in the restaurant biz.  Turns out the Ravens aren't the only awful thing about Baltimore....


Baltimore House on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I went to the Baltimore house about 12 years ago and their food was horrible then. I recently went back due to the fact I forgot about my first time there, but I was quickly reminded 65$ later and lost my appetite. I ordered a steak and it look as if they boiled it. It taste like an old rag. The waitress dropped the food off and made a run for it. She never returned until usher dropped of the check. What a sxxthole.


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