Review:DDD:Baltimore:Sip and Bite

This is a lazy one.  I wrote this review on Yelp! last summer and I’m doing a cut and paste with a few additions.

Sip & Bite is a true diner located in the vicinity of downtown Baltimore since 1948. It has evolved into an iconic joint which now ships it’s crab cakes, mugs and T-shirts nationwide.

Sip and Bite Front
Sip and Bite Front
Sip and Bite Cup
Sip and Bite Cup

When I entered, the first thing I saw were three or four cooks busy on the grill cooking eggs, breakfast meats and potatoes. It was a divine sight. They had a synchronicity reminiscent of a team event at the Olympic games.

Although I didn’t meet the owner, I met Deena, one of the waitresses and she was terrific. When I ordered the DDD platter, ( famous crab cake and spanakopita) she told me to order the Greek salad and not the sides since the intense flavours of the sides would interfere with the crab cake. I smiled, nodded and agreed. She was right. The greek salad had the best feta I have ever tasted. Deena proudly told me it was barrel-aged imported feta and I believed her. The crab cake was amazing…great texture, great taste and a great commitment to the crab and not breadcrumbs or other fillers. The spanakopita was good as well. It was full of spinach flavours and tasted fresh. The pastry was a tad too crispy.

Sip and Bite Greek Salad
Sip and Bite Greek Salad
Crab Cake and Spanakopita Combo
Crab Cake and Spanakopita Combo

Between greeting regulars and telling me stories of defunct GPS units, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Deena at the helm.

Speaking of old fashioned service, Sofia, the owner, responded my yelp post with the following:

Thank you for taking the time to write us such an excellent review! Dina really is terrific, she has so many regular customers coming in for her its insane!! Very glad you enjoyed everything, please stop in again whenever you are in town, and hopefully this time we can have the pleasure of meeting! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

My Take

Sip and Bite has been around this long because they care about the right things, the food and the service. It is welcoming from the minute you walk to the minute you leave. It’s not phony or staged or deliberate. It just is. As I said on yelp, I would return here in a second. No blackboard menus or plaid-wearing abecrombie models serving you. Just old-fashioned food with old fashioned service.

If i an offer one line of advice…. Ask if Deena is in (I’m hoping she is) and order a crab cake. If you do, you will give this dive a five……

Verdict: 5 Guyz

Check out my overall  DDD List at https://fareeatales.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/diners-drives-ins-and-divesthe-list/

Sip & Bite Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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DDD:Baltimore:Chap’s Pit Beef

Part of the difficulty of ranking DDDs, or any restaurants for that matter, if the fact that they are so different.  Take Chaps Pit Beef for example. It’s a humble abode with a simple concept; charcoaled meat on bread but can it compete with likes of sausage gravy and Maryland’s own blue crab cakes?

The directions are straight forward.

1.Get on the Pulaksi highway.

2. Look for Gentleman’s Gold Club.

3.  Enter parking lot. Park. Leave car.

4.  Follow smell of smoky goodness to small, stand alone shack.

5.  Enter.

6. Got to counter, imagine any combination of meat possible (beef, sausage, ham, turkey and corned beef).  Many are named after famous people, teams etc.  Put pointer finger and thumb on chin and stare blankly at the numerous choices.

7. Order.

8.  Move to the other side of counter and wait.

9. When food comes proceed to condiment counter and dress accordingly.

I felt a pang of betrayal not ordering the The Guy’s Triple D, but decided on the Richwich, a corned beef, beef, turkey and sausage which pays homage to Man vs Food host Adam Richman (sorry Guy, but it had two kinds of beef!).

Having just eaten at Sip and Bite, I took it to go and drove toward Pennsylvania with a side of tiger (horseradish) and house made BBQ sauce. I had every intention of waiting until I drove a reasonable distance before digging in, but as I said on yelp, it spoke to me, asking me over and over to eat it. I really had no choice, so I finally had to succumb, pull over for safety reasons.  I slathered it with the sauces and indulged.  I must of looked like a cross between a rabid dog (complete with dripping tiger sauce) and a fat kid in a pie eating contest. I swear a state officer did a double take making sure I wasn’t wrestling a ruffed grouse.

Chaps is a straight forward sandwich and burger shack set up in the parking lot of a strip bar. Chaps offers a fantastic sandwich, highlighted by the tender beef, corned beef and turkey.  The sausage was so-so and a bit awkward, so I would likely go with the Raven (beef, turkey, corned beef ) next time.   As for the sausage, I’ll  leave it for the Gentleman’s Gold Club.

Verdict: 5  Guyz

Richwich- Undressed
Richwich- Undressed
Richwich- Dressed with Tiger Sauce
Richwich- Dressed with Tiger Sauce and Attacked

Chaps Pit Beef on Urbanspoon