Exit 17 branches off into two distinct directions - towards Security Square Mall, and into Woodlawn. Since I knew of good places in either direction, I broke this up into two trips.
I don't really know Woodlawn side of Exit 17 as well as the Security Square Mall side. I do know that there is the big City View Bar & Grill (map), which seems to offer just about every generic item of American (and specifically Maryland) food there is. But I've never gone in. I almost did, however, until I caught a gander of a brand new Indo-Pakistani buffet across the street. Since I'm a sucker for South Asian food, I headed right, to the IndiClub.
A combination banquet hall and restaurant, IndiClub (map) - which looked emptier than it was, probably due to the size - serves foods from all over South Asia, with specific Southern Indian foods I had never before tried (and I've eaten a lot of Indian). Best was the uttapam, a savory pancake with leeks and other vegetables inside. A bit more sour was the idli (rice cake), though the texture was unusual and interesting. I didn't like that too much, but it wasn't awful, and everything else was quite good. I liked their sambar (a type of curry) quite a lot.
Other items in the buffet were a bit more familiar to me - two types of naan bread, chicken tandoori, various curries and vegetarian dishes, chutneys, basmati rice and the standard desserts (including a very satisfying gulab jamun). All of this came to a mere $8.95 (is that the set price for Indian buffets in Maryland? It seems like it). And, as I did, you can get the buffet as take-out, only in this case (as with most carry-out buffets) it is all-you-can-fit-into-one-styrofoam-container, instead of all-you-can-eat.
A few days - okay, a whole week - later (I've been busy, alright? Don't judge me!!!) I headed in the opposite direction. I could've headed towards Security Square Mall (map) again, but mall food is not typically on my radar (it's just not very good), though there is a restaurant or two I should probably explore, including Shaheen (another Indo-Pakistani place; mall map), and maybe the Cactus Willie's (mall map; I've talked to people that like the place, but I have never bothered to try it out). And of course, there is the Seoul Plaza (mall map), the City Paper's Best Ethnic Shopping Enclave of 2006, which has tons of goods for the Korean-American crowd. Nearby are some strip malls with other places to eat, one with a Panera Bread and a deli, still another up Rolling Road with a halal market and deli, next to the Salvation Army.
I, however, headed up Dogwood Road for some restaurants I had seen before and wanted to try out. Two on my list (map for both): Buon Giorno (traditional Italian food) and Lake Trout (traditional, well, lake trout, with various Southern and soul food accoutrements, even though lake trout itself is typically found farther north). I opted for the latter, and headed in for some lake trout.
A report some years ago in the City Paper mentions what good lake trout should be like: fried on the spot, with two pieces of white bread, as few bones as possible, etc. and so forth. At this Lake Trout, which is apparently the third location in what is now a local chain, they did indeed fry it up on the spot. For the price, I got a good bit of food - $6 or so bought me two pieces of trout (they also offer whiting), with two sides (I went for the greens and cornbread), plus a 24-oz Diet Pepsi for which I paid extra. I got it back to work and started in on it.
In retrospect, looking at the criteria for great lake trout, this didn't really fit the bill. Every other bite - I am not exaggerating, every other bite - had lots of little bones and often some bigger bones. Maybe my idea of "as few bones as possible" is different from most lake trout aficionados, but by most standards, it had a lot of bones. For the amount of work I spent picking bones out of my fish (and spitting them out of my mouth), I had relatively little fish. There was no way I could expect to eat this on the bread they gave me. Well, that is what the cornbread was for anyway, but it was small, dense and sweet, kind of like a cornbread brownie (a cornie?) than anything else. The one real bright spot was the greens, which were butterier than I normally expect greens to be, but quite tasty anyway.
I don't know. Maybe next time I'll just head back on over to the IndiClub.
Places I visited:
IndiClub (Indian / South Indian / Pakistani) - 1660 Whitehead Ct., Woodlawn, MD 21207; Phone: (410) 594-9600
- Would I eat there again? Yes
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Sure would
- Would I eat there again? Maybe to try the whiting
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Um, no
Buon Giorno (Italian) - 6860 Dogwood Rd, Woodlawn, MD 21207; Phone: (410) 298-7781
Cactus Willie's Buffet and Bakery (American) - located in Security Square Mall, 6901 Security Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21244; Phone: (410) 265-1205
City View Bar and Grill (American / Maryland) -6700 Security Boulevard, Woodlawn, MD 21207; Phone: (410) 944-4013
Seoul Plaza (Korean market) - located in Security Square Mall, 6901 Security Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21244
Shaheen (Indian / Pakistani) - located in Security Square Mall, 6901 Security Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21244; Phone: (410) 265-6666
* Exit 17 sign adapted from http://www.aaroads.com/mid-atlantic/i-695e_md.html.