Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exit 41 - Cove Road (to MD-151 and Dundalk)

The search for food along North Point Boulevard continues. This leg of the trip takes me from Cove Road to Wise Avenue, beyond which lies the Sparrows Point Industrial Complex and - yes - another Beltway exit. The next one will take me into the heart of Sparrows Point itself. But for now, I'm still exploring MD-151 for some eats.

A few more notable things that I found past Cove Road:

  • The seemingly vacant "Sand Witch" trailer (closed for today). Does anybody know anything about it at all?
  • The standard Chinese and Italian places. The Chinese place is the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant (map). The Italian place is Vizzini's Pizza (map), one of several in the Baltimore area (including locations in Pasadena and Baltimore itself). Great Wall and Vizzini's are both in the St. Gregory Shopping Center. It looks like the North Point Mart Shopping Center but make sure you read the part at the top (especially bad to diss St. Greg if you're a singer, a musician or a teacher - or all three).
  • Pop's Tavern (map) looks like a clean, bright and crusty old place (neither a good nor a bad thing - it's just a thing). They've got a listing on From the look of the acts, Pop's seems like a country place. Their MDparty page lists upcoming live country band performances, including seemingly regular performers like the Cumberland Band, Southern Exposure and the David Wayne Band. I think they're all local acts, and are performing alot in the upcoming months.
  • The Sparrows Point Restaurant, tiny and compact, so they must be crowded when they're open. Are they still open? I can find nothing about them.
Alright, Google, Yahoo, Urbanspoon - y'all don't believe me that there's a Sparrows Point Restaurant? Here it is! HA!

One important find for the drooling crab lover: dueling crab joints, across the Boulevard from each other. At least one makes it onto Elizabeth Large's top ten crab houses in the Baltimore area, and the other gets raved about by commenters.

On one side is the Costas Crab House/Inn, (map), voted the 2003's Best Crab House by the City Paper. Costas has also made its way into Zagat, where most reviewers loved the place (a few hated it big time). Costas serves "crabs all year round, hon". But of course, it doesn't stop there: they've got crab cakes, pit beef, even their own seafood seasoning. And yes, they do cater. It's a big, sit-down place where you can get your hands and arms covered in Old Bay and little crab shell-induced cuts right quick. It's one of those places that I really should have known about, but I don't. So I will have to get to know it when I have the time and the money.

On the other side is the Salty Dog's Crab House (map). This is not so much a crab house as a seafood shop. No, it looks like you can't sit down and eat, well, anything in Salty Dog's. This seems to be a carry-out place, so I assume carry-out is the only way to meet your seafood needs here. This place was packed - but considering that it was relatively the size of an outhouse (okay maybe not that tiny), it would have to be. Still, there were about as many people there as at the Costas Inn (maybe 10 5 times as big) across the street. They sell urshters, soft shells, etc. And here's what REALLY caught my attention: Tuesdays are $1 crab days! Get crabs for $1 each. That is my price range! I love what one reviewer said: "The crabs are not the absolute best but definitely are worth the money".

Yes, you too can get delicious steamed crabs for only a buck a piece! Too bad it's Wednesday...

I HAVE to venture back to the Salty Dog, maybe on my way back from Exit 42 when I get around to it. And I would've come here had I not already been to Tommy's Charcoal Express (map), a small little diner with all the feel of a Waffle House without any of the glitz. And like WH, Tommy's sells just about everything here. Their specialty, of course, is not waffles but all manner of pit meat: pit beef, pit chicken, pit sausage, pulled pork, etc. So much to choose from!

I stuck with the specials to save myself the trouble. For my meal I quickly settled on the pulled pork slider special with French fries and a 16 oz drink ($6). I got my meal in under ten minutes, all the while I was perusing the local Dundalk paper at one of the stools set up by a counter-away-from-the-counter, with booths and old video arcade games behind me. I'm not sure what he was doing, but one older gentleman (who obviously was familiar with the staff) took a butter knife from one of the tables and fidgeted with the side of one of the video machines for a second. Then he put it back down, which puzzled me.

The sliders were too hot and messy to even attempt to sample in the car, but I did get some fries: very fresh-tasting, like they had been cut not long before. I don't know if they had been just cut, but they sort of tasted like it. I ate the sliders later at home: three perfect little sweet blobs of pulled pork, each on its own soft mini-hamburger bun. Actually, I didn't eat them all. Instead I just cut each in half, saving the rest of them for later. It all microwaved well (even the fries) for about 45 seconds. Some of the tastiest pulled pork I've had as of late.

Other photos -

Just how many Louisville Sluggers have come in contact with headlights in Pop's parking lot? Did it make a difference?

Do you really want to argue with the man-sized crab? I mean he looks pretty steamed.

Onward and outward, back to the Beltway, hon

Places I visited

Tommy's Charcoal Express (American) - 3950 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 477-6900
  • Would I eat there again? Yes indeed
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Maybe
Places to look up later

Costas Crab House & Inn (crabs / American) - 4100 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 477-1975

Great Wall Chinese Restaurant (Chinese) - 4045 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 477-4605

Pop's Tavern (bar / American) - 4343 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 477-0270

Salty Dog's Crab House (crabs / seafood) - 4011 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 388-0515

Sand Witch trailer (sandwiches) - can find no information

Sparrows Point Restaurant - can find no information

Vizzini's Pizza (pizza) - 4051 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 477-1200

Tommy's Charcoal Express on Urbanspoon

Listen to this post as an MP3


Rachel said...

MMM, I've had Salty Dog and they have yummy crabs. Am now awaiting Tuesday!

jmc said...

Those sliders look gorgeous!

On the subject of crab houses...there's a place on Route 40 in Ellicott City that used to do $1 crab specials, too. Can't remember the name of it. Kelly's? Kelsey's?

K8teebug said...

Costa's is awesome. Really great crabs.

Nanc Twop said...

Mmm, pulled pork buns! Dang, now you've made me want to go on another driving trip again this week...

* Just last weekend we ended up at the 'RibFest' in New Paltz and the ribs there (and the pulled pork buns) were all juicy and smoky and great. Sigh.

Hey, gas prices are going down, right?...

baltimorediary said...

Isn't Vizzini's the place with a RAT for a mascot? No, thanks.

Have you noticed that the crab-selling trucks on the streets are gone, at least from their usual places? Do you know anything about this?

John said...

Oh I don't know about Vizzini's - I've never been.

Do you mean the A-rabbers? I have no idea!

I'll have to look for Kelly's.

I'm glad someone can find pulled pork and ribs in upstate New York

I'm going to have to head to Salty Dog's on Tuesday for certain!