One of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Baltimore – county or city – is Mt. Washington. There’s a Whole Foods there, beautiful houses, it’s family friendly, accessible to downtown by highway or light rail and not to mention Taharka Brothers which is seriously the best ice cream you will find in Baltimore (Don’t get me started on ice cream, cuz I love ice cream any time of the year…even on a frigid Baltimore night!). Above all, there’s a great little area tucked away off Falls Rd called Mt. Washington Village. Mt. Washington Village, for a small area, features a robust selection of restaurants such as Mt. Washington Tavern, Crepe du Jour, and Desert Cafe.
I feel a successful restaurant needs a hook, that draw, that promise/premise in order to stand out in the crowd – Desert Cafe’s is definiitely their arrays of fresh hummus made on a daily basis. My friend and I decided step outside our comfort zones and check out the hype about this locally owned gem of a restaurant. I read some reviews before our date and one of the common threads I found was that the place is small. As we were waiting for our table, I scoped out venue and yup, it was small. The main floor had 10-12 tables tops. In addition to the main floor, they had an upstairs area which I didn’t get an opportunity to check out, but I believe that area is used primarily for larger parties.
My friend LOVES hummus (and i mean LOVE!), so it was only fitting that we ordered the hummus appetizer platter. It was a delicious hummus trifecta with plain, thai fire, and chocolate. Yeah the chocolate didn’t look or taste too hot, but the other two were a delight. While my hummus connoissuer dinner companion chowed down her hummus and warm pita, I had dolmas (grape leaves), a mediterranean favorite. The first course was definitely a hit with the exception of chocolate hummus, so we were definitely stoked for the second. It was definitely difficult making a choice from their vegetarian/meat friendly and affordable menu, but in the end we both selected gyros. Portion size was definitely appropriate, food tasted fresh, homemade with a modern twist, and of course satisfying. Only complaint: the tzatiki sauce was more mayo based than cream based. I love mayo, but that was a little bit of an overkill for me.
The coolest thing about the whole experience was finding out the restaurant was started by a Towson alum Blake Wollman. He’s definitely got a good thing going and I highly encourage you to check the space out. A few more tips: Keep room for dessert. Go on Saturday nights where they have bellydancing.
Check out the various hummus selections on their website and maybe one of them, most likely more, will get your tastebuds tingling: http://www.thedesertcafe.com/index.html
For now, this is Ankur