This is the lower-rent cousin of the Hotel Phillips’ esteemed Chop House restaurant. 12Baltimore is meant to be a casual bar/lunch/happy hour spot, and succeeds mightily at least in terms of visual appeal. The place is cozy, yet big enough to handle a sizable lunch rush. The dining areas are quite attractive with natural wood paneled columns, tasteful, sparse artwork and nice soaring bar filled with gleaming top shelf liquors. Mmmm, liquors.
The menu itself seemed to offer a small but very appetizing number of options for diverse palettes. Several entree salads, a burger, crabcakes, fish & chips, shaved prime rib sandwich–all sounds like good stuff to me.
Unfortunately, our dining experience was somewhat tarnished by strangely inattentive service, and food that should have been better for the price. I ordered a chopped salad–those of you familiar with the noble classic, cobb salad know what I’m talking about. Basically a cobb for restaurants too cheap to spring for avocado. It featured romaine lettuce topped with chicken, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, hard boiled egg and tomato. Sounds great right? Well it would have been except that the chicken was deep fried. That’s right a breaded and fried chicken breast, sliced expertly and placed upon this otherwise glorious mound. What should have been a very nice meal turned into a glorified Wendy’s salad in a box.
For the second meal this week, I was not offered a refill on my overpriced little glass of coca-cola. And worst of all, we must have waited 20 minutes for our check. I don’t know why it is so hard for people to hand over the bill. true professional waitstaff do not commit this egregious error. Why? Because it gets you in and out quickly, and turn-over is the name of the game when you make a living waiting tables. But this is a problem I;ve run into at a bunch of lunch spots in Kansas City. Don’t they get it? Lunch is about speed, people have to go back to work or school or masturbating or whatever charmed life they lead. Certainly many 12Baltimore diners come from the adjoining Hotel Phillips, and those folks may not have a tight time frame. But I’m sorry, if you serve lunch, don’t make your customers wait for anything. Moreover, if you make your waitstaff wear stupid black business suit uniform-type things, at least train them how to deliver a damn bill in a timely fashion. And when they do, train them to at least acknowledge that they have made you wait.
I wouldn’t rant like this at a smaller restaurant, at least not with such vehemence. But if a restaurant is going to give off airs of being classy, it has to deliver. Experiences like this make me remember why I started blogging here in the first place. Finding good restaurants is fun, but bitching about them is much more satisfying.