The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Friday, May 09, 2008

New Friends - Bold Flavors

One of my favorite dinners in Italy was at Il Latini in Florence where my friend and I dined at a communal table, interacting with people from all over the world. We exchanged stories, drank some vino and shared our passion for good food ~ it was a very memorable evening.

In today’s technological world are we losing the social skills to interact with friends, family and business colleagues? I know being locked up in my home office, day-after-day, glued to my computer I miss social interaction: the banter, the sharing of ideas and the camaraderie of others. Enter Baltimore Foodies, a club where people with a passion for food, dining and drink gather at Baltimore restaurants to enjoy the pleasures of the table and the companionship of others.


Last night I ventured to the dinner that Baltimore Foodies coordinated at Red Fish located at the corner of Hudson and Boston Streets in Canton. Baltimore Foodies founder, Lars Rusin, introduced me to some of the “foodies” at the bar. Everyone was social, many of the “foodies” knowing others from attending other Baltimore Foodies' events. The evening’s weather was pleasant so the broad European windows were opened in an accordion like fashion lending spaciousness to the narrow bar. The barkeep brought me my Mojito, a good mix of sour lime muddled with fresh mint with a blast of sweet, simple syrup – they get an A in Mojito (it would have gotten an A+ if they had a sugarcane shoot in the drink).

I loved the broad brush stroke demographics of those attending: singles and married, young and old, professionals to retirees, men and women---all passionate about what they eat and where they go to dine. On one side of me was a lovely couple, retired – he, a former accountant, across from me was an attorney who cooks most evenings, a gal in the advertising industry who doesn’t hesitate traipsing to unsafe areas of town at 4 a.m. for bulgogi, an anesthesiology nurse and an executive at the Baltimore Convention Center round out my dining posse.

Once seated at our communal table, the nurse and I, true foodies, agreed to share our dishes so we can taste more of the food. Between courses discussions on favorite places to eat with James Joyce being touted for the best hamburger and Bella’s in Little Italy for authentic Italian food. Kali’s Court, Brass Elephant, Sotto Sopra, and Iggies and Matthew’s for pizza – all favorites for different reasons.


If you like bold flavors than Red Fish is for you. There are some items on their Euro-Asian menu that are subdued but most lean heavily to Asian with some salutes to European. As you get to know me, I am all about flavors and the menu for the evening was one of the reasons why I chose to attend this Baltimore Foodies event.

The top toque at Red Fish is Executive Chef Arthur Francis Fuller, formerly of the Sky Lounge. This is a man not shy to flavor his food and if you like bland foods then I suggest you go elsewhere. This restaurant’s location has gone through a number of owners and permutations so if it’s been year since you’ve been do try it again.

The menu designed for the foodies event offered a choice on each course and I, the devoted blogger/reviewer, ate a portion on both selections – just for you!

Amuse Bouche
(amuse the mouth)

Razor Clams
This was a surprise treat, unexpected and my first razor clams. The flavors were bold.

First Course

Prawn Tom Yum Soup
Tom Yum Soup uses a chili paste and lime for a sour spicy flavor. Maybe the Tom Yum I’ve had before had been dumbed down for American tastes for I found this version quite spicy. I personally could have used a lighter ratio of chili paste to broth. If your sinuses are stuffed or you have a cold this is the soup to have.

Grilled Strip Steak Salad
The steak was well seasoned and grilled to medium for this salad. I loved the crunch of the lotus root. I would have preferred a bit more of the citrus nam-pla dressing.

Second Course

Crispy Red Mullet Roll
This crunchy, fried sushi-style roll was wonderful and I was sad that I agreed to share ~ I could have eaten more.

Pan Seared Scallops
This is a strong salute to Red Fish’s European flavors with dried Spanish chorizo sausage and creamy polenta. One of my dining companions said if they were at home they would have licked the plate.

Third Course

Sizzling Kalbi Beef Short Ribs
This Korean dish cuts the short ribs in a cross cut about ½ inch thick and then they are marinated and eventually grilled. The sugar in the marinade can burn and char which happened on a couple pieces.

Japanese Style Crab Cakes
No complaints here on the crab cakes and the sweet chili beurre blanc enhanced the entire dish. The bok choy and kimchee were nice accompaniments.

Strawberries in Balsamic Sabayon with Cracked Black Pepper and Vanilla Crème Anglaise
This is a winner and you can do a simple version of this at home – A dip of vanilla ice cream, sliced strawberries, drizzled Balsamic vinegar and fresh ground black pepper. You can change that up by replacing the Balsamic vinegar with Pernod. A real hit.

I found most of the dishes served on Red Fish’s menu, the exceptions were the razor clams and strawberry dessert.

Dining Dish says in her Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, “I’ll be back.” There are more dishes I want to try and others I want to enjoy again.

Baltimore Foodies
P O Box 1682
Baltimore, MD 21203

Red Fish
2350 Boston Street
Baltimore, MD
410 276 1926

Monday – Saturday
5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Sushi (Friday & Saturday)
5 p.m. until late
11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Sunday Brunch Specials

Red Fish on Urbanspoon

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