Thursday, August 30, 2012

Boulevard Diner

Like any good Food Network addicted viewer, when I saw Boulevard Diner on Diners Drive-ins and Dives, I immediately added it to my list of must visit restaurants in the Baltimore area. It's not that I take everything they say on that channel as gospel, but if a place has strong enough word of mouth appeal to get on national TV, I have to do my due diligence to find out what's going on. So, that's what I did.

Right or wrong, I typically assume that the dishes they choose to show on TV are the most popular dishes and thus define what the restaurant is all about. Sticking to that assumption, everything we ordered that day was something cooked on the show.

To start with we ordered the Grape Leaves. Quite frankly, I hated them. The meat inside was fine. It was your basic ground meat, rice, and tomato flavors that reminded me of the stuffing I grew up with in stuffed peppers. But the sauce on top was absolutely disgusting. All I could taste was this bottled lemon flavor that comes across as something akin to chemical cleaning product. I was shocked that something so bad could make it's way onto a television show. Deana and I left three of the grape leaves alone after barely being able to stomach one apiece and at that point we had some seriously low expectations for the rest of the meal.

Unfortunately, from Deana's perspective, they only partially rectified the situation. She ordered the Sour Beef for dinner and it was incredibly average. The dumplings were big and the beef was tender, but the sauce was very one note. I took about two bites and after being inundated with vinegar flavor I had enough. I couldn't imagine eating a whole plate of that stuff and we both found ourselves bored with the overall flavor very quickly.

AT this point we had the Grape Leaves which were bad and moved on to average with the Sour Beef. Gradually, we got ourselves into the realm of delicious when we tasted the Meatloaf Tower. The picture above doesn't give an accurate portrayal of just how big the meal is. When they call it a tower, they aren't kidding. You get delicious mashed potatoes, a few pieces of bread, a heaping portion of meatloaf, and onion rings all topped with some delicious thick brown gravy. I loved this meal and that's coming from someone who doesn't even like meatloaf (and no, not yours either!). I have no idea what compelled me to order this that day but I'm glad I did. There is no way I could eat this entire plate in one sitting, but it's something you should order at least once. Even better, ask them to pack half of it to go for lunch the next day and spread the deliciousness out or share it with whoever you're eating with that day.

If you decide to order the Meatloaf Tower (and you should) be sure to save enough room for the Rice Pudding. This stuff is what desert is all about. Creamy, sticky, sweet, cinnamony perfection. I was stuffed to the brim by the time this giant parfait was delivered to us but it tasted so good I was almost sad when the last bite was gone. I can't recommend this dessert enough and it alone is reason enough to visit the Boulevard Diner no matter how far your drive is or how sub par everything else you order may be.

Yeah, our experience that day was hit and miss but when they hit it they juice up like Sammy Sosa and hit it like you've never seen before. Since that day, we've been back and had a couple of hot turkey sandwiches and it's a place we'll find ourselves visiting a few times every year. Add this one to your visit list.

Price: Average
Recommendation: Add this one to the visit list
What to order: Meatloaf Tower and Rice Pudding.

  Boulevard Diner on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Very fair review Doug. I agree that sour beef and stuffed grapeleaves are surely not for everyone. However, I appreciate your honesty and the fact that you still liked the Diner despite not enjoying those items. Come in and ask for Marc next time. Thanks for the review!!!