Thursday, June 05, 2008

Friday Dinner at Lithuanian Hall

If you're interested in dining at a Lithuanian restaurant, there's only one place in Baltimore to have the experience. It's at Lithuanian Hall, 851-853 Hollins Street in West Baltimore on Fridays from 6 - 9. I first stumbled upon the space while attending a"Night of a Thousand Elvis's" event taking place on the floor above. The square bar, dining area and dance floor beyond it, with their lights and decorations define an unadulterated late 1950's environment.

Although, the official hours are 6 -9, most diners are gone by shortly after 8, which is when Mrs. Yi and I arrived. It's a good idea to call first (410-685-5787) to make certain dinner is being served. The web site notes "every Friday evening with few exceptions."

This isn't really a restaurant, but a private club whose members share Lithuanian bloodlines. By all appearances, volunteers from within the organization contribute to making these Friday night dinners possible. Despite a "members only" sign, anyone whose presence is perceived as non-threatening can count on being politely received. The food is the real deal. I began with a $2.00 bowl of the beetroot and cabbage soup (borsch) requesting light on the sour cream. It was most pleasing. Mrs. Yi and I also split a similarly priced appetizer "snack" of sausages, cheese and black bread, served cold. We would have refrained had we expected our main courses to be as generous as they were.

For an entree, I chose the baked carp with boiled potatoes and salad. The carp was pleasing enough, although I would have liked to know something of how it made its way from the water to my plate. While the boiled potatoes were unremarkable, I liked the basic salad of lettuce, tomato and green onion tossed and wilted in its creamy dressing as much as any tossed salad served me at a Baltimore restaurant since Marconi's closed.
The pork country style ribs that Mrs. Yi ordered would have suited me better. They were straight forward, delectable, and similarly accompanied with boiled potatoes and that wonderful salad. We washed everything down with cans of Utenos Lithuanian beer, which was light and refreshing. By the time a plate of Lithuanian pastry appeared for desert, we were much too full to partake.

Upon leaving, we were happy we'd chosen to dine here. Nothing else in Baltimore is quite like it.



Blogger theminx said...

I'm quite intrigued by the last line on the menu, "potatoes in pork bungs, welcome!" Would a potato *not* in a pork bung also be welcome?

9:55 AM  
Blogger Jake Slagle said...

Astute observation. I'm no less intrigued. Perhaps someone from the Hall might have some perspective.

11:12 AM  
Blogger The Baltimore Babe said...

Sounds quite intriguing! I'd love to try this some time soon.

10:30 PM  

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