When influenced by a review

A horn honks in front of Baltimore Penn Station. There are still piles of ice stuffed in corners and medians covered with snow scattered throughout the car port. I look up sharply, a bit annoyed that in a matter of 2 minutes I was asked to bum 3 cigarettes. My friends have arrived.

I’m amused by Baltimore. It’s a city I loved hating when I lived here and now every time I come back I’m hating that I hated it so much. It’s got a lot to offer, and I’m almost certain if I found myself living here again it would a whole new ball game. But regardless, I’m in the car listening to pop music with two girlfriends from college. Should she spend $1000 on a new rug for the dining room or use the money for a shelving unit? The other votes rug. Her Saturday is already spent, what a nightmare, having to get up at 8 am to pick up a new dinner table 30 minutes away! For some reason I’m having a hard time grasping this. This is stress of your daily life? You lose sleep over carpets and shelves? If I had a $1,000 well I’d, I’d…

The conversation quickly turns to dinner. At this point I doubt I’ll ever understand the necessity to spend vast amounts of money on home furnishing. Do we try something new? Go to the same old-same old’s in Canton Square? Sushi, again? I’m up for something new but would be perfectly content in a funky little bistro tucked away in a quiet ally. Votes in. New place it is. Funky bistro out.

We do a drive by. From the outside it looks no different then any other restaurant in a shopping center. Could almost pass as a chain, like a Fridays or Outback. The reviews from friends were minimal. Appetizers good. $3-10. Really? Who gives feedback solely on apps? I’m a bit more interested in the ambience and entrée selection. Any good beers on tap?

Lambermains. Longhorns. We’re back in the cute, polished row home in Canton Square and now for the life of us cannot remember the name of the new restaurant. Does this place even have a website? Not to our knowledge. After several minutes of scuffering around the internet (it really shouldn’t be THIS hard) we come across one review. Thank you! But it’s not sounding so hot. There are complaints that although this place (true identity Langermann’s) is Southern inspired, the menu selection in actuality is not. From overpriced burgers to wings doused in a sweet bbq sauce (apparently this reviewer was so disgusted she had to wipe of each wing on her napkin – no way).

We ignore the reviews and don’t tell the other girls. Let’s see if this place can prove their sole reviewer wrong! The dining room is big and open. The bar spacious to allow for large groups to have drinks while waiting for their tables. We were tucked away against the kitchen. Part freezing draft drifting our way from the cold outside, brushing past the hostess stand and directly into our laps. The other part wafting the smells of savory meals, southern spices, and the rickets of pots and pans.

For starters, our waitress was clueless with a capital C. The beer selection was varied but there were a few local or imported brews that I wasn’t familiar with. Either was she. A personal pet peeve, and one would understand, was that the drink list didn’t differentiate between bottle and draft, and neither did she. Entrée’s ran for around $20 and I had my eye on the seared tuna. Other’s included shrimp and grits, crab cakes (we are in Baltimore), and sea bass. Unfortunately, the girls went all “diet” on me and most of us ended up with entrée salads.

Was I full at the end of my Beef Tenderloin Salad (sub goat cheese!)? Yes. Was I completely satisfied? No. I had to send my meat back – something I rarely do. When I say “whatever the chef recommends”, I’m assuming that his dear heart truly does not recommend completely raw meat for an offering that’s typically medium, medium-rare.

Was I swayed by the poor reviews? Would I have been as judgmental about the poor (I would go as far as saying completely inexperienced) service, a bathroom so cold I should have just gone outside, a dining room too open for the vast space – if I had not read a bad review before coming? Probably my friend. Probably.


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