Friday, December 09, 2016

Brew House no. 16

Written by  Richard Finger

Brew House no. 16
831 North Calvert Street, Baltimore
Brewhouseno16.com • 410-659-4084

As a pedestrian walking through historic Mount Vernon, it was exciting to see the restoration of the old fire station on the corner of Read and Calvert. It had stood abandoned for quite some time before the Hummel family decided to renovate and open the Brew House. Neighbors are excited to have a new dining establishment in the neighborhood. For one reason or another, we hadn’t been able to get over there for more than a beer since the grand opening, but we decided to meet some friends there for dinner last week.

 

Walking into the old firehouse is impressive. You can see the attempt at refurbishing the old, but yet adding a new, tasteful style. For example, the old tiled walls have been cleaned up, the old radiators painted. The new elements are obviously centered on the dining area and brewery. The bar certainly takes center stage, and behind it, the cooking area. Towards the back (you’ll pass them heading towards the restrooms) are the hand-crafted breweries (or are they fermenters?). Very cool, indeed! We took a seat at a table adjacent to the kitchen, and if there is only one negative, this would be it: Separating us from the kitchen was a cart full of things, all bit visually cluttered. Another potential issue (though not for us that night) is the acoustics. Given the high ceilings and little damping, I could imagine on a busy night, it would be hard to hear conversations at your table.

So being at a brew house, it’s only natural that they would serve local brews, and quite a wide variety. The rest of our party sampled among them. I chose a seasonal, warm, rum-based drink that was absolutely delightful. It was one of those drinks that you could easily guzzle and forget that there was rum in it, however, I did not do that. As for dining menu options, the Brew House prides itself on serving regional fare from local farmers and fisherman. After hearing about the specials on that night, three out of our four decided on the salmon (market priced), served with fresh veggies and rice, and our outlier decided on the Paella Cavatelli dish ($22), which consists of Cavetelli pasta, shrimp, chorizo, mussels, and spicy tomato sauce.

The Brew House offers quite a few options of starters, soups, and salads. Among the starters, for seafood lovers, there’s a variety of mussels and calamari. There are also chicken wings and samosas. The attraction, in my opinion, is the homemade soft pretzels (only $2). For soups, there is a soup of the day ($8), French Onion Soup ($9), and a Roseda Beef Chili ($10). There is the Mt. Vernon Salad in two sizes ($8 and $14), and a steak salad ($14). From the pub menu, some highlights include the Duck Poutine ($18), the Lamb Burger ($16), and the Fire Truck Fish Tacos ($16). Lastly, from the house specialties selections besides the Paella Cavatelli, other options include Rosemary Braised Breast of Chicken ($23), House Beer Braised Short Ribs ($26), and Firehouse Yellow Split Pea Cake ($22). A robust menu of options, indeed.

As for our meals, the portion size was quite large, and I was unable to completely finish the meal. There was no doubt the salmon was fresh, as well as the ingredients, and we all enjoyed the taste. I know we’ll return. The Brew House is open for dinner from Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday. The Brew House also offers a weekend brunch with bottomless mimosas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Overall, a great experience, and more importantly, a shining star in a revitalizing section of Mt. Vernon.

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