The Catonsville Gourmet seems to have been instantly popular since it opened in 2008 (despite the absence of a liquor license and a minimum $5 “corkage” fee for BYOB). A lunch visit this week seemed to bear that out with the restaurant filled up and business bustling.
FYI – Back prior to 2008 when this space became the Catonsville Gourmet, the same space used to be a local non-chain, old fashioned hardware store (that was likely driven out of business by the presence of Home Depot and Lowe’s a 5 minute drive away)
There are several small dining areas with a light color scheme which suggests a seaside place (totally appropriate since it specializes in seafood!). Many of the tables are spaced noticeably close or awkwardly placed (we were seated at a table where the staff and customers had to pass within 6 inches of me to access the front dining room) . At the rear of restaurant is a market which sells raw and prepared seafood, desserts and the “made here” kettle potato chips.
The menu is the same at lunch and dinner (with a printed page of daily specials); lunch time possibilities don’t come cheap though – one of the very few options under $10 was a tuna fish salad sandwich. The menu offers several soups ($5/cup), four “entree” salads ($12-$15; I’ve tried the “Bookmaker” salad for $13 and was disappointed with the portion size and skimpy seafood that was included ), a dozen sandwiches ($12-$19), and 10 “tweeners” (aka “light fare”) options ($12-$19). Available at both lunch and dinner time are a dozen appetizers ($11-$14) and 18 entrees (starting at $18 for two crab cakes up to $35 for four preparations of fresh fish filet; you can add a side salad $3 extra).
For my lunch, I decided on the “Ultimate Soup Meal” ($12) which included a cup of soup, 1/2 of a sandwich (tuna salad, ham or turkey) and the house “kettle chips” (I opted for the ham and the crab & corn chowder). My buddy Tom decided on an item from the “Tweeners” offerings – the crab/spinach quiche ($13) which included a side salad and some fresh fruit. We also decided to share a side dish of sauteed mushrooms ($5)