Heavy Seas Ale House is a restaurant that features “intense” custom “Heavy Seas” beers and is owned by Baltimorean and beer connoisseur Hugh Sisson (who was the one time owner/manager of Sisson’s on Federal Hill).
The interior has a rustic Tudor-ish feel with large dark wooden beams; there are posters promoting the brews that have a pirate theme that suggests interspersing your conversation with a growly “Arrrgh” or other erstwhile pirate sound bites.
Like the adjacent “My Thai” with which it shares rest rooms, it lists it address on Bank Street though the main entrance is around the corner on Central Avenue (Hmm… Is a Bank Street address so much more attractive than a Central Avenue address?)
We decided to try a sampler “flight” of four different Heavy Seas brews including Gold Ale, Powder Money, Peg Leg and Small Craft. Tom is more of a beer lover for sure than me and it was perhaps telling that he really didn’t make an effort to finish off the four small sampler glasses.
The menu has some intriguing pricey options that may have you doing some searches on your smart phone. It includes 8 “snacks” ($3-$6), 7 “appetizers” ($7-$13), a few “Cheese & Charcuterie” options ($7-$15), 4 sandwiches (including a $14 1/2 lb Angus Beef burger and an $18 1/2 lb Kobe Beef burger – all come with choice of chips, fries or organic greens) and 7 entrees ranging from $16 to $29 (featuring $25 short ribs and $19 Amish hormone/antibiotic free roasted chicken cooked sous vide with zucchini-tomato fondue)
My friend Tom and I decided to start by sharing a snack “Spicy Ham Hushpuppies” ($5) and an appetizer “Prosciutto Parma” ($7). The hush puppies seemed more dried out than the beer with cheese-whizy sauce could make up for.
The Prosciutto included a good size portion of the meat along with a couple pieces of toasted bread; Neither starter was satisfying enough that I would order them again.
For the rest of our light late evening meal, Tom opted for a small portion of the Prince Edward Island mussels ($10 – a larger portion is available for $17) and John ordered a special Chicory Salad with a poached egg cooked at exactly 63 degrees (Yup, this is another one of those things that you might be tempted to use your smart phone to look up! <Wink>).
Tom’s mussels cooked in a gold ale and fennel broth came with two small pieces of bread. The portion of mussels for $10 seemed light compared to what we’ve had at other Baltimore restaurants; we asked our server for more bread which arrived about 15 minutes later)
The server brought John’s salad with the poached egg on top but quickly broke it with a fork and stirred it together with the Chicory explaining that this was their standard way of serving (FYI – I wish that she had asked for my ok before doing that…) The salad was interestingly tasty with some small pieces of bacon and blue cheese and a mustard vinaigrette. The overall portion of salad was pretty small (particularly for $9); it was served on approximately a 7″ diameter plate and would otherwise be best recommended as a side dish for an entree.
We decided to pass on dessert but were surprised to find $14 “floats” (This is yet another moment when a smart phone or tablet can come in handy at Heavy Seas – we found out that “lambic” is a special type of fruit flavored sweet beer that originated in Belgium)
My light exploratory meal at Heavy Seas left me feeling that this is a place for gourmands and experienced foodies who have a far greater appreciation of the finer points of beer, brewing, ingredients and cooking preparation than me.
While Heavy Seas Ale House may be just the ticket for some folks, it’s wasn’t for me.
FACTS: Heavy Seas Ale House, 1300 Bank Street (Main entrance appears to be around the corner on Central Avenue), (410) 753-1403; full bar; limited vegetarian options; open for dinner 7 days a week; lunch served only on Saturday/Sunday; On Street Parking. FYI – there is a public paid parking garage on the other side of Central Avenue across from the restaurant. (Last DiningOUT visit: 4/20/2014)