REVIEW: Miguel’s Cocina y Cantina – Atmospheric, Avg Food, No view

IMG_3513Miguel’s Cocina y Cantina (i.e., Kitchen and Bar !) is located on the first floor of the relatively new (and quite upscale) Silo Point condominium in Locust Point not far from Fort McHenry.  It’s an interesting place – clearly the owner has invested a good amount of imagination and money into the decor.  Ceilings are 25+ feet tall with glass walls on three sides and one inside wall made out to be as if a series of buildings on a Mexican street.  Regretfully, there’s no good view of the harbor.  Sitting at the tables – either inside or out on Miguel’s large patio, the immediate vista is of tall grasses.   On the other side of the grasses are railroad tracks and out beyond the tracks is the expanse of the harbor.   It might have been interesting if Miguel’s had taken advantage of the very tall ceilings to build a loft where customers could see the harbor (but they didn’t and you can’t..)

Miquel’s web page states:

“The walls, menus and windows of Miguel’s are adorned with characters that symbolize the day of the dead, or ” El Día de los Muertos”. Taking place on November 1st and 2nd of each year, this is not a gloomy celebration like Halloween, rather, it is a chance for people to re-connect with their loved ones and families. “

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IMG_3511Miguel’s menu is large and  we got to chow down on some delicious chips and salsa that are free while reading through it.  Most menu items are $9 – $15 but particularly items on the specials list range into the mid-$20.   FYI – Salads are limited to a couple of Caesar variations and a single entrée salad on the specials menu.

John decided on a Smoked Salmon Salad ($16)  while Tom opted for the Carne Asada Empanda ($10).

IMG_3505John’s salad was big with a scattering of pieces of smoked salmon across the top of a bed of dark greens.  A number of items detracted from my enjoyment.   In late July, the tomatoes had that distinctly “hot house” overly firm texture and lack of taste.  The salmon curiously had curiously bland and lacking in taste – smoked or otherwise.  The dressing was pooled at the bottom of the greens (it hadn’t seemingly been tossed and the components near the top of the salad had no dressing on them.  John wouldn’t recommend this salad.

IMG_3507Tom’s initial impression was that the portion was small (but then his meal only cost $10 and one of the least expensive items on the menu); he finished off his empanadas and used some of the left over tortilla chips to scoop up his mole amarillo.

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We noted that even with the dining room and bar considerably less than half filled, Miguel’s dining room got so loud that it was hard at times to carry on a conversation.  If it was filled up with customers, it could be border on being obnoxiously noisy.

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Service was overall good (though spotty at times).

Curiously, the south side of the dining room was totally empty (no tables, no customers, no nada…)  and I wondered if business wasn’t doing so well.  Certainly, on the evening that I was here, parking is difficult and likely to be a hassle that might leave people who don’t want to necessarily walk a few blocks thinking about eating elsewhere.   It was interesting that Miguel’s web site was still promoting “Rub” – another restaurant started by the same owner – which had closed 6+ months earlier.

Miguel’s is physically interesting but it left us not particularly impressed with the food and disappointed a bit with the lack of a view and discouraged by the noise level in the dining room.

 

FACTS:  Miguels’s; 1200 Steuart street; 443.438.3139; http://www.miguelsbaltimore.com/ ; Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner; Weekend brunch; Full Bar; Vegetarian options; small 10 car parking lot adjacent to restaurant otherwise hard to find street parking.

 

Miguel's Cocina y Cantina on Urbanspoon

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