Baltimore has a new jazz club in town and it’s about damn time! If you didn’t know, Baltimore has a rich jazz history dating back to the 1960s. Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday and John Coltrane are just a few jazz legends that put Baltimore on the map. Sadly as the years passed, the jazz clubs in Baltimore started to dwindle. There are a few restaurants in Baltimore that host specific jazz-themed nights but none that focus specifically on jazz— that all changed this weeked when Keystone Korner opened in Harbor East, Baltimore.
The restaurant is housed in the previous Mussel Bar space at 1350 Lancaster Street. Mussel Bar closed in April 2018 for renovation and in March 2019, the owner and chef Rober Weidmaier partnered with jazz producer Todd Barkan to reopen the location as a jazz club. Barkan owned the original Keystone Korner in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood from 1972 until 1983. Over the weekend, I went in with a friend for their Family & Friends dinner seating and I got a chance to try some of their signature dishes.
Of course, I ordering an Old Fashioned cocktail from the bar. It was the original variation, delicious in taste. Later, I ordered a second one and that was prepared better than the first. Not uncommon for restaurant bars to prepare cocktails differently especially when new staff is involved, nothing to complain about they both were great.
As our starter course, my friend and I ordered the Ultimate Deviled Eggs, Char-Broiled Chesapeake Oysters, Iceberg Wedge Salad and the Pan Seared Scallops. I really enjoyed the scallops because it was on a bed of potato and bacon hash, served with a mustard sauce. I’ve never had scallops served that way and I liked the flavor profile.
For our entrees, we ordered the Vegan Tacos, Baby Back Pork Ribs and the Crawford Grill Soul Chicken. The ribs were phenomenal! Best ribs I’ve had in a while. They were juicy, tender and fall-off-the-bone good. The entrée came with two different BBQ sauces on the side, which I liked because I like variety. It also came with coleslaw and baked beans. I can’t even tell you how those sides taste because I was chowing down on the ribs… my friend said the sides were good. The roasted chicken was also tender and flavorful and they gave a large serving. I loved how they served it with potatoes but not the traditional mashed, it was served with a Gruyère Potato Cake and Wild Mushroom Tarragon Sauce. The diners at our neighboring tables were asking about the chicken dish when it came out, it definitely caught everyone’s eye.
For dessert, I ordered the Bananas Foster and my friend ordered the Crustless Lemon Meringue. To be fair, I couldn’t have eaten anything on the menu but I order the Bananas Foster because I wanted to see them set it on fire and they did that tableside 🙂 What a presentation!
In addition to the wonderful food on the menu, we had a chance to listen to the sounds of smooth jazz. Keystone Korner has already filled their performance calendar for the months of May and June with start times of 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. You can reserve seating and buy tickets at https://www.keystonekornerbaltimore.com/tickets. If you’re not in the mood for jazz or live music, you can also visit the restaurant for dinner starting at 4:00 pm on weekdays and weeknights.
Be sure to follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …
@ArlisAppetite on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.