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Kali's Court, Greek Seafood-Based Cuisine on St. Thames Street, Fells Point


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On 3/31/2006 at 7:20 AM, MissCindy said:

I never go to Kali's Court, it is expensive and I've heard too many nightmare stories about the service but I can't verify it first hand. I would be happy to hear those stories are no longer true.

 

Still true in my experience, unfortunately.  Our server was ostensibly charming but overbearing.  The pacing was horrible.  Once he took our orders, he largely disappeared.  At one point, I wondered if he'd clocked out for the night.  While it was a busy Saturday night and the kitchen might have been in the weeds, he did nothing to apprise us of the status of our orders.  He also did not bother to course the various parts of my order, though I should have been assertive about that.  It was bad to assume that he had a plan.  

 

I shied away from the entrees (starting at $35) and instead ordered a first and second course and a side dish.  I'm accustomed to servers asking how I would like items to come out under those circumstances.  He didn't.  I should have asked about that, so mea culpa.  But, really, a professional waiter should have known better.  I didn't get any food (except bread) until almost an hour after placing our orders.

 

The rest of the food came out somewhat haphazardly, in part because two people shared a first course and one person got a first and second.  Even when the entrees were coming out for everyone, though, they didn't all appear at the same time but in bursts.  (I was the only person who didn't order an entree.)

 

The food (after all this) was okay. Decent. Fair.  There were some bones left in the filleted whole branzini.  One person who ordered crab cakes didn't like them enough even to finish them.  Looking over at the Caesar salad (ordered by my husband), I thought it didn't have any lettuce in it.  There was a mound of stuff in the center of a plate.  It turned out that everything was covered in a blanket of grated cheese and dressing, rendering the lettuce invisible in the dim lighting of the restaurant.  It did have an actual Caesar dressing on it, though, with anchovy coming through. 

 

When I finally got my food, there was barely enough room for the three large plates on the table.  My favorite was the brussels sprouts with wild mushrooms.  I wolfed them down and didn't really note what was in their sauce, I think a vinaigrette of some sort.  (Balsamic?) The sprouts were crisp-tender and cooked to my liking.  The grilled calamari was cold by the time it reached me.  Other than being a little on the tough side (and cold), it had a pleasing smokiness to it and was pretty tasty.  The red and yellow beet tartare at first appeared to have been cooked, which puzzled me, until I realized it was simply the way everything had been diced and formed into a cake. (Not being able to see much was a hindrance to appreciating the visual aesthetics of the food). That was bathed in what seemed to be a citrus vinaigrette and had some bits of feta mixed in. 

 

I can't comment much on the food I didn't eat.  Most of the plates looked good insofar as I could see them.  The plating of the filet mignon with asparagus and potatoes was especially attractive.  There was also an amuse bouche, which seemed to be tuna tartare.  It was served with a couple thin shavings of something that seemed to be hard cheese but had no real flavor.  I still don't know what that was.  No one at the table particularly liked this.

 

The ambiance of the restaurant is pleasant enough, and I can see it being described as a romantic dining spot, if only because it's very dimly lit.  The courtyard is charming.  This place is impressive on the surface.

 

We were someone else's guests, and the person paying the bill didn't notice the auto-grat, so he added in a tip on top of the total,  Fortunately someone at the table noticed it and pointed it out so he could "X" out the additional tip.  I'd like to think the server would have pointed it out if it came to that, but...yeah. 

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Take this with a grain of salt - you'll see why....

Last Friday was a great spring day - and there was nobody at Kali's Court during normal dinner hours. It was very strange. At one point it was our party of four, a couple people at the bar, and a drunk couple making out in a booth. I believe they made some adjustments since the previous poster went - the entrée prices seem to be cut in half, I don't think anyone had anything above $20, and accompanying sides are included but not listed on the menu. The signature drinks were great - I think I had three or four, so the alcohol probably affected my judgment. We didn't have any issues with pacing, and I remember thinking that my lobster roll was decent (lobster may have been slightly overcooked, but frankly I'm not sure I cared) so we left happy. It sounds like the original poster might not recognize the restaurant two years later, for better or worse. But there's enough good restaurants in the area that a bad first impression is hard to overcome, and there wasn't anything to really bring me back for a second time, but I won't put up a fight if we end up back there either.

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