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Neopol Savory & Smokery

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It's been a while since I made a trip to the area around York Rd and Northern Parkway, but after years of false starts it seems that the two shopping centers around the corner from the Senator Theatre have successfully stabilized. Greg's Bagels used to be the only attraction for me, but now Daedalus Books has moved into the anchor spot in that complex, and a few years back a small indoor marketplace opened at the other end containing a wine bar, an Italian specialties grocer, and a few eateries including Neopol, an small indoor smokehouse. Barbara, the owner, has apparently been a fixture at Baltimore-area farmers markets for some time.

Neopol's menu consists mainly of lunch items priced from $8-10, nearly all involving items from the smoker. There are "savory cheese pies", which look like a riff on quiche, but mainly there are sandwiches. My salmon BLT was excellent, thanks to the high-quality ingredients available on their own...which are the main attraction, I think.

Smoking is done on-site mainly using seasoned cherrywood, although she does use other fruitwoods and hardwoods on occasion. For $12 she'll assemble you a sampler platter containing tastes of most of the items. Of the smoked meats, the chicken was good but the bacon was excellent...the bellies come from a Baltimore-area organic farmer and are sliced medium-thick (I forgot to ask if she would slice to custom thickness). They look fairly fatty, but throw off less grease than commercial bacon and have a great smoky pig flavor, with a minimum level of saltiness. Of the shellfish, I was so-so about the scallops, enjoyed the flavor but not the texture of the shrimp, but loved the mussels, which seemed to act like little smoke sponges (looked like NZ greenlips, which I usually find meaty-but-bland). I didn't try the bluefish, but the smoked mackerel was delicious. No whitefish or herring there last week. Atlantic salmon are hot-smoked in four-or-five different rubs; I tried the "Thai" seasoning, which didn't strike me as particularly Thai but was a good, slightly-moist, flaky fish anyway. In the non-meat category, the smoked hummus was fantastic.

Neopol also smokes sea salt, with four seasoned blends available.

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There are "savory cheese pies", which look like a riff on quiche

The cheese pies are awesome. I grew up not far from Belvedere and we drop by whenever we are in town for lunch at Atwater's and to pick up things from Neopol and Ciriello.

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