“You can’t rush greatness,” is how the owners of Taste This—a postage-stamp-sized soul-food take-out spot on Harford Road—responded recently to an Instagram follower wondering when the eatery’s long-gestating second location in Charles Village was going to open. It’s also the restaurant’s foodie philosophy, as Taste This cooks all its mouth-watering proteins to order, a rarity at to-go operations where convenience is often valued over proper preparation. But since the Charles Village location finally opened in late October, more diners than ever are becoming hip to Taste This’s interpretations of slow-cooked Southern staples.
The menu, created by co-owners Craig Curbean and Dante Davis, offers an array of soul-food dishes, everything from barbecued chicken salad and smothered pork chops to barbecued ribs, wings, and baked potatoes loaded with decadent toppings. Basically, if you can picture it served at a summer picnic, it’s available.
We cut right to the chase and ordered the fried-chicken platter, which featured three fried wings served on a bed of buttery yellow rice along with two sides, all for just $7.95. (Other platter options include salmon, catfish, and spiced shrimp.) The chicken’s crispy golden skin and juicy, tender meat was addictive, so much so that we would have liked more of it! We’d happily pay an extra buck or two if it means the addition of a thigh or breast.
Out of the eight available sides—including collard greens, yams, string beans, potato salad, and garlic mashed potatoes—we opted for the mac and cheese and the more virtuous grilled asparagus. The mac and cheese was a dense hunk of gooey noodles, and the asparagus—slick with olive oil, generously peppered, and sprinkled with Parmesan—was an extravagant way to get in our daily serving of veggies.
On another visit, we tried The Canton ($14.95), a baked potato loaded with crabmeat, shrimp, butter, mac and cheese, cheddar cheese, and Old Bay. The cheesy-meaty-starchy trifecta probably took years off of our life, but it was worth it.
Speaking of over the top, Taste This serves breakfast until noon with options like red velvet pancakes and shrimp and grits, plus a house-made dessert of the month, which can range from peach cobbler to rice pudding. Whatever and whenever you order, it will likely be worth the wait.
›› Taste This: 4915 Harford Rd., 443-388-8478 and 102 E. 25th St., 443-563-2845. Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mon. Prices: $1.95-14.95.