Guy Fieri seems to have a thing for Baltimore these days. In the past few years, the star of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has featured many of Charm City’s most endearing joints on his show. So it wasn’t surprising when the peroxide-blond celebrity chef decided to try his luck with his own outlet at Horseshoe Casino.
In this day and age of gluten-free groupies and passionate paleos, Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen & Bar is the perfect place to eat with abandon. As you make your way past the penny slots, don’t expect anything close to high-caliber cuisine (that’s not Guy’s goal, anyway), but do expect to have a good time. One advisory: come hungry—even the most medaled food Olympian will have trouble cleaning the plates here.
As we studied the menu, we asked our waiter for calorie-conscious suggestions. “Nothing healthy here,” he told us. And so, we pressed on.
First up: an order of General’s Wings ($13), deep-fried lollipop wings served with a house-made sauce. Sweet and spicy, with a kick of heat, the wings were, by far, the tastiest things to arrive at the table. We also sampled a too-creamy Maryland crab dip ($14), which didn’t deliver on the promised crab.
Neck-craning from nearby tables ensued as the mile-high Mac-n-Cheese Bacon Burger ($16), a griddle-pressed burger loaded with oodles of noodles, bacon, and fried onions on a brioche bun, arrived at our table. (As I bit into the burger and wiped my mouth with Fieri’s signature skull-and-crossbones–themed napkin, I asked myself, “Is this my suicide or a sandwich?”) Though the burger was touted as having won a Burger Bash contest in 2013, the patty was overly greasy and the other ingredients overwhelmed an otherwise satisfying mac-and-cheese.
To get in some greens, we ordered the Guy-Talian Deli Salad ($15) including Italian meats and mozzarella balls, ringed by a thick “crown” of prosciutto. The salad was drenched in dressing, though we did enjoy the addition of some seemingly rogue roasted cherry tomatoes. (Clearly, something healthy slipped past Fieri’s TSA agent in the kitchen!)
As we piled leftovers into several to-go containers (a hand truck would have been more fitting), we couldn’t resist requesting a slab of New York-style cheesecake ($12)—the size of Manhattan, really—slathered in hot fudge and pierced with pretzels, pretzel brittle, and potato chips. As the saying goes, if you’re gonna go down, go down swinging.
›› Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen & Bar: 1525 Russell St., 443-931-4387. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily; appetizers: $11-16; sandwiches: $15-18; entrees: $19-27; desserts: $10-12.