For weeks the aroma of barbecued ribs has drifted through my apartment from nearby Nick Idoni's House of Ribs.
Some days, the appetizing aroma was so strong we could almost taste the ribs. We had seen the crowds lined up outside, too, and wanted to put Nick Idoni's on our list of restaurants to sample this summer.
Finally, we sampled.
Noting the crowds, we arrived promptly at the start of the dinner hour and were seated immediately (even though a steady stream of diners was already pouring in).
The atmosphere is casual -- ceiling fans, Tiffany lamp shades, antique light posts and wooden tables and chairs.
The service is prompt, polite and efficient.
The appetizer selection is minimal. We chose a half portion of "Nick's Famous Onion Loaf" ($2.95), a stack of onion rings served like a loaf of bread. The half portion was more than enough for our family of five.
We also enjoyed a delicious cup of spicy Maryland crab soup, served with generous chunks of crab ($2.25).
For dinner, of course, we had ribs -- mouthwatering barbecued baby-back ribs -- the restaurant's specialty ($13.95).
Charbroiled and basted with Nick's sauce, the ribs were tender and tasty -- downright finger-licking good. Entrees are served with fresh baked breads and a choice of applesauce or coleslaw and fries or baked potato.
Besides ribs, Nick's offers shrimp, crab cakes, flounder, chicken and steaks. And then there's steak and rib combos and chicken and rib combos. Entrees cost $8.95 to $21.95.
The servings are generous, which probably accounts for the limited appetizer menu. Who can eat so much?
There's also a kid's menu, featuring ribs, of course, chicken and steak, priced from $5.95 to $7.95. Our kids chose the chicken ($5.95) -- a large piece of barbecued chicken served with fries and applesauce. One order would have been sufficient for two kids.
You'll walk away from Nick's full. But, at least in our case, you'll never get too far away from that mouthwatering smell of basting ribs.
Nick Idoni's House of Ribs
145th Street and Coastal Highway, (410) 250-1984.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Credit cards: V, MC, AE.
Non-smoking area? Yes.