At Edgar's, the pool tables are pricy, but the food is reasonable

April 01, 1994|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

If I were reviewing pool halls, Edgar's would get four stars. Baltimore's new yuppie billiards parlor has the air of a turn-of-the-century gentleman's club -- mahogany paneling, mirrors, a gold-framed portrait of Edgar Allan Poe, "Oriental" rugs. And 16, count 'em 16, very fine pool tables with leather pockets. Each table has a switch near it (like a flight-attendant call button) to summon a waitress when you need food or drink.

You get what you pay for, or maybe I mean you pay for what you get. This isn't Kelly's Cue Club: Tables during prime time go for $12 an hour.

The same goes for the food, or maybe I mean the opposite goes for the food. The house specialty is a prime rib dinner for $9.95. Everything else on the menu is under 10 bucks, and most of it hovers around five. Desserts, which is where a lot of restaurants make their money now that people are drinking less, are all $2.95. It's not the greatest food in the world, but then Edgar's isn't charging you an arm and a leg.

It's sort of like the Las Vegas casinos: Get them in with reasonably priced food and they won't be able to resist the tables.

But you don't have to play pool to eat at Edgar's; there's a handsome bar and dining area a little apart from the action. The prime rib specialty is a pretty good deal, about half a pound of beef, even though the potatoes au gratin are overcooked and the salad, with its rings of onion and wedges of winter tomato, is nothing to write home about.

The rest of the menu is elaborate appetizers, salads and sandwiches -- enormous sandwiches such as smoked turkey breast on seven-grain bread. Too bad its tarragon mustard spread is so sweet, and the coleslaw on the side even sweeter.

There are also a few boboli pizzas. They don't compete with fresh-dough pizzas, but the kitchen is generous with the toppings, like the "Traditional Italian" with marinara sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni.

What Edgar's does best is appetizers, the meal-in-itself kind. People order them at poolside, so to speak, although I don't see how you eat hot artichoke dip and do anything else, especially shoot pool.

The artichoke "dip" (more of a spread) was my favorite -- garnished with black olives, it's hot and slightly gooey with melted Parmesan. You eat it with garlic toast.

But the pot stickers are excellent, too. These are Chinese dumplings, stuffed with ground pork, fried so they're crisp at the edges and served with hoisin sauce. Or you could try the good jerk shrimp -- jumbo shrimp seasoned with fiery Jamaican jerk seasonings. You can take the edge off the heat with a pineapple, peach and papaya dipping sauce that tastes like jam to me.

Edgar's has such desserts as peanut butter pie and espresso cake, and they're OK. But come on. Would Fast Eddie have eaten peanut butter pie while he was shooting pool?

Never.

Edgar's

Where: 1 E. Pratt St.

Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Credit cards accepted: Major credit cards

Features: Bar food, sandwiches

Non-smoking section? yes

Call: (410) 752-8080

Prices: Under $10

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