Mixed results produce sentence of probation

July 23, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

With its low lunch prices, interesting menu and convenient location on Crain Highway near the District Courthouse, one of Glen Burnie's newest restaurants, the Judges Chambers, is not a bad place to go for an OK meal.

But a friend and I who lunched there recently found the food inconsistent and some of the menu items lackluster in presentation and taste.

We arrived just after noon to find only a few customers. The restaurant's decor seems to try to create a judicial-themed coziness, with its forest-green color scheme and prominent law books.

We liked our surroundings even better when our waiter -- who was attentive and eager to please -- seated us by a huge picture window looking out onto the wonderful Glen Burnie-scape of cars zooming up and down Crain Highway. (Not the most romantic locale for a date, but a good spot for people-watching.)

The menu offers several interesting selections -- turkey-and-roast-beef sandwiches named the Gavel Classic; a lunch salad of diced tomatoes, Maui onions, chopped egg and bacon named the Paralegal; and Parole, another lunch salad with smoked mozzarella and "turkey breast released early on a bed of mesclun."

We began with the BBQ Shrimp Kabobs ($9.95) and crab balls ($9.95 at market price that day). The kebabs were all right but looked like they were slapped together and carelessly tossed onto a plate.

The crab balls, on the other hand, were excellent -- soft yet crispy -- and we devoured them right away.

My friend had the Stet Docket ($9.95), fresh mahi-mahi and portabello mushrooms "blackened and not charged" with the house Cajun spice. The mahi-mahi and mushrooms were overseasoned and a little too salty. This presentation also did not score well, as the food was perched on a measly bed of wilted greens.

I opted for the Mexicali Fiesta Wrap ($6.95), which I encourage everyone to avoid. The dish sounded tantalizing on the menu -- "Spicy Italian sausage and fresh vegetables grilled and wrapped with spicy rice in a flour tortilla." But the rice was bland, as if it came from a generic boxed mix, and the sausage bits were few and far between.

The Incarcerated Salad ($11.95 at market price), which we split, was a winner. The dish, which featured lump crab salad in a jumbo tomato "guarded with sliced avocado," was delicious. The crab meat was ample, soft and tasty.

The meal was topped off with a brownie and ice cream ($3.95), which also was outstanding. The brownie was soft, sweet and homemade.

The verdict: The Judges Chambers is a good place for lunch in Glen Burnie, but we weren't sure it would survive in, say, Annapolis unless the food quality improves.

Judges Chambers

Where: 6 Crain Highway N.W., Glen Burnie, 410-590-1795

Hours: dinner, 5: 30 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 5: 30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; lunch, 11: 30 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. daily Prices: appetizers, $2.95-$9.95; lunch entrees, $5.95 to $11.95; dinner entrees, $13.95 to $19.95

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express

Rating: ** 1/2

Ratings: * culinary wasteland

**** culinary heaven

Pub Date: 7/23/98

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