Backfinz offers chicken dishes



April 28, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Jalapeno poppers, chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks are the currency of American bar food, and that's no exception at Backfinz, a Locust Point bar and restaurant with a platoon of regulars.

Backfinz is a worthy destination for anyone who needs a taste of lively city living. On an April evening that felt like summer, the neighborhood was hopping with a Little League game, stoop-sitting and rush-hour traffic. The bar was busy with customers having a beer after work, smoking, playing with their cell phones and a rather risque video game. Two televisions silently aired the news and OutKast sang "Hey Ya."

But we weren't there to hang out; we wanted to check out the carryout offerings, which sounded drearily familiar. Chicken rules the roost and there are only a few crab selections, despite the name of the business.

Overall, however, Backfinz's ingredients were fresh and most of the preparation was sound.

An ample appetizer of onion rings ($3) was genuine, tender and nicely breaded. A chicken-finger basket ($6) came with flaky breading and was pronounced delicious by the household chicken-finger connoisseur. Backfinz touts its crab-cake sandwich ($10) as a "jumbo lump masterpiece." I beg to differ. While it was very good, the Old Bay-inflected crab, served on a kaiser roll, was more crumbly than lumpy.

Perhaps the barbecued-chicken sandwich with bacon and provolone on buttery Texas toast ($6.50) was a little too high on the pig-out scale, but anyone who orders it probably knows what he is in for.

A shrimp-salad sandwich ($8) with a spicy sauce was stuffed with chunks of sweet jumbo gulf shrimp that were still warm, as if they had just been steamed, a likelihood because Backfinz features steamed shrimp by the pound.

All sandwiches came with pleasantly simple coleslaw and boardwalk fries. The uncrisp fries were a disappointment.

Backfinz has no desserts on the menu. There's parking on the street.


Food: ** 1/2

Service: ***

Waiting area: ** 1/2

Parking: ***

Where: 1036 E. Fort Ave., Locust Point

Phone: 410-332-1200

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily

Prices: Soups, appetizers, salads, sandwiches and burgers, from $3 to $11; credit cards accepted

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