Pick up sticks



While mozzarella sticks are one of the more expensive members of the deep-fried family, their utter deliciousness justifies the $5-or-more price tag. We ordered the dish from four local restaurants and compared them. This is what we found:

Mad River Bar and Grille

1110 S. Charles St. -- 410-727-2333

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

The cooks at Mad River must have tossed a pinch of sugar into the deep fryer, because the mozzarella sticks, $6.25, came out more sweet than salty. They tasted odd, not bad, and after a little marinara sauce, we could barely notice the sweetness.

Mamie's Cafe

911 W. 36th St. -- 410-366-2996

Hours --9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Though slightly brown, Mamie's mozzarella sticks, $5.20, were soft to the touch (and bite). There was a little grease on the five sticks, but no mushiness - the crust didn't fall apart when you broke the sticks in half.

Upper Deck Bar and Grill

34 S. Eutaw St. -- 410-752-1915

Hours --24 hours daily

At only $3.42 for six sticks, you get what you pay for. Each one is about the girth of an index finger, thinner than the other orders we tried. Upper Deck left them in the deep fryer long enough to brown the breading, which gave them an extra crunch. But the sour tomato sauce, which tasted like it had come from an expired can, ruined anything dunked into it.

Mount Vernon Stable & Saloon

909 N. Charles St. -- 410-685-7427

Hours --11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday

All six sticks in the order, $5.95, had soft, gooey cheese and a firm breading shell. Because they were extra-thick, they had to be carefully dipped - we didn't want to spill any of the hearty marinara sauce.

Know of a good carryout place? Let us hear about it. Write to sam.sessa@baltsun.com.

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