Grilled chicken sandwich is the star at Charcoal Grill

December 04, 2008|By Rob Kasper | Rob Kasper,

Charcoal Grill

8535 Old Harford Road, Parkville; 410-668-9212. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

After "turkey day," you might think you have had your fill of bird. But once you sample the Chesapeake chicken sandwich at the Charcoal Grill in Parkville, you will happily rejoin the ranks of poultry partisans.

This Charcoal Grill (there is an affiliated restaurant in Perry Hall) is a simple structure on the corner of Old Harford Road and Putty Hill Avenue that shares a parking lot with a liquor store. There are no seats; it's strictly a carry-out, yet it has standards.

Its fries and onion rings, for instance, are cooked in peanut oil, which is more costly than other oils, but it has a high smoke point. That means it burns hotter and yields a crisp product with little aftertaste. Moreover, at the Charcoal Grill, the fries and onion rings don't hit the oil until the customer shows up on the premises. They will cook no fries before their time.

My $3.29 order of onion rings was outstanding. It had the contrast - a crisp coating and a tender onion - that we onion ring aficionados crave.

The star sandwich, in my estimation, is the grilled chicken.

Like most items on the menu, the boneless chicken fillet is cooked on a gas grill. It is coated with Old Bay and other peppery fare and served on toasted sourdough bread with lettuce and tomato. Like the onion rings, the chicken had a crisp crust, yet a moist middle. The seasoning, a little fiery, was excellent. This is one of the best things that happened to Old Bay since steamed crabs.

I also tried the turkey sandwich, $5.29, with sliced turkey breast. It was good, but probably not the choice you want to make right after Thanksgiving.

The lemonade, $1.79 for a small, was top notch, made on the premises.

The Charcoal Grill is what a carry-out should be. Not fancy, but fast and flavorful.

charcoal grill

Best bite: Grilled chicken sandwich seasoned with Old Bay, $4.99

Also tasted: Onion rings, $3.29; turkey sandwich $5.29; lemonade, $1.79

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