The Corner Bistro Ribeye Steak Sandwich at the Corner Bistro… (Barbara Haddock Taylor,…)
The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar is the kind of restaurant you want to tell everyone you know about — not because you want them to experience how great it is for themselves, but because you selfishly want the business to stay open so you can go back again and again. It's that good.
Open three months, the Corner Bistro is the brainchild of brothers Derrick and Wesley Vaughan. Derrick worked in the private sector while Wesley served as a chef in some of Baltimore's finer steakhouses. Wanting to open a place together, they waited until they found the right property in the small Ridgely's Delight neighborhood.
A dark and cozy place at night, the restaurant has a small dining room next to a great old-school wooden bar that, while modern, has a familiar, lived-in feel about it. Derrick, who acts as bartender and server, recommended a few wines to start our night. He also informed us that bottles of wine at Corner Bistro are 20 percent off on Mondays and 50 percent off on Saturdays. It's an unheard of deal — take advantage of it while you can.
We started with two white wines that paired well with our appetizers. The glass of the Callaway 2010 Chardonnay ($7) had a big, creamy flavor that might have overwhelmed a lighter dish, but stood up to the rich and spicy flavor of the pork drumsticks ($8.95). Four braised mini pork shanks made up the "drumsticks" and were covered in the chef's own recipe for barbecue sauce. The sauce was deep and tangy, complementing the lip-smacking pork, which barely stayed on its bone. A ramekin of house-made blue cheese dressing made the dish a smash.
A bowl of the Corner Bistro corn chowder ($6) matched well with a flute of the 2009 Segura Viudas sparking wine. The bubbly cava accented the sweetness of the soup while cutting through the creaminess. By the end of the appetizers, we knew that the rest of the meal was going to be great — and we were right.
The Corner Bistro only serves a few full entrees a night — rotating nightly specials — so we stuck to the menu's ciabatta sandwiches. The turducken sandwich ($8.95) was a miniature version of the culinary world's answer to Russian nesting dolls.
Between the fantastically airy ciabatta — which came caramelized on the inside — was chicken, duck and turkey breast, topped with what they call an "herbed cheese sauce." The cheese sauce was basically an herbed gravy with a little bit of cheese thrown in. The sauce made the well-seasoned sandwich feel like a Sunday dinner all by itself. The turducken came with a side of sweet potato fries that were crispy and unadorned; letting the sweet potato shine.
The Philly ($7.95) was a high-end take on the classic cheese steak sandwich. Thin slices of rib eye mingled with sauteed onions, American cheese and tarragon aioli on ciabatta to create what has to be one of the best steak sandwiches I've had. The sandwich came with a side of crackly, earthy truffle fries.
The Corner Bistro didn't have dessert that night, but glasses of Borges Tawny Port ($7) filled in nicely. The port was a raisin-y sweet yet acidic finish to the wonderful meal. By this point, we were already talking about what we were going to get next time.
It's a great thing to go into a restaurant for the first time and get a great meal. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be cooked and presented with care. That's what you get at The Corner Bistro.
Corner Bistro and Wine Bar
Back-story: Brothers Derrick and Wesley Vaughan opened The Corner & Bistro Wine bar three months ago in Ridgely's Delight. Derrick's knowledge of wine and Wesley's experience as a chef have combined to make a great restaurant.
Parking: It's hard to find parking in Ridgely's Delight, but there are some street spots. Failing that, you can find parking at garages on nearby Pratt Street.
Signature dish: Try the Philly, a high-end take on the classic cheese steak sandwich. Thin slices of rib eye mingled with sauteed onions, American cheese and tarragon aioli on ciabatta to create what has to be one of the best steak sandwiches we've had.
Where: 213 Penn St., Baltimore
Contact: 410-727-1155, cbwinebar.com
Open: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday; a wine happy hour is 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday
Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover
[Key: Excellent: ✭✭✭✭; Good: ✭✭✭; Uneven: ✭✭; Poor: ✭]