By Staci Wolfson
If any restaurant is a microcosm of Baltimore’s Fells Point, it may just be Red Star Bar & Grill. Red Star, like its home neighborhood, is casual and inviting, yet has a trendy, upscale twist. The dim lighting and warm brick and wood interior emit a relaxed vibe, perfect for a laidback happy hour or a lazy Sunday morning brunch.
And even though the majority of the ground floor is occupied by the bar, Red Star doesn’t serve up the typical greasy bar fare. Instead, the dishes are well thought out, complex culinary experiences.
According to the website, Red Star was named after the red nautical stars painted on the sidewalks, leading to the building. Sailors docked in Fells Point, knowing that there they could find good food, alcohol and women. With red lights outlawed, the red stars served as a substitute leading the men to the women at the Red Star.
Now, still tucked away from the din of Fells Point Square and close to the harbor, Red Star has become an off-the-beaten-path classic.
When I moved to the city a couple years ago, Red Star kept coming up in various conversations with different people. “Have you been to Red Star?” they would ask. “They have the best food.” I tried it first for dinner and was at first put off by the noisy, jovial Friday night happy hour crowd. But the food quickly made up for the fact that I couldn’t hear my friends across the table. It was a long time ago, and I still haven’t forgotten the delicious blackened Ahi tuna wrap
with avocado, lettuce, cucumber and Creole remoulade. I knew that if dinner was that good, a brunch trip was in order.
Red Star offers quieter brunch on both Saturday and Sunday to the sleepy but content crowd that rolls in after a great night out in Fells. And if they didn’t get their fill the night before, drunk brunch is an option with bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys.
Since my memorable dinner, I’ve made two brunch trips, both to equivalent levels of success. On my first trip, I went for the Good Egg, a toasted sourdough sandwich with fried eggs, melted cheese, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and Canadian bacon. The gooey, guilty pleasure was the perfect savory hangover cure.The second time around, I went traditional with a classic eggs benedict with Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce. It was perfectly made, as was the Maryland-style benedict spin that my brunch buddy ordered with eggs over crab cakes. I also enjoyed the mix of regular potatoes and sweet potatoes that came on the side.
Obviously, I’ll have to keep coming back again and again…and again. There are too many dishes calling my name, from the Belgian dark chocolate pancakes to the blackberry cinnamon French toast to the grilled cheese with cheddar, swiss, bacon, and jalapeno.
And of course, I still haven’t forgotten that Ahi tuna wrap.
906 S. Wolfe Street (Fells Point)
Baltimore, Md. 21231
Hours: Mon – Thurs 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Fri 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sun 10 a.m. – 12
a.m.; Brunch served Sat – Sun 1 a.m. – 2 p.m.