The Black Olive in Baltimore reopened this week after being closed for remodeling. The remodeling still isn't complete, but the original area is now open.
Four of us went there for dinner last night, and while it remains an excellent restaurant, there were some glitches that I hope are not harbingers of things to come.
On the plus side, the food was excellent. Two of us had huge Chilean sea bass, one had grilled red snapper, and one had the grand filet. The fish was fresh and moist. The snapper was delicate while the bass was firm and meaty. I stole a bite of the grand filet, and cut it with my fork.
Our waiter was singularly inattentive. He claimed there was a large party in the back room, but there were times that we felt almost ignored.
The grand filet had to be sent back once. It was ordered medium rare, but when it arrived there was barely a pink spot in the center. We had to flag another waiter to send it back, since ours dropped off our food and disappeared.
Our party of four was shoehorned into a small square table against a wall, in spite of the fact that a larger round table for four was available. The larger table ended up being given to a party of two who arrived after we did.
The tour of the fish case was not available. That's always been one of the great things about the Black Olive.
The expansion could be a good thing for the restaurant. They're adding an open air patio which should be a great place to eat in the spring and cooler summer evenings.
But they need to keep an eye on the training of the cooks and wait staff, and make sure that they don't ruin one of my favorite Baltimore restaurants in growing. They remain an excellent choice, but bear watching over the next few months to be sure they don't suffer a decline.