After giving up on waiting for a table at El Salto in Brooklyn Park, we decided to give nearby Terry's Place on Ritchie Hwy a try. Terry's always seems to be busy, so we figured it couldn't be too bad. The parking lot was packed on Friday night, but we got in, we noted the seat yourself sign, and were able to find a booth along the painted paneling wall with a CD-jukebox. We must have been in the smoking section, as pretty much everyone around us was smoking (of course, in Brooklyn Park I believe everyone smokes so I'm not sure if there is a non-smoking section). The dining room is old school with minimal attention to decor, except there is a nice see-through fireplace in the middle of the dining area.
Anyway, the menu is full of classic Baltimore area dishes - crab cakes, cream of crab, crab imperial, and sour beef and dumplings. On this night, we chose a crab cake, the sour beef & dumplings, and some MD crab soup to start.
The soup was good and obviously homemade. It was chock full of vegetables with a generous helping of Old Bay seasoning to give it some zing. It could have had a bit more crab, but overall it was a great way to start the meal.
I got a crab cake with fries and cole slaw. It was a generously sized specimen with plenty of lump crabmeat and just a bit of filler. I found the broiled crabcake a little dry, and it could have been richer. I've had better, but this was pretty darned good for $13, and I'd order it again.
The real winner of the evening was the sour beef and dumplings. It seems difficult to get a truly good version of this dish, but Terry's Place has it. The beef is in large cubes, and has a perfect balance of vinegar and ginger. There must be a pound of beef with the serving, each cube cooked until it falls apart when touched by a fork. The dumplings are large and cooked properly, making a great way to eat up the delicious sauce filling the bottom of the plate. This dish is not a menu afterthought here, it is obviously a classic recipe that is administered with a lot of care. For $9, you get this dish plus a choice of two vegetables. Terry's includes on there list of veggies, my all time favorite vegetable - mac and cheese.
The service stinks, the cleanliness is questionable, and the whole place is filled with smoke, but man do they serve some good sour beef & dumplings. I can't wait to get back.