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Meet 27 Brings New Life to Howard Street

“Neo-American” bistro in Charles Village fuses pub grub with south and southeast Asian flavors.

In March, the concept of Meet 27—described by its ownership team as an American bistro serving “serious food in a casual environment”—certainly piqued my interest. There were lots of reasons, not the least of which was my eagerness to see the prime corner property—at the southeast corner of 27th and Howard Streets, there for darn-near every southbound commuter to see—occupied again.

Well, in late April, Meet 27 finally and quietly opened its doors. Sous chef Jeremy Cox, most recently of Cinghiale, describes the cuisine at Meet 27 as “neo-American.”

Neo-American? Paul Goldberg, landlord and business partner, elaborates: Meet 27 seeks to redefine the concept of American bistro. Here, it means a melding of flavors possible only in an eclectic, melting pot culture like the U.S. The dishes at Meet 27 are inspired by Chef Richard D’Souza’s Indian upbringing, his world travels, and his time in the hospitality industry all over the U.S.

Distinctly American indeed.

Menu highlights include chili paneer, tempura-battered cheese in Asian barbeque sauce, and vindaloo pork, already a diner favorite, according to Cox. For an appetizer, try the signature fries, in chickpea batter and served with housemade dipping sauces, or the batata vada, potato fritters with tamarind sauce. The basic salad dressing was impressive. Think pesto, but lighter and adapted for greens.

Combining south and southeast Asian flavors with what Cox describes as French and Italian cooking techniques, the goal is to keep the ingredients healthful, natural and locally sourced whenever possible.

Is it still gluten-free? Yes, 100 percent. Even that wheat hamburger roll—the one compromise Richard was willing to make just a few months ago—was no match for what the culinary team can do with gluten-free ingredients.

Here, gluten-free is an afterthought, but an important one. Indeed, the culinary team at Meet 27 has created quite a rare beast: a gluten-free restaurant that, at first blush, would pass for your average corner restaurant and bar.  

Meet 27

127 W. 27th Street

410-585-8121

 

Neighborhood

Charles Village, on the Remington border.

Food Type: 

American dishes with an Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan and Thai kick. Desserts by Sweet Sin’s Renee D’Souza. All gluten-free.

Damage:

Serious entrees—including the catch of the day, lamp chops and New York Strip—come in at just under $20. Renee’s desserts will cost you another $6.

Gripe:

An impressively rehabbed long bar with magnificent chandeliers sits empty as Meet 27 works through a liquor license dispute. A permit application for a new outdoor sign sits idle. This type of slow movement is tough on business, especially in today’s still-fragile economic environment. 

Hat tip: 

I’ve discussed my soft spot for Indian cuisine in this space. So, I hope you don’t find the next comment surprising. When we sat down, the waiter offered the most fantastic choice of cold beverages ever: mango lassi or chai-spiced iced tea. It was the toughest decision of the meal. I ordered, and can personally vouch for, both.

Go if: 

You want a fair-priced, heftily portioned meal delivered with a swift kick of spice.

Don't go if:

Swift kicks of spice leave you breathless. Heat is a staple ingredient here. My suggestion for my spice-averse readers is asking the kitchen to tone it down as a preemptive measure.

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