Ida B’s Table: More Cornbread, Please!

Ida B’s Table blew into the Baltimore last September and has been taking the culinary scene by storm ever since. I would have written this review much sooner but I felt I needed to some more “research” to make sure I didn’t miss any important details.  I visited the restaurant several times and most recently went in a group of 10 friends just to make sure as many people could enjoy it as much as I do.

Ida B’s Table is a modern soul food restaurant operating in downtown Baltimore with Chef David Thomas (formerly of Herb & Soul restaurant in Parkville) at the helm. The cuisine ranges between new american, southern, and soul food, all with delicious and interesting twists and turns. They like to keep the focus on local ingredients. In addition to the food, even the name of the restaurant has an interesting story. Ida B’s Table is named after Ida B. Wells, a reporter and former slave who took on structural racism with her anti-lynching campaign. Keeping with the theme, the menu is arranged like a newspaper with Leads (appetizers),  Op-Eds (salads and soups), Features (entrees), Sidebar (sides), and Final Edits (desserts), and more.

Let’s get down to business with what you’ve been waiting for…. food (and drink) pictures!

My first run in with Ida B’s beverage program was at On the Rocks: A Drinks Party at the Walter’s Art Museum. I knew I was in love from the moment I tasted their cocktail entry. It was sweet, savory, and spicy all at once. Separate from the main dining area, Ida B’s has a bar area with open seating as well as their recently opened speakeasy, The Parlor. You would be hard-pressed to make a trip to Ida B’s without finding a beverage you enjoy. My current favorite is the Tijuana Brass (mezcal, duh).

Going back to the original title of this post, Ida B’s bread game is on point! Their cornbread with molasses butter is one of the best things I’ve eaten this year. I dream about their butter when I close my eyes. Every table receives a basket of cornbread, molasses butter, and sometimes biscuits during the meal. After my first visit, the anticipation of the arrival of the bread dish was almost more than I could bear. Please do not delay! More cornbread, please!

Appetizers at Ida B’s bring another round of pleasant surprises. I feel like there aren’t a lot of places to eat frog legs in Baltimore so I was overjoyed to see the Buttermilk-Fried Frog Legs on their menu. They are fried to perfection and I can see why the comeback sauce received its name because I keep wanting more of it. I’m still on a deviled egg kick and the Deviled Egg Trio keeps it interesting with three different versions.

The menu category “Features” is a good descriptor because the entrees are the star at Ida B’s. Of course, you must order the Old Bay Fried Chicken and keep it carby with a side of fries and macaroni and cheese. During their restaurant week I thoroughly enjoyed the Creole Hon Fleurs: Pasture raised-chicken with preserved apples, local mushrooms, smoked carrot perloo, and a creole cream. At my last visit it was a Friday during Lent so I ordered the Curry Catfish. They only use the best catfish, sustainable-sourced and local, which is pan-seared and glazed with a sweet curry sauce over a Hoppin’ John and butterbean succotash. The other pictures you see above are the meals that others in my group enjoyed. No one was left unsatisfied.

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The above picture requires its own paragraph. On Fat Tuesday, Ida B’s hosted a Mardi Gras party in the bar. I was happy to finally try the savory beignets I’ve been hearing everyone rave about. Fluffy delicious savory clouds of deliciousness in your mouth. I could eat them all day. They have a sweet beignet special every Wednesday morning until they sell out so try your luck sometime. We normally have a rule about not ordering the same thing when we go out but neither of us could say no to the Alligator Po Boy on Fat Tuesday. The comeback sauce makes its return again, topped with slaw, on this Po Boy. In case you didn’t have enough carbs, you get a side a of fries too. I wish I had a few extra stomachs so I could try all the other Po Boys they offered. Also, can I just point out that even down to the tiniest detail as ketchup, Ida B’s makes sure every bite is special and memorable.

No final edits are needed on dessert, everything Ida B’s offers is perfect. I wasn’t sure what to think when this pop tart looking thing arrived at my table after I had ordered the Lemon Chess Hand Pie. It’s hard to describe how spectacularly amazing the hand pie tastes. Flaky, gooey, sweet and sour; The hand pie is a perfect end to a meal that will keep you coming back to the restaurant again and again. I won’t complain about the Brown Sugar Pie or the Pineapple Upside Down Bread Pudding either.

I wish I could have taken a photo of my group of friends and all our smiling faces as we enjoyed the decadent feast that had been placed before us at our last visit. We are a good crowd to eat with because no one minds sharing a bite of their food. It’s the best way to really try everything on a menu. Everyone thanked me after the meal for introducing Ida B’s Table in to their life. Now I hope you will do the same and welcome some Ida B’s Table in to your life too.

Enjoy!

– Lindsey

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2 thoughts on “Ida B’s Table: More Cornbread, Please!

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