Ouzo Bay in Baltimore
My parents fancy themselves quite the foodies now. Just about every weekend, I get text messages of cocktails and dishes from their latest restaurant finds. It came as no surprise to me that my next trip home for my mom’s birthday would be yet another dining adventure.
Over a month before my mom’s September birthday, my dad sent me the link to Ouzo Bay. After a quick glance at the menu offerings, I knew my dad mainly picked this spot for their handcrafted cocktails.
Ouzo Bay is a Mediterranean kouzina—kouzina means kitchen in Greek—part of the Atlas Restaurant Group. One of Atlas’ other restaurants includes The Bygone, the restaurant located on the rooftop of the Four Seasons Hotel.
Click here to read about my dinner at The Bygone.
Ouzo Bay has a laid-back setting, with cozy outdoor seating and an outdoor summer bar, accented by upscale touches and blue up lighting. Ouzo Bay offers diners a trip to the Mediterranean while remaining in Baltimore’s Harbor East. The dinner menu boasts classic Greek dishes and ingredients, as well as whole fish, fresh seafood, grass-fed lamb and dry-aged meats.
I highly recommend making a reservation if you plan on having dinner at Ouzo Bay. The restaurant makes the most of its narrow space, filling the low-lit restaurant with tables and large booths. I read that the wait can be long on a busy night, but we were quickly seated after arriving a few minutes late for our reservation.
My parents and I each ordered a cocktail to start. My dad chose Zeus the Shapeshifter, a cocktail that allows you to choose which distilled spirit you want mixed with a saffron honey lemonade. My mom and I went with the Blushing Nymph, made with Reyka vodka, Ramazzotti Rosato, ginger, lemon and rose water.
The Blushing Nymph was refreshing with just a touch of sweetness. Later that evening, I switched it up and ordered a glass of wine from the expansive wine list. I selected the agiorgitiko which is the Greek version of a pinot noir.
Our server brought us bread and butter to munch on, but we decided to order the Flaming Saganaki as an appetizer. I first saw flaming saganaki on an episode of Below Deck Mediterranean. Chef Ben prepared the flaming cheese dish as a way to wow the charter guests.
Saganaki refers to the style of dish prepared in a small frying pan. Ouzo Bay uses a kefalograviera cheese then sets it ablaze with Brandy right at your table. Call me chaotic but I was hoping for a bit more theatrics from the dish. However, Ouzo Bay’s dining room size does not really allow for an entire fire performance. The flames were drizzled with lemon juice and our hot cheese was served with toasted pita chips. The kefalograviera had a slightly salty taste with a cheese pull reminiscent of melted mozzarella. We practically battled for every last fried bit of this appetizer.
I was quite indecisive when it came to choosing my entrée. Ouzo Bay has so many delectable options, from land to sea. I kept trying to convince my mom to split the Maine Lobster Pasta with me, but we were both concerned that it would still be too much food. I ended up going with the Chilean Sea Bass, while my mom and dad chose the Diver Scallops and Herb-Crusted Veal Chop, respectively. It took a noticeable amount of time for not just our food, but the tables around us as well, to come out. Once it did, we all agreed that it was worth the wait.
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed my sea bass. It was moist, flaky and perfectly cooked, served in a light broth with stewed tomatoes, fava beans, sweet onions, potatoes and capers. I practically inhaled the moderate portion size then had my sights set on my parents’ food.
If I had to rate all of our entrees, I’d give the sea bass a 7/10 and my parents’ meals 10/10. The Diver Scallops featured four sea scallops atop spinach risotto, garnished with crispy leeks. The veal chop was incredibly tender with a wonderful blend of earthy and savory flavors in the Mediterranean herb crust.
After our entrées, we were given a complimentary palate-cleansing shot that was essentially a finger bath for your taste buds. While we passed on finishing our meal with one of the Mediterranean dessert options, our server brought us a slice of baklava served with ice cream to act as my mom’s birthday cake. The cinnamon-rich dessert was a sweet finish to our dinner at Ouzo Bay.
Ouzo Bay is located at 1000 Lancaster St, Baltimore.