The true test of a local neighborhood lunch place is how quickly they can get your order, get it ready and (this is really important) get it right. On a nice, sunny weekday, the Corned Beef Factory, at 3515 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, hit the trifecta.
The seafood-starved half of our luncheon group ordered the Maryland crab soup ($4.49 for the large size), which arrived hot, spicy and studded with plenty of crustaceans and vegetables and the unmistakable tang of Old Bay. A follow-up, the shrimp salad sandwich, also had the Old Bay flavor, and featured enormous shrimp with just enough dressing to bring out the flavor. The sandwich is great, but you might just wind up using a knife and fork to finish it off after the bread gives out — there’s that much shrimp to enjoy.
An appetizer ordered as a main course, the Buffalo wings (mild version) had a sauce that fortunately departed from the expected bottled versions found in all too many carry-outs. This was just bold enough, with an interesting combination of flavors and spices.
Desserts — a cheesecake and a red velvet cake — provided the finishing touch.
The final bill came to $27.40 including soft drinks. We could have ordered it on the phone and had it delivered free, but picking it up at the store turned out to be a great excuse for getting outside for a few minutes on a pretty day.
The restaurant has tables and a TV, as well as a selection of soft drinks and of course, sandwiches galore — but on a day that duty called, eating at our desks was mandatory. And the fare that we got made it worth our while.
The Corned Beef Factory is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. It has a website of http://thecornedbeeffactory.com/ and a phone number of 443-835-3867.
by Mary Helen Sprecher