In all honesty, all seasons are perfect for dining at Baldwin’s Station in Sykesville but it is especially well suited to the Christmas holidays. The brick 1883 railway station designed by E. Francis Baldwin has maintained its original integrity and look. There is a warm, take-you-back-in-time country hospitality feel when you enter the building that is consistent throughout both dining rooms and the bar. An enclosed year round patio area that sits right by the active railroad tracks has been host to many a party, wedding as well as day-to-day lunch and dinner service.
At night driving through the historic town of Sykesville’s Main Street was like a Christmas card scene. The buildings decorated for the holidays, with the lights a startling contrast to the December evening’s dark, clear sky.
This is not my first trip to Baldwin’s Station, in fact, owner Stewart Dearie offered cooking classes through my Epicurean Club of Maryland, created special events for the American Institute of Wine and Food/Baltimore Chapter and designed a very special tasting dinner for two friends celebrating monumental birthdays. In fact, they now offer on any night but Monday a Chef’s Wine Dinner – 6 course menu paired with wines hand selected from their wine cellar for $75. (order in advance or ask your server upon arrival – tax and gratuity not inclusive.)
The night of our media dinner, the smaller dining room was filled with a networking group as Dearie gave us the tour. We settled into Baldwin’s main dining room which on varying Thursday nights plays host to musical concerts – January 13th is Phil Wiggins & Mark Puryear and January 27th will be Hot Soup.
Who is in kitchen?
Food always taste better when you are sitting with friends but Chef Darrick Granai dishes proved not to need any assistance. Culinary has been a part of this young chef’s life from his early, early teens in Vermont. He’s paid his culinary dues and now reigns supreme over the Baldwin’s Station cuisine.
Let’s talk dining
We actually had two entrees as an appetizer – one was the crab cakes that chef prepared gluten free for Randi Rom of Baltimore Eats and that evening’s special of osso bucco that Downtown Diane wanted to taste.
Personally, I liked the salad choices. Yes, there is a Caesar Salad and two were ordered and enjoyed BUT I really enjoyed the other salad choices beyond the mesculin greens mixtures. The Spicy Cucumber Salad, thin ribbons of cucumber lightly dressed in goats milk yogurt, sesame seeds, cayenne, turmeric and cumin was cool, refreshing with a tinge of spicy heat. The Avocado and Watercress Salad of shaved red onions, seasonal Gala apples in sesame vinaigrette was delicious, offering a mélange of flavors and textures.
The entrees are straight forward with pork, lamb, filet mignon, crab cakes, short ribs, chicken breast, tuna, duck and a selection of pastas but it is chef’s inspired tweeks to these dishes that make them memorable. Choices at our table were Gruyere Stuffed Filet Mignon, Ginger Crusted French Chicken Breast, Chipotle Rubbed Seared Ahi Tuna and my choice, Brined Duck Breast with Poached Anjou Pears and Vanilla Cream. (pictures available on the slide show).
We were pretty full; entrees come with well chosen vegetables and potatoes/or/rice for the protein. We did indulge in a dessert, a chocolate pate – rich and dense.
Considering that it takes me 30 minutes to get downtown for dining it is about the same time to get to Sykesville from Pikesville. My route was Liberty Road out to Sykesville though many travel through Route 70 to Route 32.
7618 Main Street
Sykesville, MD 21784
serving lunch & dinner
Open Christmas Eve – lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. & 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner
New Year Eve – serving dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Keep up-to-date and current by having the Dining Examiner’s posts delivered directly to your e-mail in box by clicking the SUBSCRIBE button above the post. Follow the Dining Examiner on Facebook or on Twitter @diningdish or e-mail me at email@example.com. Check out Dara Bunjon’s National Food Examiner column and business Dara Does It – Creative Solutions for the Food Industry.