You may have noticed that a former semi-fine-dining mainstay, Saute, is no longer. In it’s place is a bar suddenly familiar but new; a classic Baltimore bar packed with a more casual crowd. At peak times, you’ll find it stuffed with patrons around blazing heat lamps outside or sitting next to gaping garage door windows, framed by Baltimore-themed memorabilia. Lee’s Pint and Shell, established 1933 because that’s the year the bar owner’s dad (and bar’s namesake) was born, is a thoughtful makeover of an establishment the neighborhood outgrew. The makeover features a seafood-heavy menu, creative craft beer on tap, lots of reclaimed wood, and some of the best specials in the area. What do you see when you crack open a menu? Hope you’re hungry, because here are four things to eat at Lee’s Pint and Shell:
- Oysters. But mostly, oysters at happy hour
Shuck open a Lee’s Pint and Shell oyster and you’ll find pearliest oyster deals in the neighborhood within. Lee’s selects a handful of (rotating) oysters from up and down the East Coast and serves them up for 50 cents during Happy Hour. On Ravens game day, buck-a-shuck oysters are ready for your football-watching, oyster-slurping palate. For local oyster lovers a little tired of the crowds at other neighborhood seafood establishments, it’s the perfect answer to a briny shellfish craving.
2. Drizzly Chesapeake (read: full crab cake) fries
Sopping crabby fries are a Maryland mainstay, yes, but we often finish the snack and wonder if we actually got any real crab in their creamy topping. Problem solved with the Chesapeake fries at Lee’s; they figured they would spare us all the wondering and simply put an entire crab cake on top of their generous stack of fries. The crab cake isn’t your run of the mill, baseball-sized offering, but what it lacks in girth it makes up for in its pan-fried, crispy crust. Fries are hand-cut (get them without toppings and you can really taste the truffle salt) and the meal is topped with a drizzle: a lighter ode to crab dip’s creaminess.
3. A saucy stack of brisket
Bite into the Behemoth Italian brisket sandwich at Lee’s and you’ll know chef Mark Suliga does right by much more than seafood. The brisket in the sandwich passes the juiciness test. It’s also framed by thoughtful ingredients: Asiago cheese, cherry peppers (for a bit of heat), and roasted red pepper mayo.
4. Lobster dinner… without the sticker shock
We’re calling it now: the Lee’s Lobster Supper offered by Lee’s Pint and Shell on Sundays from 5 to 9 p.m. will become an instant neighborhood favorite. In a town that’s saturated with crab, it’s refreshing to try lobster in its rawest form. It’s even more refreshing when 1.5 pounds of grilled lobster, dipping butter, and two sides costs $14.95. The lobster comes served in the shell, so you get a slightly different though shorter picking experience. Sides may change, but included a mug-full of mashed potatoes and corn on the night we tried it. Word of caution on the lobster dinner: sometimes they run out by 7 p.m.