A visit to R. House is a feast for the senses. Or maybe it's just a delicious feast.
With nine food stalls, a bar and a pop-up restaurant, the lively Remington food hall offers plenty of options to satisfy your palate in the former auto garage.
We spent several days wandering around the 50,000-square-foot space, sampling a variety of offerings and looking for the best dishes at each of the 10 stands. The dining counters are spread around the perimeter of the space, similar to a mall food court.
My husband, teenage stepson and I chose a divide-and-conquer approach, spreading out and ordering from different places. We claimed one of the many communal tables and booths that seat 350 diners as our gathering spot. There are brightly colored kid-size tables, too.
Our plan worked well, with each of us showing up at the table with food usually within minutes of each other, although some stalls took longer than others. When you're ordering, check out the portions. A lot of dishes can be shared.
Servers from R. Bar make the rounds with drink menus, so you don't have to stand in line for alcoholic beverages. (For more on the bar, click here.) Several stands also sell drinks, including soda, iced tea and juices.
We were impressed with the smorgasbord of cuisines during our visits. Here are our favorite eats.
Mexican bowls and tacos; 443-681-1902, amanotaco.com.
There are so many ways to customize the bowls here. You start by picking a meat or vegetable and a salsa to add to a base combination of tomato rice, black beans, cabbage, sauteed corn, piquant cotija cheese, pickled white onions and radishes. We were pleased with our spicy shrimp (camarones morita) and chipotle crema mix ($11), made with ingredients that were remarkably fresh. We couldn't resist doctoring it with guacamole for an extra $2.50. We also savored the flavorful chorizo soft tacos ($4 each), dressed with cilantro and onions.
Middle Eastern; 443-681-1904, arbabaltimore.com
ARBA is another mix-and-match menu. For instance, you pick a main component like a lamburger or cage-free chicken kabobs and select how you would like it served. We chose the scrumptious, locally sourced beef shawarma ($8.50) wrapped in pita, and Farid's falafel ($6.50) paired with quinoa (an extra $1). Both were really good. We were glad we added a side of hot eggplant fries ($5).
Korean barbecue; 443-347-3570
Choices abound at BeBim. We started with delectable bronze bundles of mandu (Korean dumplings) stuffed with shrimp ($7), followed by another make-your-own bowl. We focused on the succulent, tangy chicken barbecue ($11.50) and added white rice and an array of toppings — including spinach, green onions, broccoli and cabbage kimchi — which sit temptingly in stainless-steel containers behind the counter. The big decision is what kind of sauce to pick. You won't go wrong with the sweet-and-spicy gochujang sauce, a traditional Korean red-pepper paste.
Blk//Sugar & Little Baby's Ice Cream
Sweets; Blk//Sugar: (pronounced "black sugar"), 443-681-1909, blksugar.co; Little Baby's Ice Cream: 267-687-8567 (main office), littlebabysicecream.com
This tiny space — a collaboration between baker Krystal Mack and ice cream maker Pete Angevine — delivers a wallop of flavor. The ice creams are magnificent, and we like that you can get a baby scoop for $3. You won't feel guilty dipping into several flavors, like the sensuous vanilla cardamom, savory Maryland barbecue (an incredible reproduction) and nondairy chocolate salt malt. Also save room for the baked goods. If nothing else, try the airy, delightful macarons ($3 each). On one of our visits, pistachio, caramel and birthday cake with sprinkles were good choices.
Fried chicken sandwiches and wings; 443-681-1905, eatbrd.com
BRD, which is pronounced "bird" and stands for "baked, roasted and deep-fried," is a must during a visit to R. House. The sandwiches are made with succulent thigh meat that is crispy-fried. We quickly succumbed to the Bmore BRD ($9), featuring locally made pickles and a zingy barbecue sauce enhanced with Old Bay. The wings, served with blue cheese sauce, are equally good. You can get five or 10 pieces ($8-$13); we opted for the lesser amount of the juicy Alabama white wings, and quickly polished them off.
Ground & Griddled
Coffee and egg dishes; 443-681-1901, gandgbmore.com
Early risers will appreciate Ground & Griddled's creative breakfast fare, which it serves until early afternoon. People line up for the breakfast sandwiches and the excellent Stumptown coffee, including lattes ($4 and $5) with decorative foamy art in big china cups. While we devoured our spicy garden scramble ($9) with chili-roasted broccoli, jalapenos, tomato, onions and mint, we will go back for the "flying solo" smashed avo and paprika fried egg ($7) — an open-faced sandwich with avocado, sizzling egg, baby arugula, olive oil, hot sauce, chili flakes, sea salt and chives.
Poke and sushi; 443-347-3570, search "Hilo Poke & Sushi" on Facebook
You can get fresh sushi and a variety of sushi burritos here, but the poke (pronounced POH-keh) bowls are what's really worth sampling. The Hawaiian dish, Hilo's signature offering, features seasoned raw-fish cubes — think tuna tartare. We appreciated the Hawaiian classic poke bowl ($13.95), a brightly colored conglomerate of ahi tuna marinated in soy sauce and lime juice, served with red onions, cucumbers, green onions, pineapple, edamame, crispy shallots and furikake (a Japanese condiment made with seaweed). Add this to your list of must-haves.
Vegetarian and vegan; 443-681-1911, stall11baltimore.co
Carnivores need not be afraid. There is plenty to like at Stall 11, a perky stand with green plants and bunches of bananas decorating the spot. There are fresh-pressed juices and blended smoothies like the Raven ($8) — made with beet root, berries, banana, yogurt and almond milk — that are heavenly. You can get munchies, but we headed straight for the giant funghi Philly ($12) on a crusty roll. It's a bountiful sandwich stuffed with shiitake and cremini mushrooms, caramelized onions, sweet peppers and cashew whiz (yes: whiz). Grab extra napkins for this juicy goodness.
Venezuelan, arepas; 443-681-1906, weeatarepas.com
The names of the arepas (buns traditionally made with cornmeal and filled with a variety of ingredients) are as fun as the food. You won't go wrong with our favorite, the Literate Pig ($8), a divine sandwich with hunks of roasted pork leg, lime mayonnaise, tomato and arugula. The Paint It Black ($9) will entice you, too, with its tender shreds of caramelized beef short rib, spiced plantain puree, tostones (plantain slices) and pickled green papaya. You'll also find arepas featuring dough made with beets, pork cracklings and blood sausage at White Envelope. We washed everything down with a sprightly drink called tizana ($3), a perfumed fruit punch with red berries, hibiscus and kiwi.
Pop-up for March: Prescription Chicken
Chicken soup; prescriptionchicken.com
One stall at R. House will showcase a revolving lineup of talented chefs and their concepts. Washington-based Prescription Chicken was leaving its mark this month with its soul-warming chicken soup. We savored a small "bipartisan" bowl ($7) with lots of white chicken, noodles, carrots coins and matzo balls in a soothing, feel-good broth. There is also a gluten-free version. Prescription Chicken founders Valerie Zweig and Taryn Pellicone call their soup "liquid gold." We have to agree.
R. House is located at 301 W. 29th St., Remington. Lunch and dinner service at most stalls runs 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Ground & Griddled is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with the griddle open until 2 p.m. Stall 11 opens at 10 a.m; juices and smoothies are available in the morning with other menu items available at 11:30 a.m. 443-347-3570, r.housebaltimore.com.