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“Holidays Are a True Test for New Dining Experiences” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Baldwin's Station

Baldwin's Station
Ranked #7 of 45 Restaurants in Sykesville
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Families with children, Romantic, Bar scene, Large groups
Dining options: Brunch, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Private Dining, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Annapolis, MD
Level Contributor
39 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Holidays Are a True Test for New Dining Experiences”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 1, 2012

Reservations were made for five o'clock for our party of four for Thanksgiving at Baldwin's Station, Sykesville, Maryland. The historical significance is that the restaurant occupies what once was the train station of this community about twenty seven miles west of downtown Baltimore. The trains still run past, but haven’t stopped here for a long time.

It is not a large place, as buildings didn’t need to be in the 19th century, but has a full bar at the entrance. We had ample time to take in the historic ambiance of this area since seating in the dining room did not take place until about forty minutes past our five o’clock reservation. Although totally swamped, the single bartender was most efficient and worthy of her task at hand.

This was our very first Thanksgiving holiday outside the home or family environs and we were primed for an above average experience.

Given the historic nature of the building I was quite taken back with the lighting of the main dining room. Have you heard the term “deer in the headlights”? That’s what we felt like having all the lighting provided by what appeared to be spotlights from the high center of the raised ceiling, almost giving an ominous glare to all it took in.

Our server, as well as all of the staff, was extremely courteous and informed and added positively to the experience. Our experimenter in the foursome decided to try the Fried Chicken Terrine, savory herb waffle, braised kale, raspberry coulis appetizer while some of us had only the House Mesclun Salad. It was obvious immediately that this appetizer was actually a small plate. The chicken was quite moist, having been chopped and formed, and shaped like a brick. The salads indeed were field greens, but had very little of the prescribed accompaniment. They had an oil based and minimally flavored vinaigrette dressing.

Having passed on lunch in great expectations, three of us chose the top selection from the shortened holiday menu. It was listed as a Beef Tenderloin Stuffed with Lobster, "lobster knuckle and claw meat”. The last member of our party selected Pumpkin Ravioli. I tend to avoid preparing the tenderloin at home as restaurants with their flare for sauces or bacon wrapped aptly deal with a very tender and low fat cut of beef. Picture a two to three inch high and half inch thick slice of the large end of tenderloin that is wrapped around the pocket of lobster stuffing. And then imagine preparing it to an even doneness such as medium rare. Quite a challenge and not one that was fully mastered, more of a strategical failure than performance, especially with the limited lobster portion enclosed. Although deliciously sauced and flavored it missed the expectation for the price point..

Our lone ravioli diner thought her dish overbuttered. But that may have been relative as others sampling it found it acceptable. Although appropriate given the time of year, the dish was not one I would order given the combination of pumpkin and ravioli.

Holidays are sometimes hit or miss for the restaurant industry. We selected this particular place because of some good reviews and hoped for ambiance in the country location. It does have a fine kitchen that may have been a bit pushed given the crowd served this holiday. But for a more reasonable price we will settle for someplace closer to home next time without the “historic” effect and expectations to match the price level.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Joe S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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180 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    65
    55
    37
    20
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Elders
Level Contributor
40 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Fantastic Thanksgiving Dinner”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 22, 2012

I think the title says it all but I will go into a little more detail.
First, Baldwin Station in Sykesville, MD is a restored/converted railroad station. It has a bar as you enter and then the dining splits into three different areas. The main dining room is really spacious with high, vaulted ceilings. The "platform" section is open to the elements during the summer but today it had a transparent plastic curtain up to keep away the breeze.
The wait staff was right on the money and I didn't wait for a second for a drink (diet soda). Then came freshly baked dark and light bread rolls which were delish with some slightly sweet butter. I ordered the House Mesclun salad which had greens, cucumbers, carrots, onions, candied walnuts, yellow grape tomatoes and a wonderful toasted fennel vinaigrette. The turkey was perfect, the mashed red-skin potatoes left me wanting more and the stuffing was awesome, with dried cranberries. The cranberry sauce was great too. All in all, a Thanksgiving dinner not to be forgotten. If the rest of the menu is anything like this meal, you can't go wrong with Baldwin Station.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank John P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
295 reviews
180 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“Worth the Drive”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2012

We had been trying to get to Balwin Station for months, but due to the 45 miles separating them from us it took a while. It was worth the wait. The building has got so much character and charm you know as soon as you step into the restaurant you are in for something special. Our waitress Jamie took expert care of us without hovering or being pushy. We took our time and had the Squash Blossom appetizer, and the Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc to start. Both were excellent. We moved on to entrees of Pan Fried Chicken Thighs, and the Butternut Squash Ravioli. The chicken was as good as it gets! Perfectly seasoned, crunchy and served on a bed of very good wild and white rice. The butternut squash was boiled then pan fried for a wonderful texture paired with a great filling. We were too stuffed to try dessert, but look forward to another visit as soon our schedule allows. Thanks for a great meal.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank kjtripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Highland, Maryland
Level Contributor
31 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Fine dining in a wonderfully restored train station”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 12, 2012

No mile high gaimicky pile of food. Just superbly prepared and presented food. The menu is varied but not long and the desserts are fun and delicious. Candle light, table clothes, old photos and the train went by during our meal. I plan to return with my family.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank blair h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
58 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Pleasant experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012 via mobile

I had lunch with a group of friends. The restaurant is housed in a train station. Good food and pleasant surroundings. The service was fine although 2 orders were slightly wrong. I would love to visit again in nice weather so I can walk around the area.

    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank zsrollins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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