Update – By Degrees is now closed.
One of my favorite lunch places recently is By Degrees Cafe in Harbor East. It is located in what used to be a warehouse. The building looks beautiful now with its high ceilings and large glass windows. According to the restaurant’s website, the cafe wants to shift the culinary landscape ‘by a few degrees’ and that is apparent when you take a look at their menu. The soups, sandwiches and salads are all a little different than what you would expect to find at a standard American cafe, and this is a great thing. Everything on the menu is executed very well and is delicious.
When you walk inside, there is a chalkboard listing all of the current menu options and it looks very urban chic. During this particular visit it was around 2pm on a Monday so we were the only patrons.
Our waitress was very attentive and kept refilling our water glasses and helped us with any questions we had about the menu. One of my friends ordered the Curried Chicken Salad for her meal. It was lightly curried chicken salad, golden raisins, roasted almonds, granny smith apples, frisee and cilantro, on honey-oat bread. She loved it, said it was a fun take on something that is very boring at most restaurants.
My other friend ordered the Grilled Cheese, and I kid you not, this was the cheesiest grilled cheese I have ever seen. Cheddar & fontina cheese, dried apricots, and almonds on honey wheat bread make for a delicious combination. There was cheese everywhere.
The grilled cheese came with a side of their skin on fries. They were very good, not too thin where you were just eating fried bits, and not too thick where you’re choking on a large hunk of potato.
For my sandwich, I ordered the Braised Brisket. It was braised beef brisket, red pepper & horseradish aioli, fried shallots, and frisee on a baguette. The beef was nice and tender and paired nicely with the toppings. Also the baguette was thick enough that it soaked up any of the additional sauce. This was a filling sandwich, but also one of my favorites. It came with a side salad which was good, but nothing really special about it.
Great food, attentive service, what more could you want in a restaurant? Oh right, free parking, which they also offer, by the way. There’s a lot adjacent to the restaurant where patrons can park.
I did find it a little strange that the sandwiches came wrapped in paper, but it didn’t affect the quality of the food.
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Looking for a place to eat? Check out Rachel’s Baltimore Restaurant List.