DuClaw Brewing Company wasn’t ever much of interest to me; I thought it was a brew house that happened to serve “bar” food. Not being a beer drinker, I had no inkling to step inside their doors. Fast forward an email from their world traveled, world trained corporate chef who wanted to prove they are much more. Did he succeed? The answer is yes.
In fact, I’m sad that the Bel Air, Bowie and Arundel Mills locations are so far away from my home in Pikesville because this is the type of neighborhood place I would enjoy for our Friday night’s out for casual dining or lunch with the girls. Maybe, just maybe, they might consider coming into the Wegman’s project in Owings Mills.
Why all the love, well let’s start with a diverse menu. The menu is reflective the Du Claw’s Corporate Chef Gianni Leopardi and his culinary roots from Italy and on through Monte Carlo, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. His jobs in the Middle East to North Africa and eventually for the Peninsula Group in Hong Kong and Beijing and stints in Hawaii and the Bahamas, New Hampshire and his own restaurants in Sarasota, Florida all are evident in the ever changing menu at DuClaw.
I invited Chef Leopardi to sit with us while my husband and I dined. His world travels, the people he has met, and his expertise and pride in his work was compelling. When he came to DuClaw things changed, no more frozen calamari, no farm raised fish and in was the CAB Certified Angus Beef – purveyors changed. The mandate is to revise the menu every three months. It has been about two years since Chef Leopardi has come in and revamped the food beyond “bar food.” Part of the game plan was to make sure his food paired well with the numerous beers they brew.
There are many selections for everyone’s taste taking the simple wings we all know to large roaster wings marinated in Misfit Red Ale, slow smoked and tossed in your choice of Hawaiian or Sweet n’ Sour sauces, mild, hot, hotter or stupid hot buffalo sauce, Carolina BBQ, blackberry BBQ, Mango BBQ, Old Bay or jerk seasoning and served with celery sticks and bleu cheese. I went the other way with Duck Wings; fried duck wings with their Carolina BBQ sauce, which was excellent, served with the traditional celery and blue cheese.
The husband kept it simple with Tomato Basil Bruschetta more than enough for two or three people, Greek Salad and the Goat Cheese Stuffed Burger. While I, on the other hand, went a different route. As I said above, I had the Duck Wings and they were a big score. The Tuna Sashimi blew me away, sushi grade tuna with a habanero mango coulis.
We shared a beer tasting: Bare Ass Blonde Ale, Misfit Red Amber Ale, Bad Moon Porter, Sweet Baby Jesus chocolate peanut butter porter, Hellrazer IPA, Naked Fish and Hell on Wheels – after all, how could we be at DuClaw Brewing and not indulge.
It is very interesting to see Vietnamese pho on their menu. Since I have eaten pho at most the Vietnamese restaurants that serve it in Baltimore it behooved me to taste theirs. It was more an interpretation of the dish with chef’s own touches. Honestly I was pretty full by this time but ordered the crab cake slider just to see how their crab cake measured up. The fried rendition of the crab cake would satisfy one's craving.
If you are a French fry connoisseur you will enjoy their duck fat fries plain with assorted dipping sauces; vinegar aioli, white truffle aioli and harissa aioli or top it with au jus and mozzarella cheese and even add duck confit.
The international menu offers; edamame with sea salt or spicy Creole butter, Greek mezze platter, bacon wrapped stuffed Jalapenos, mini tacos, Asian bean dip, and more and this is just the appetizers. Everything we enjoyed the portions were large enough to share.
I could talk about their menu all day, so many choices that I want to go back and try. So, whether you are in the neighborhood of DuClaw Brewing or you want to make a destination restaurant I don’t think you will be disappointed. Good selection, quality product at a fair market price.
Don’t let me forget their Happy Hour Specials which times vary daily you will find discounted apps and flatbreads and specialty cocktails, drafts and wines by the glass $2 off .Tuesday it is all day.
In conclusion, would I go back? In a Baltimore minute! Would I be excited to see one around Owings Mills corridor – absolutely.(hint hint DuClaw)
DuClaw Brewing Company locations:
Arundel Mills Mall
7000 Arundel Mills Circle-Hanover MD 21076
16 A Bel Air South Parkway- Bel Air, MD 21015
Bowie Town Center
4000 Town Center Blvd, Bowie, MD 20716
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