Inside Green Cilantro

Yesterday, I went on a bit of a pedestrian adventure, walking from Federal Hill to Canton and back. Along the way, I stopped into a couple new bars (strictly to catch my breath, you see).

The first place I hit up was Green Cilantro, the new bar which replaced the Whistling Oyster on South Broadway. It was a great spot for Sunday afternoon swilling -- the big windows at the front of the building were wide open, which made Green Cilantro look quite inviting.

Green Cilantro's owner(s) have gussied up the place a bit -- new furniture, a new paint job, etc. There aren't any beers on tap yet, but the bottle selection wasn't bad. I ordered a Magic Hat #9 ($4.75), which was, oddly enough, served in a bottle -- even though I was one of four customers in the place.

I wondered if the bartender was new at this, because I paid for the beer with a $20 bill, and she handed me back a ten, a five and a quarter. I had to ask her to break the five so I could give her a tip.

When I asked about the name, the bartender told me they've been getting a lot of friendly criticism for it. And rightfully so. It's probably one of the lamer new bar names I've come across. I like Dave's suggestion of calling it Xtreme Cilantro much better ...

Considering the place is named after a controversial herb, you'd think the owners would incorporate the place's namesake wherever possible.

If I were them, I'd put cilantro on everything that comes out of the kitchen. I'd serve wheat beers garnished with cilantro instead of orange peels. And I'd set up a cilantro cannon (similar to a confetti cannon), which I'd fire off at random inside the bar. But that's just me.

According to the bartender, the only drink that incorporated cilantro was the cilantro martini, made with Absolut Citron vodka, lime juice and (you guessed it) cilantro. It only costs $6.75, and I almost tried it then and there.

But it was 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, and I didn't want a cilantro martini to be my first drink. The bartender didn't help convince me either.

"It's an acquired taste," she said.

Rest assured, I will try it the next time I'm there.

There were a good two sips left in my beer when the bartender snatched it and asked me if I wanted another. I thanked her, politely declined and headed for my next destination: Clutch. More on that later.

(Photo by Alexander D. Mitchell IV)

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