Later in the meal, our glasses of pinot noir took surprisingly long to arrive. At that point, we'd seen several servers, so we weren't sure whom to ask about the status of our drinks.

Both problems were rectified immediately. The Sam Adams was quickly swapped out for the stout, and the wine arrived with apologies (and no charge). As a result, they felt like blips in otherwise top-notch service.

After dinner, we lingered over coffee and warm bread pudding ($7.50) studded with blackberries and served with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

Many restaurants make bread pudding in house. It's often quite good, but some restaurants make the mistake of reheating the pudding in the microwave, resulting in a dessert that is boiling hot in some spots but cold in others. Baldwin's Station's was better than most simply because it was heated properly — and evenly.

Having a good time, we considered prolonging our stay with a scotch — Baldwin's Station boasts an impressive selection — in the cozy, inviting bar.

But in the end, we decided to leave the bar for another night. Maybe for the next special occasion.

Baldwin's Station

Back story: Fine-dining veteran Stewart Dearie opened Baldwin's Station in 1997 in a Sykesville railway station built in 1883.

Parking: Lot in front.

Signature dish: Short ribs, braised in apple cider until fork-tender and infused with sweet apple flavor, are served on top of chunky sweet potatoes, with a side of crisp green beans.

Where: 7618 Main St., Sykesville

Contact: 410-795-1041,

Open: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. (lunch served until 3:30) Tuesday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (brunch/lunch served until 3:30) Sunday

Credit Cards: All major

Rating: ***1/2

[Key: Superlative: *****; Excellent: ****; Very Good: ***; Good: **; Promising: *]