Baltimore-inspired restaurant named Lake Trout is set to open Wednesday on Havemeyer Street in Brooklyn, N.Y. The star of the menu is an iconic Baltimore sandwich, and the walls are decorated with enlargements of 70s-era Orioles, Colts and Bullets playing cards.
Not surprisingly, one of the collaborators in the 14-seat restaurant is a native Baltimorean, Matt Lang, who has made a name for himself in the New York food world. He was the grillmaster at Fette Sau BBQ and was the winner on the Food Network's "Best of Smoke" show.
"I wanted to introduce a bit of Baltimore's culture to Brooklyn," Lang said. "And show people that those of us that leave the city have not forgotten our heritage and that we're still damn proud of the city that we came from."
Lang said he brought up the idea of a lake trout restaurant with Fette Sau owner Joe Carroll. "He was super into the idea," Lang said.
"Basically the menu is fried whiting, fried shrimp with shell on," said Lang, who wants is coating of flour and cracker meal to stay crispy, more so even than some of the Baltimore lake trout places that inspired him. There's also a crab cake, a traditional one he makes with Saltine crackers. "Up here they're awful," he said about the typical New York crab cake. "They're more like a crab patty. They're filled with diced tomatoes. They use just bread crumbs. Saltine crackers keep it moist."
Lang grew up off on Edmonson Avenue before his family moved out to Ellicott City. After college, he moved to Canton and worked at Soundgarden in Fells Point.
If Lake Trout turns into a hangout for expatriate Baltimoreans living in Brooklyn, Lang said he won't be surprised. "There's been at least about 30 (former Baltimoreans) who have stopped by. A bunch of kids who just moved in here."
Although he was a baseball card collector, Lang bought the baseball cards for Lake Trout more recently. "All of my baseball cards from the early 90s, so I bought lots of Orioles cards. They're super cheap. Randomly in the stack of cards was my old (Loyola) high coach. So, if you stop in Lake Trout, make sure you look for Tim Nordbrook.
Next up, for Brooklyn, Lang said -- pit beef.