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The LVH offers some of Baltimore’s best mac 'n cheese, and that’s just the beginning | REVIEW

When mac 'n cheese cravings strike and only the best will do, Baltimoreans would do well to drive to The LVH, formerly the Lauraville House, from Taste This owners Craig Curbean and Dante Davis. With Taste This outposts in Charles Village and another on Harford Road a few blocks away, the full-service LVH makes the third restaurant for the duo, who hail from East Baltimore and met while catering events around the city.

The perfectly buttery mac ‘n cheese that’s become their trademark is from a recipe made by Davis’ South Carolinian grandmother. “Everything we do, everybody always asks for the mac ‘n cheese,” said Curbean with a laugh. “If you don’t get anything else good from us, trust me: The mac ‘n cheese will be good.”

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Yes, their mac 'n cheese, shamelessly rich and wonderfully textured, is fantastic. With mac 'n cheese this good, there’s no need for insecure frills like truffle shavings or a crumb topping — though you can add fried lobster. But there’s plenty of other good stuff on the menu, too. The restaurant offers on point soul food with just the right amount of jazz.

First impressions: After taking over the white Harford Road building, Curbean and Davis decided to keep many of the fixtures from the Lauraville House intact. “We kind of just modernized it,” said Curbean. Inside, the vibe is contemporary and minimalist. An upstairs lounge offers live entertainment like jazz on Saturday nights and Thursday night karaoke. Dress up or dress down, all are welcome, Curbean said.

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Must tries: In addition to mac ‘n cheese, the menu offers a wide selection of chicken dishes, including $18 wings slathered in honey Hennessy sauce or BBQ pineapple Ciroc. Nibbling on my appetizer of buffalo chicken wings, I made a mental note to nominate the restaurant for The Sun’s next wings showdown. Juicy and perfectly seasoned, they easily rank as some of the tastiest I’ve had. (And I’ve had a lot of wings lately).

Special touches: You’re safe from bland food here. My well portioned salmon entree ($22) was marinated in a marvelous Cajun spice assortment Curbean and Davis bring up from Atlanta. Expertly grilled, it was plated with an aioli that gave a nice balance to the heat of the dish. My dining companion wolfed down an order of lamb chops ($30), which were beautifully presented on a heaping helping of mashed potatoes and came with a side of asparagus. I also enjoyed a side of sweet potatoes, seasoned with nutmeg that made me nostalgic for the holidays. There are plans to add more items to the menu, as well as lunch daily and brunch on weekends.

Pro tip: A hilariously named dessert called “the big ass Reese’s” ($10) wasn’t available during our visit. At the time, I figured it was divine providence saving me from overindulging even more than I already had. If you are determined to try it, your best bet is to order it on the weekends, Curbean said. Let me know how it is.

Bottom line: Curbean, who grew up on North Ave., said in his youth, kitchens were an escape from the problems of the neighborhood where he lived. At The LVH, Baltimore diners can find their own refuge from life’s stress: and of course, some of the best mac ‘n cheese you’ll ever try. For their part, neighbors seem to be loving The LVH, one of the newest spots in Hamilton-Lauraville’s burgeoning dining scene. “The neighborhood has been amazing,” said Curbean. “We’re becoming the Hampden of Harford Road.”

IF YOU GO

4528 Harford Road, Lauraville. (667) 260-4945. tastethisbaltimore.com. Serves dinner daily; Closed Monday.

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