When it opened nearly a decade ago with its high-end design and gourmet-to-go offerings, the Glasz Cafe fairly shimmered in the culinarily-challenged area around North Baltimore.
Well, Glasz is still churning out the panini on Falls Road and remains one of the chicest-looking carryouts you'll run across, with lots of contemporary metallic accents and groovy light fixtures. No little Italian chef statue in the window here, my friends.
Things have been toned down just a bit after all these years. I found, for example, no trace of the gold dust that was used on some desserts in the beginning. But Glasz is aging quite nicely, thank you.
Chicken Marbella ($11.99 a pound) was a winner, bringing together a grilled chicken breast, capers, apricots, cranberries and red grapes. Also good was a Korean noodle salad ($4), which featured a sesame-flavored dressing with thick noodles and marinated peppers and cucumbers.
The Lake Roland sandwich ($6.50) was delicious: real roasted turkey, with brie, cucumber, grilled onion and lettuce on a roll with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Slightly subpar was the grilled portobello panino ($7.50). The sandwich included thick slabs of mushroom, grilled peppers and onions and a slice of mozzarella on sunflower bread. It would have worked better with focaccia.
We were also confused by the Greek salad ($7), which included more thick slabs - this time of cucumber - with feta cheese, tangy peppers and olives, but no lettuce and no apparent dressing.
Glasz (the z is pronounced as a second syllable: Glas -- Z) also sells a wide array of coffee drinks and sinful desserts made elsewhere.
We tried three of the latter. A very good fruit tartlet ($3.75) brought together strawberries, mandarin oranges and blackberries. It wasn't Purim, but we tried the hamantaschen ($1.75), which was stuffed generously with a sweet, poppy-seed filling. Alas, it was a day or so past its prime. Finally, a thick chocolate-chip cookie ($1.50) was just fine.
One complaint: The staff was quite indifferent - a disappointment given all the attention paid to the furnishings and food.
Glasz sits at the busy intersection of Falls Road and Lake Avenue. Free parking is available in front.
Waiting area: ***
Where: 6080 Falls Road, Mount Washington
Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Salads and sandwiches from $4.25 to $10; credit cards accepted
Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *