Restaurant Review: The Hideaway, Odenton
Nov 14, 2016 04:50PM ● Published by Arden Haley
1439 Odenton Road, Odenton.
410-874-7300. Open Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.- midnight, Fri-Sat until 2 a.m. Sun Brunch 10 a.m.-noon.
Major credit cards accepted.
Smokin’ GoodTake your GPS with you when heading to this obscurely located barbecue haven off the beaten track in Odenton. And starve yourself first, the better to enjoy the major meat festival that owner Bob Krohn puts on every day. Krohn, an electrical engineer, opened The Hideaway after overseeing the total renovation of this former crab house, a storied crab establishment run by a gregarious gent named Jim Keeney from the mid-1970s until his death in 2000—after which a succession of owners let it go to seed.
Krohn, who first ate crabs at Jim’s place in its heyday 35 years ago, was looking for a place to open a restaurant when he stumbled upon the old hangout and found it was up for sale. Fast- forward after he bought and renovated the property to what it looks like today. The pebbled driveway leads to an asymmetrical structure with two outdoor terraces and three dining rooms that can seat up to 250.
Yet, The Hideaway has a homestyle feel about it—from the building itself to the fresh-faced staff (who seem sincerely dedicated to the diners’ pleasure) to Kohn himself, whose favorite part of his job is table-hopping. “I like to talk to my customers—find out what they like and what they don’t,” he says. He is proud of his two smokers that can hold 600 pounds of meat, the pecan wood he orders from Georgia, and the personalized “twists” that he says distinguish his menu from other barbecue places. Kohn is the self-described “meat man,” who leaves the cooking to executive chef Jason Hall.
Meat—and lots of it—is the name of the game here. This is an American barbecue bonanza specializing in slow-cooked (12 hours) Texas beef brisket, smoked corned beef, Memphis-style pulled pork, St. Louis ribs (five hours), and chicken, flash-fried after a three-hour smoke bath. Krohn favors smoking over pecan wood because this method imparts a gentler flavor to the food—not harsh, as can be the case with hickory and oak. To learn the art of smoking, he spent a week at the home of barbecue master Myron Mixen in Georgia, one of ten people—all foodies—in the class.
“Folks don’t come here for the salads,” smiled Cara, the wholesome-looking gal who took care to mention favorite dishes and describe some of the menu items. Hideaway is what could be called “a guy place,” the portions are huge and the 10 TVs are tuned to sports channels. This also makes it a good family place: Dad’s happy and a children’s menu with one side and a drink is a bargain at $3.99.
Hideaway’s welcome begins with lemon-spiked ice water in chilled Mason jars. From there you may choose from a selection of 39 craft beers, 41 brands of bourbon, eight, small-batch Scotches, a limited wine list, and cocktails that include a Smoked Manhattan or a glass of Hideaway Punch, a mild mix of fruit juices and rum.
But we came to eat, eager to taste what makes Hideaway’s style special. We started with the Chesapeake Bay Crab dip, a blend of three cheeses and flecks of crab served bubbling with a crown of crab lumps and a thinly-sliced baguette; a bit salty, yet thoroughly enjoyed by our group. The Hideaway Sampler ($23.99) is a good choice for the hungry diner who wants some ribs, brisket, pork, and chicken wings on the same platter. Be aware that Kohn uses a “secret” dry rub when smoking—no sauce. Thus, a six-pack of sauces reside on each table and contained plastic squeeze bottles of his homemade sauces—inviting the diner to daub the plate with a taste of each and apply the favorites accordingly.
We played the game with varying results—and in some cases decided that sauce-less was best if you really want to appreciate the mild smokiness of the pecan wood. I learned in a post-visit phone call that the sauces included a bourbon molasses mix, a blueberry and chipotle blend, a tomato-based version of the most common barbecue sauce, and a fruity pomegranate surprise. When I mentioned the mystery of the unmarked containers, Kohn claimed that was “part of the fun.”
Long hours in the smoker can dry out the product, but not here. Every item was moist, tender, and flavorful. Two generous side dishes come with each entry. We liked the bacon-flecked collard greens and the tender roasted Brussels sprouts as partners for the sampler—in portions big enough to share. Our server was so convincing about the need to try Hideaway’s Fatty Melt ($10.99)—a six-ounce burger blend of brisket, chuck, and short ribs, sautéed onions and house-made bacon cradled between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Appropriately named “a messterpiece,” it was yet another “twist” that keeps customers coming back.
A fine brioche roll distinguished the restaurant’s signature pulled pork sandwich, piled high with crunchy coleslaw ($9.99) that provided the contrast of crunch to tender meat. Something you’re not likely to find elsewhere is Hideaway’s chicken—a half-bird brined, dry-rubbed, and smoked for three hours before a quick flash in the fryer ($12.99). Savory and moist, with no breading to interfere with the smoky skin, it was full of flavor.
Our visit ended on a high note with a serving of homemade coconut ice cream studded with macadamia nuts—the best ice cream we ever had. Krohn is not only the meat man—he makes all the ice cream, using the finest flavorings he can find. That same ice cream makes the restaurant’s milkshakes (spiked or plain) big sellers—especially the mocha version. Desserts made by Baltimore baker Lisa Sasscera include a variety of cheesecakes and pies and are displayed diner-style in a glass case. We tried her deep dish apple pie with caramel sauce and gave it a 10.
It seems that everyone associated with The Hideaway—from owner to chef to staff—are determined to make their restaurant a barbecue-lover’s destination. They are doing a good job. One of my review companions gave it his highest praise: “If I lived in Odenton, I’d be here every day.”