Fire, Smoke & Homemade Ice Cream!
Mar 01, 2018 07:00AM ● Published by Brian Saucedo
Gallery: The Hideaway [4 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Rita Calvert
Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr
Bob Krohn is the master of the pile of pecan logs stacked at the back of the tucked away restaurant, while being front and center for the finger-licking smoked foods at The Hideaway in Odenton.
Formerly Jim’s Hideaway, crowds from Annapolis and Baltimore supported the crab house restaurant for more than three decades. It’s now wearing a new hat as a no frills smokehouse with a welcoming attitude. In 2015, Krohn (formerly of Annapolis Smokehouse & Tavern) along with co-owners Danny and Diane Reugg, purchased the old institution and spent about a year converting it to a friendly neighborhood sports bar with an emphasis on smoked Q, game-style grub, stellar drinks, and homemade ice cream. Smoked foods and ice cream are Krohn’s forte. The meats are low and slow smoked for twelve hours, while he guards his frozen specialties and creates them without a recipe, giving in to the whim of the day.
For our first visit, we had to guess on the main entrance and chose the walkway with the much-larger-than-life colorful chicken as the front door host. We entered a voluminous low-lit room with large heavy wrought iron chandeliers giving a rustic statement to the space. A few corrugated metal walls carried out the casual country feel, as did the dark booths and tables. The cement floor was one of the only elements retained from the original restaurant and it works. A few gigantic paintings of cows, whimsically pulled the country look together. I loved that the craft paper placemats were stamped (in house) with a black piggy caricature.
Our friendly waiter, Greg, got top marks for his knowledge on just about everything, or his willingness to find answers to our questions. Ice cream milkshakes were intriguing as well as the alcoholic root beer float. Who would order those and for what reason, we wondered? Greg explained that both men and women order the icy concoctions, often when kids are along for the meal...a little bit of undercover indulgence? Of course, beer is the way to go with smoked foods and Greg told us about the four artisan beers on tap for which they are known. He also mentioned the very popular crushes, of which there were five choices made with fresh squeezed juices year-round. In summer, you will often find watermelon or strawberry in the offerings.
We went with the local Heavy Seas Loose Canon IPA, which turns out to be the Maryland company’s flagship beer with notes of grapefruit, herbs, and pine. The hoppiness was appreciated as with all IPA beers.
Think of the food at The Hideaway as totally sinful dishes with a whisper of smoke pervading just about everything. For many of the dishes, grand is the size and we saw quite a few doggie bags waiting to be carried home. To start out our meal we just had to test the award-wining wings, which are first smoked then flash-fried. Note to diners: the house favorites are shown on the menu within a red outline. It is advised to order the wings naked as four complimentary sauces live in the tabletop beer carriers--free of charge. Although “boned” wings are newly available, we couldn’t imagine they could compare to the fun of gnawing off the bone, so we went with traditional and were happy with the choice.
Next, we couldn’t resist sharing the smoky queso—“Knocked Up.” (Yes, that is the name.) The smoke came from the excellent pulled pork riding the mound of crisp tortilla chips. Pale orange cheese sauce was blanketed across the affair while fresh jalapeno slices kicked up the heat for a dish meant to serve more than one!
It’s a good thing we asked the kitchen to split our Feel the Beet (salad). Each portion was huge, sporting lots of curly endive lettuce. Multi-colored beets and fresh orange slices sat atop the greens along with an outstanding creamy goat cheese and small chunks of candied pecans. House-made dressings are served on the side and our choice, champagne-bacon, was excellent.
Smoked pulled chicken was enticing because I know chicken absorbs all of that smoke beautifully, but since we had the wings, we opted for The Ultimate--low-and-slow pecan-smoked “Q”—pulled pork on a brioche bun with their number one truffle French fries as the side. The crispy textured fries were award-winning and I was curious to learn the process. Greg explained the fries are cut in-house, beer-battered, fried twice, then doused with a coating of parmesan cheese and truffle oil as they emerge piping hot from the fryer.
Off-the-Hook-Whisky Salmon drew my eye as one the few seafood offerings. The entree would also enable us to try two of the very popular sides. A six-ounce salmon filet was beautifully mahogany on the exterior and quite firm. I learned that the salmon smokes for just about 12 minutes. I would have increased the time to pick up more smoky essence. A light whisky soy sauce was pooled over the fish. The freshly cooked Brussel sprouts were delicious with crumbled bacon, goat cheese, and candied pecans. Our second side of collard greens were slightly sweet and vinegary.
Just to entertain ourselves, we read more of the cleverly-worded menu. Evil Weiners (Vienna premium beef hot dogs) gave us a laugh along with names like The Siberian Husky--sauerkraut and brown mustard and The Naughty Dog--just a naked tasty dog!
Kudos to Krohn for the homemade Hazelnut chocolate ice cream, which was silky, creamy, and sublime. It looked to be modeling for a photo as two scoops of pale tan ice cream swirled with chunks of Hershey’s Kisses overflowed over the sides of the mason jar “dish.”
Although definitely a neighborhood spot, visitors feel completely welcome. There is always a lineup of food specials and casual entertaining events happening at the Hideaway. From the scrumptious” burnt ends” (available Monday, Thursday, and Saturday) to “Rising Star Karaoke,” (you get the picture), it’s a lively spot even if hidden away.
1439 Odenton Road, Odenton
Rita Calvert has close to three decades in the food, media production, marketing, and public relations fields. She has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television for corporations, the stage for cookbooks, and founded the original Annapolis School of Cooking.