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Restaurant Review: Turps

January 7, 2013

If Turps were located in sports-bar heavy areas such as Federal Hill, Fells Point or Canton, it probably wouldn't last, mainly because it just doesn't have the unique qualities that separates, say, a Mother's Federal Hill Grille or a Slainte Irish Pub.

But given that there's little to no competition in the artsy Mount Vernon area, Turps seems to be doing OK. And, quite honestly, it does fill a need for folks who need their football fix on that side of town.

Indeed, Turps hangs it hat on the viewing experience, which, like many a chain sports bar, works just fine. Between the ample sports memorabilia adorning the walls -- think Applebee's -- there's a smattering of high-definition flat screens, along with a large projection screen at the front, giving patrons plenty of options and angles.

The atmosphere was rather blasé when this critic stopped by, but The Food Fan has heard that Turps can get a little rowdy on game day. OK, so Turps gets a pass on presentation; but the main concerns here are the food and service.

The menu is extensive and includes pretty much every type of American fare imaginable, but if there's one thing The Food Fan doesn't appreciate when he's hungry, it's slow waiters. If there's another thing The Food Fan doesn't appreciate, regardless of appetite, it's slow waiters who get the order wrong.

Now, The Food Fan can understand if the place is packed, but on this random evening, there were only a few other customers. Although the server wasn't exactly rude, she seemed rather nonchalant about taking our order. Then, when the cheese steak came out with hot peppers after The Food Fan said he didn't want any, and when fries were served even though tater tots were requested, well, this was one unhappy Fan.

Now, yours truly only offered a mild complaint, mainly because he was just too darn hungry to wait another 25 minutes (yes, it took that long for a cheese steak) for another hoagie. But that cheese steak tasted just a bit better than the frozen Steak-Ums you can fry up at home. It wasn't terrible, but not necessarily memorable, either.

As for the beer, it's a fairly standard selection of domestics and imports, but most of it wasn't on tap. Isn't that supposed to be a staple of most sports bars? Well, at least Turps wasn't overly expensive. I guess The Food Fan got what he paid for.

The Box Score
Beer and Burgers or Cocktails and Cuisine? Beer and Burgers *  *  
Rowdy or Relaxed? Rowdy *  * 
Conversational or Quiet? Quiet * 1/2 
Pregame, Postgame or In-game? In-game