Restaurant Review: The Black Kettle and Nova Europa

Jasmine Hubbard, Staff Writer

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Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

The Black Kettle

We had a choice between tea and coffee.

Lobster Bisque

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Sandwich on Garden Herb Bread with Duck Fat Fries

French Bourbon Onion Soup

On a peaceful sunny day in Catonsville, Maryland my mum and I strolled into “The Black Kettle,” a tiny mom-and-pop style restaurant but, to our surprise, we were graced with stunning decor. Rose vines and Christmas lights draped the ceiling, on the walls hung European artwork and warmly lit lanterns, above our table dangled a sparkling chandelier, and at each table stood a black and white striped cushioned chair with a red throw pillow to rest your back.

The server allowed us to pick our seats since we were the restaurant’s only customers. We chose a window seat next to the bay window that overlooked the bustling streets of Frederick Road. Unfortunately, they didn’t serve my favorite drinks–apple juice and lemonade– so I took a water instead, as did my mum.

When it came  time to order, my mum requested the grilled chicken and avocado sandwich on garden herb bread with duck fat fries and French bourbon onion soup. I wasn’t as hungry as my mum so I ordered the lobster bisque with a grilled chicken caesar salad.  

Approximately 15 minutes later, the server strode back to our table with steaming hot bowls of soup. Inhaling the warm smells of lobster and onions wafting our noses, we dipped our spoons into the soup to take our first bite. I swished the flavors around in my mouth as the soup warmed my insides. Creamy lobster and smooth melted cheese danced inside my mouth.

Once we were done, the server brought out our sides: the sandwich for my mum and the salad for me. The plating was phenomenal! Stabbing my fork into the crisp lettuce leaves, I chomped down on a bit of salad. Tangy caesar dressing tingled my taste buds. My mum gave me a bit of her sandwich, and I must admit it was delicious. The creamy smooth avocado, mixed with charcoal flavored grilled chicken balanced out the crisp garden herb bread. It was delightful.

I would definitely recommend the fries, they were nicely salted, warm, and had a slight crunch to them. It was a 10-out-of-10 restaurant, so you can most certainly, without a doubt, find me going back for more. A few other people did end up stopping by to eat there, but they were peaceful and polite, so I could barely even notice them, which I loved.  

Approximately a week later on a chilly, damp evening before prom, my boyfriend and our friends pranced into Nova Europa, an Italian restaurant located on Lamberton Drive in the Kemp Mill Shopping Plaza.

Lucky for us, we went in the nick of time to enjoy the chef’s special: an appetizer, meal, drink, dessert, and your choice of coffee or tea for only $20 per person.

The venue had an elegant, old-timey charm that was truly splendid. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling, lanterns strung from the walls, at each table sat a tan leather chair, and on the table there were sparkling silverware and glasses. Truly breathtaking, as it should be, on a special night such as this.

When it came  time to order, our server was so sweet; he complimented us on how gorgeous and lovely we all looked. I smiled politely, thanking the man, before ordering my food. I ordered Tilapia with Portuguese sauce, French onion soup, and a Shirley Temple.

To pass time, the server brought over some hot rolls and butter. Crunching down on the sweet flakey rolls, I savored the taste and swished around some of my Shirley Temple in my mouth. The bubbly strawberry flavor stung my nose, causing me to laugh.

As we waited for our food to come, we casually talked and laughed, and then suddenly this elderly couple was leaning over our table.“Excuse me, miss,” the elderly lady politely interjected, “I just wanted to tell you ladies how gorgeous you both look.” She paused and then turned the boys. “Oh, and handsome gentlemen too.” She strode towards me and said, “We thought you were a bride, but I told my husband that you were too young to be a bride. That’s when we saw your tiara and realized that you all were going to prom. We just wanted to tell you guys to have fun. It’s such a special night.”
The woman then began talking about her daughters going to prom and how much fun they had. Finally, when she had finished her story, we thanked her and her husband. We were all so bashful.

Around that time, our appetizers had arrived. Steaming bowls of French onion soup and oysters sent a delightful aroma to our noses. My boyfriend and I slowly dipped our spoons into the soup and simultaneously took our first bite together. Shutting our eyes we exhaled, relaxing back into our seats.

“Is it good?” Johnny asked me.

“Mhm, so good,” I said as I licked my lips and was about to dive in for more when he stopped me and told me to taste not eat.  

Slowly I went in for another bite; the rich mozzarella cheese, creamy beef broth, and sweet onions enriched my taste buds with a punch of flavor.

Before everyone had finished their appetizers, our entrees arrived. Steaming hot plates arose with a pleasant scent of herbs and spices. Puncturing my fork into my fish, I raised my fork to my mouth and then relished in the sweet flaky fish and rich tomato sauce. Devouring it in minutes before anyone else could finish, Johnny pretended to scold me for eating too fast. I didn’t care; it was too scrumptious to eat slowly.

Finally, it was time for dessert; my favorite part! I ordered the raspberry cheesecake with a coffee. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a cheesecake as sensational as the one from Nova Europa. The creamy, gooey, raspberry sauce mixed with the warm, heavenly, rich cheesecake complimented the dark, pungent coffee, leaving your mouth bittersweet and your tummy satisfied.

Needless to say, we all left with smiles on our faces and will surely be going back for more in the near future.

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