Best Racket: Specials at Parts & Labor

2600 N. Howard St., (443) 873-8887,

Sure, we’ve enjoyed the meat-heavy menu full of sausages and not-oft-utilized cuts of pork and beef, with sides like a mellow hominy or pickled kohlrabi that are an interesting departure from more pervasive dishes around town. What have we not enjoyed? P&L’s underhanded reminder that we need to remember to ask the price when ordering “specials.” On a menu with pricing that rarely exceeds $20 for any given item, we were more than a little surprised to find that the “special” 23-ounce pork chop—without sides—rang up for a non-advertised $87. That’s $3.78 per ounce. We’re not sure what Spike Gjerde thinks the word “special” means, but the sheer arrogance of charging $87 for a pork chop without warning suggests that his vision is less farm-to-fork, more farm-to-fools—one that we won’t be revisiting any time soon.

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