new restaurant every month for a year.....
my husband and i got married in september and honeymooned in italy...after spoiling ourselves with so much fabulous food, we decided to go out for dinner every month on our anniversary to a new and exciting restaurant......it doesn't have to be fancy, or break the bank, but it has to be GOOD and it has to be in baltimore......any suggestions hounders?
abacrombie bed and breakfast...
parking...impossible. there is a lot right next door labeled abacrombie bed and breakfast, no dinner patrons allowed. so, we were late for our reservations cause we had to drive around for 30 minutes looking for parking.
then, totally empty dining room AND had reservations and we had to wait for a table. we were seated in a back room which was round with a plexiglass domed ceiling. in the middle of the room there was a very loud 6 top who were so loud that several other tables asked to be moved...we should have as well....
when we go to order, the item i ordered had been 86'd and the server didn't tell us...
mushroom soup with madeira foam...soup was too rich and foam had no flavor. neither of us finished it.
lamb with mashed potatos and parsnips. lamb cooked perfectly to rare, but that was the only winner on the plate. hubby ordered chicken, terrible...dry, bland, with wan veggies...
fantastic coffee service and a very good yule log with coffee creme anglaise....
long story short...very mediocre food, horrible service, expensive. our waitress simply left us at the end of the meal. the only redeemer was that the server that took over for her was fantastic. we will never go again!
Other posts have covered most of the places that I would suggest, but my one bit of advice would be to go to Martick's sooner rather than later, if you plan to go at all. Unlike almost any of the other places except maybe Ras Doobie's, Martick's the restaurant is *entirely* dependent on the continued well-being of Morris Martick the man, and he's getting up in years.
At the risk of sounding somewhat morbid, better to go to Martick's *now* and perhaps have many opportunities to go back, than to leave it for "later" only to find that he retires or expires before you get around to it.
I'm kicking myself for not having gone to Marconi's (just because it was such a "Baltimore institution", not necessarily because it maxed out on Chowhoundishness). The place had been around for decades, so I always thought I could do it "someday", and I always put it off. As we know, "someday", for the original Marconi's at least, will never come. I'm sure there are also people who missed out on the Hausner's experience in similar fashion.
You're in Baltimore, you like food, and Martick's is one of those places that has a long and storied history, and unlike most other restaurants, Martick's can be actuarially predicted to not last too much longer (though I'd be ecstatic if Morris proves me wrong). Get it while you can!!
Enough!!! I mean it, enough with the lecturing about Martick's. The place is a dump. The food is grossly overpriced considering the quality of ingredients and the skill of those doing the cooking.
It's really sad that such praise is still written about an establishment that can't be bothered with the the very basics of the business (e.g., clean dinnerware, properly seasoned dishes, soap in the restroom, and a chef who knows what medium rare means).
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for "authentic food" but it seems that Martick's survives (barely it seems) on sentimentality alone. It's still all about the food, right? If so, then leave Martick's to the history books, really.
The Helmand (Afghan) is fabulous
Minato, Matsuri, Chiu's Sushi (Japanese - that last one isn't widely popular but is one of my favorites)
Dukem Ethiopian (guess)
Villeggia's, Sabatino's, Da Mimmo's, Aldo's, Chiapparelli's (Italian - wow, that's like half of Little Italy!)
Carlyle Club (Lebanese - very "schee-schee")
Mughal Garden (Indian)
Tir Na Nog (Irish - I know it's in the Harbor, but I like the atmosphere there)
Little Havana (Cuban - a BAR, but if you don't mind that, the food is surprisingly tasty, and in a BAR no less!)
Thai Kitchen (again, obvious)
Tapas Teatro (tapas / Mediterranean - but very crowded so be prepared to wait)
Of course I'm missing dozens. I would've mentioned Cafe Hon, simply for the atmosphere and the friendliness of the wait staff, but I've never been THAT crazy about its food.
this month we went to brewers art...we actually met there so it was very special for us. however, my husband had never eaten there....
apps...duck confit eggroll in a scallion reduction was marvelous. fried perfectly crispy with the scallion not too overbearing
boiled mushroom, potato fritter, and hard boiled egg salad with balsalmic reduction..i thought this sounded super interesting so we got it...it was very good, my husband thought the mushrooms a bit chewy, but overall great flavor.
entrees...steak frites..med rare..how could you go wrong with that..it's the national dish of belgium..fantastic..cooked perfectly with a watercress salad on the side and brewers classic rosemary garlic divine french fries
braised beef short ribs with crock of mushroom and potato..i didn't know what i was getting myself into...i got a flinstone sized bone with an extremely large hunk of meat falling off of it and a french onion soup crock full of creamy goodness..the meat was superb. well seasoned and as i said before falling off the bone and the mushroom potato stuff could have been a soup..it was creamy and rich and sublime..
desserts...lemon tart with shortbread crust and raspberry coulis..my all time favorite dessert did not disappoint, however, we brought it home because the dark chocolate torte with proletary ale was so fantastic with the zinfandel we got that we finished it all there...noted, for restaurant coffee, the coffee was very good....and very good service....so glad our favorite watering hole and the place where it all started didn't disappoint...
see you next month!
i guess since i started this post, i should keep you abreast of the restaurants we actually try...
this month (october) we attended a wine dinner at corks. the wines were zinfandel from several different vineyards...
the food was spectacular as were the wines. i think for $75 a piece (tax and tip included), it was a great way to start our year of dining...
however, our conversation with the chef made it all worthwhile. he sat briefly with us and i got the chance to ask him what his favorite food that he would never serve at the restaurant was....
chili dogs (priceless)
see you all next month!
In no particuliar order
Chamelon Harford Rd
Ikaros Eastern Avenue
Tio Pepes Franklin Street
Marticks Mulberry Street(if he's open)
Samos Oldham Street
Hull Street Blues Hull Street(duh)
Prime Rib Clavert Street($$$$)
Black Olive Bond Street ($$$$)
Brass Elephant Charles Street
Brewers Art Charles Street
Matthews Pizza Eastern Avenue
Pierpoints Aliceanna Street
Wine Market Fort Avenue
I need good restaurants in the area that serve fine lunch meals for myself and my sister when I visit her. I have satisfied that need at Black Olive and Pierpoint's Aliceanna. Do any of the others on your list qualify? Unfortunately Pierpoint won't be open the Friday before Thanksgiving for lunch. Their second new restaurant (North of Baltimore) has a limited lunch menu. Too many of the very good restaurants only have a limited lunch menu or are open only for dinner.
Since you're talking about once-a-month "anniversary" dinners, I would probably lean in the fancy direction...if it were me.
My list (full of the usual suspects) would be:
Black Olive (maybe)
I know I'm forgetting something... But then instead of two more, I'd hit a few of my favorites again, but in the opposite season, when the menu is completely different. And of course, in 6 or 9 months there could a few new entries to the list that don't exist yet. (i hope.)
Cool idea though.