Tasting Menus w/Wine Pairings: Balto
I've decided that I want to maximize the variety in which I have my first restaurant meal in the US after living in Central Asia for six months.....thus I'm asking for recommendations of places that have chef's tasting menus with paired wine. Oh, do I miss good wine!
I'm primarily interested in the food/wine. Service can also be an issue for me: I am uncomfortable with places that are very formal, and feel anxious if my server is in the weeds. Things like can ruin the meal for me (though a dirty martini has been known to take the edge off).
I did the tasting/wine menu at Abacrombie and loved every bite. The ambiance and atmosphere were perfect for my taste: smooth service without being overly formal. Alas, they are no more. Do any places come close to this ideal?
I've done the tasting menu/wine at Timothy Dean's and enjoyed the food tremendously. The ambiance there, however, was a bit off for me. Maybe the noise from the bar was too loud or the TV was on too loud, but I remember feeling less googly there than at Abacrombie.
I think I ordered a la carte at Petit Louis, but know that they have a tasting menu. That atmosphere will be a bit overwhelming for me for my first night back.
Will Cinghale's service be smoothed out enough by mid-December for me to try a new place? Is Charleston a little too "hoity toity" for me to be comfortable in? Are there are other places that do this that I don't know about?
Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
My Fiance and I loved Tersiguel's (French country cooking) in Ellicott City. Baltimore Magazine, Zagat and various other Reviewers seem to love the place. I think it was something like $53 per person for the Chef's tasting menu and $30 for the wine pairing. Service was outstanding as well as the food and they told me I could dress any way I felt - they will not turn you down, although with tabs running from $100-$300 for two people to eat I doubt you'll see people eating there that are dressed like Bums.
I've had the "tasting" menus with wine pairings at both Cinghiale and Charleston. I would think that if you can afford the approx $150 per person for Charleston's offerings, you should do it. Service is impeccable without being obsequious (sp?) or hoity-toity. And after being overseas, Chef Wolf's "high" low-country American roll-your-own tasting menu would be delicious. Cinghiale is probably around $30 less but they are going through an executive chef change.
P.S. I was a huge Abacrombie fan as well, and they are still closed pending a new kitchen staff.