Baltimore Rest. Week Reports
I didn't see a thread yet on reports from RW, so I thought I'd start one.
We went to Tiburzi's in Canton last night (Monday) and had a really nice meal. It was not at all crowded, but we were there late 8:15 and it was Monday (I think some folks are used to places being closed on Mondays).
They brought out a basket of bread with a whole head of roasted garlic (plus a plate of olive oil for dipping), so you could spread the soft garlic on the bread yourself. The boy had the cream of crab soup - and said the crab was really sweet. He had the steak - which came with asparagus and mashed potatoes. It was cooked just as he ordered it. Being veggie, I didn't have the RW menu - pieced together some bruschetta and salad, both of which were tasty. He finished off with the creme brulee, which we both ate. I'm usually not a fan, but this was really good - strong vanilla flavors.
If your other choices are full, and even if they aren't, I'd recommend giving Tiburzi's a try. It was a bit sad to see it so empty. The service was friendly and attentive - the boy also gave a big thumbs up to the Manhattan he ordered.
Tiburzi's Italian Grill & Cafe
900 S Kenwood Ave, Baltimore, MD
Went to Bicycle Tuesday (29th) night. Overall the experience was quite decent. Ambience was pleasant. Yes, it was loud, but we didn't feel cramped. We called to let them know we'd be a little late, and it wasn't a problem. We were seated immediately. It was packed and they had to turn away some walk-ins. Service was prompt and courteous. I like how they left a jug of water at table and kept refilling it.
As far as the food, mostly it was very good. We didn't really care for the crunchy breadsticks or cracker-like things at the table, but they were an interesting alternative to serving bread. The tuna-avacado app was very good, the accompanying sauce excellent; although I wish we had them hold the fish roe on top. Just didn't like it personally, is all. The spicy corn crab soup was very very good. Loved it. The mahi mahi was amazing. Whatever vegetable that was under the mahi mahi, it was very tasty. I don't like bread pudding, but their bread pudding was something else, just amazing. And the peanut butter cups, a taste of heaven. For the true peanut butter and chocolate fan, but remember to scrape along some of the caramel sauce with it. I actually liked their coffee a lot, too; served freshly brewed in a french press. The table next to us got the Sweet Potato Napoleon Cake and it looked very scrumptuous.
The only disappointment for us was the Vegetarian Nirvana. I know a lot of people like it, and I really wanted to, and I even made myself believe I liked it in the first couple bites, but at the end, I had to admit to my dining partner that it just wasn't good. Could have been just my specific serving. The first bites were spicy and I liked that, but after that, it just felt so so heavy. I think it was the black layer on the bottom (black rice cake?). Also, overall the dish was oily and sat in my stomach all the way home. Not my idea of Nirvana. If you must get it, eat it right away while it's hot as it doesn't taste decent at all later. At least they tried, I guess.
Portions sizes were actually spot on. At first we thought we'd leave still hungry, but the portions were such that by the end we were at that perfect spot between full and stuffed. As far as overall satisfaction, I really don't eat out at these kinds of "fancy" places, and I found $85 for 2 people (incl. coffee, tea, and tip) to be a quite expensive. I guess if I was more into presentation and such things, I would be more appreciative. So if you're like me, and haven't really done fine-dining or semi-fine-dining before, you might be questioning if it was worth it when you leave. At least the experience was smooth, in stark contrast with horror stories at other places in the summer RW thread. Also, lots of people were in jeans (with nice shirts, though.) We were a little overdressed for sure.
I went to the Oceanaire last night and was surprised that the portion sizes were the same as when I dined there previously. Sometimes, you get smaller portions due to he RW price. The restaurant was full but our diner progressed smoothly with the courses being timed perfectly. The crabcakes that I had looked to have no filler and the crab was tasty. My guest, not being a fish lover had the filet which also was perfectly cooked. They also had some feature RW wine choices for $8 and with that got a generous pour. The service was great and so was the ambiance. A definate try and if you can't get in this week, our server told us they were one of the restaurants that are extending RW another week.
We went to Shula's on Monday night for RW dinner. Overall, the experience was just ok - very restaurant week feeling. We were a few minutes late, and they were very accommodating. Everyone seemed friendly, and the manager stopped over to greet us as we were dining.
I started with the wedge salad, which was a large portion, and tasted great. Hubby got the caesar salad, and said it was just ok - he didn't finish it, so that means it must have been pretty bad!
For my entree, I got the NY Strip Steak, and it was cooked perfectly. It tasted good, but not great. The accompanying asparagus was tender, but the mashed potatoes were very bland. Hubby got the Prime Rib, which was way under cooked, and he had to send it back. He wasn't all that impressed with the flavor. I tasted it & "didn't mind it", but that's not what I want my reaction to be when I'm at a steakhouse.
For dessert, I had the Grand Marnier Creme Brulee, which was tasty, and he had the cheesecake, also delicious.
Some aspects of the service was iffy - we got bread delivered to the table as we were finishing our entrees. The table next to us had their creme brulee sent back - couldn't hear the reason, but the server was apologizing profusely. We were in and out of there in under an hour, feeling a bit rushed. Overall - again, just ok.
We are trying Junior's in Federal Hill tonight, so I'll try to report back!
Hey guys, just got back from lunch at the Capital Grille. Overall it was a pretty good experience. Doesn’t hurt that it’s the only upscale steakhouse that serves lunch (as far I as can remember).
The decorum: almost exactly what you’d expect it to look like – good finish and plenty of paintings or other pieces of old-barron artistic touches here and there. The area is bright, much brighter than any of the other high-end steakhouses I’ve been to (though this may be only for lunch), and they’ve partitioned the dining room into many sections whether by wall or by door. It’s a smart move in my opinion. Wine bottles deck the area out (which I have no problem with). We were seated by a full window façade with a view of the aquarium/harbor. It’s a bright day, so that was nice.
The service: good as expected, though nothing exceptional. The greeter was very perky and quite helpful, even with the packed crowds. Our server was friendly and mostly stayed out of our way as we talked through our lunch. She refilled our glasses as needed, but she never came by to our table after the entrees were served to ask “how is everything” (or something along that nature). I still feel that that was odd. It’s like the first thing I always expect.
The all important food: Clam chowder was good. At first bite I thought it a bit plain and light on flavor, but after a few more I really developed a like for it. The flavors, textures, and pieces all blended exceptionally well for a clam chowder. If this is what they were trying to go for (a lighter but very well meshed soup) then they really hit a good spot.
I had the filet mignon au jus. I was disappointed that it came to the table kinda cold. You could almost tell right by looking at it without even tasting it. However, I didn’t send it back because the first bite was still quite good. The meat was superbly tender and perfectly cooked to medium rare order (I tend to think a lot of restaurants don’t necessarily overcook but rather instead have a different, more well-done, expectation of what a ‘medium rare’ or ‘medium’ should look like). Flavors were not too strong, but worked well with the jus. I had the creamed spinach and it was pretty good, blessedly not too creamy (though I know some people like it that way). I also tried the lobster and crab burger. I’ll be honest, I still don’t know how I feel about that. I wasn’t in bliss but I didn’t think it was bad; it was kinda just there. It was well made and went great with their tarter sauce (loved their tarter sauce), but it really didn’t leave a strong impression either way. I suppose that says something in itself though. The fries that were ordered with that were good. Crisp without being tough, well salted, but in the end: they’re just fries. I saw a table beside us all get the ‘home-made’ chips and have been wondering ever since if we were missing out on something.
Desserts were interesting: we actually ended up swapping our desserts. I ordered the espresso chocolate cake. I’ll admit that it was very well done with a nice texture and raspberries on the side. However, I was not expecting it to be so packed full of espresso flavor. It was almost all espresso and barley any chocolate, and while I’m a fan of espresso for my drink, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in dessert. My lunch partner loved it though (and I can absolutely understand why someone would). I swapped with her cheesecake. It was a very well made cheesecake with a delicious crumbling but not at all dry crust. Paired with strawberries and topped with strawberry sauce I thought it was an excellent way to finish.
I was very happy when I left. I’d recommend it if you can make it for lunch (and/or probably dinner too). From what I was told though they are NOT extending their RW, and since they don’t do RW on their weekends, tonight and tomorrow are the last chances. Would I go back for a regular meal? Sure, though it would probably still be lunch rather than dinner just because their open.
See you all in a few for a review on the other places.
Went to Bicycle on Monday night with my gf. Was a very nice experience: terrific service and atmosphere, but I wasn't blown away by the food. Tuna + avocado app was very tasty, but I wanted a little more texture and maybe some citrus to cut the richness (perhaps some thinly diced red onion?). The spicy crab soup was good too. The lobster ravioli was terrific; I really liked the texture of the ravioli but thought the lobster could have come out more strongly in the filling. The Mongolian BBQ braised shortribs had a lovely melting texture, but were a little too sweet and not smoky enough for my palate. Desserts were good: my favorite was the sweet potato Napoleon cake, though the bread pudding was certainly good as well.
Thursday I went to Tio Pepe with a bunch of friends, and we all shared. I thought the gazpacho was wonderful: cold, silky smooth soup with nicely crunchy diced vegetables. The seafood soup (not on the RW menu) was even better: really savory, warming, and the chock full of perfectly (i.e. NOT over) cooked fish, mussels, clams. The fish in the main entrees (sole, tilapia, salmon) were again perfectly cooked, but the flavor profile was a little strange: either bland, or with a strange sweetness that didn't pair well with the dish (sole with bananas??). The brochette tenderloin with a red wine sauce was good. The roast suckling pig (one of their specialities, NOT on their RW menu) had terrific crisped skin, but the meat itself was a little dried out, and flavor/aroma wise reminded me of overcooked Thanksgiving turkey. It was salvaged with some applesauce that came on the side, however. Desserts were not particularly memorable.