Baltimore Restaurant Week 2009 reviews!
I didn't see a specific thread for restaurant week experiences, so I thought I might start one here.
Tonight we went to Sotta Sopra last minute, figuring that people would cancel due to the roads and weather (got at table at 7:30 PM!). It was my first time. On the menu:
Polenta with mushrooms, truffle oil, arugula, and boisin (?) cheese;
sausage and bean ragout
Tagliatelle with osso bucco
Roasted Duck tortelli
Banana and nutella crepe with vanilla gelato
The polenta was absolutely divine -- savory, buttery, hot, the mushrooms beautifully crispy, the arugula providing a welcome counterpoint, the truffle oil complementing but not overpowering.
Sausage and bean ragout -- sausage was very pleasant, and the ragout was just ok.
Osso bucco Tagliatelle -- Good, but not as tasty as it could have been. I wish the noodles had been finished in the sauce, rather than being placed in the plate and the sauce ladled over it. Texture of the pasta was nicely al dente, though.
Roasted duck tortelli -- pasta was again good, and the sauce very good. The duck filling, though, felt like it had been over-mixed -- the texture was slightly mushy, and I really didn't get a lot of the duck flavor.
Tiramisu -- really nice; not too sweet, light, and very enjoyable.
Crepe -- Loved the flavors, and LOVED the vanilla gelato, but wasn't a huge fan of the crepe itself -- was a little heavy and chewy. It could have been good in two ways -- 1. crispy, or 2. really light and fluffy, but was neither one of those.
Service was great, and I was impressed with some of the little things; the plates were hot for hot entrees, and properly cold for desserts. My crepe with ice cream, having a hot crepe and cold ice cream, had a plate that was properly at room temperature.
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. I think (and hope) that some of the issues are a result of the high volume of restaurant week -- I'd go back again!
I ventured out to the Italian Restaurant/Market on Gough Street called Di Pasquale's. It was shown on the Travel Channel and I wanted to try the food. Had their Lasagne and it was to die for. Actually, it was better than any that I have had in the restaurants in Little Italy! I also ordered their Riviera Salad which was fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil with their balsalmic vinegar and oil - absolutely delicious! I only wish the tomatoes had been in season as it would have been even better. All of their pasta's are made fresh in house to include their mozzarella which is heavenly. I also tried their ravioli and their meatballs. Everything was just delicious.
Four of us went to Mezze on Friday, and we were very happy with it. We were seated right away in the front room upstairs, next to a window overlooking the patio in front of Kali's Court. Service was a bit slow, but it was Friday night and the first night of RW, and someone came by frequently to refill our water and sangria glasses. Everything was served family style, with most dishes coming with one piece per person, so we all got the opportunity to try everything.
The meal started with hummus and tzatziki. I loved the tzatziki, and the hummus was tasty but a bit heavy on tahini for my taste. The pita for dipping was warm and delicious. Next came a Greek salad, which was a good, but unexciting, salad, and a veggie plate with stuffed grape leaves, spinach pie and eggplant with sauteed vegetables and halloumi (the waitress claimed this was a portobello mushroom, but it was pretty clearly eggplant!). Everything on the plate was excellent, and the eggplant was one of the highlights of the meal.
Next came the meat course, a delicious, lightly charred chicken kabob, good falafel (good in that I liked it, I am sadly very inexperienced when it comes to decent falafel, so I can't comment on how it would compare to true, middle eastern falafel), and a disappointing lamb chop. The lamb was nicely seasoned, but the rack was cut apart and then the thin chops were individually cooked, so it was well done and a bit tough. It was a shame because the lamb was one of the things I was most looking forward to in the meal, but after so many other great dishes, it really didn't take away from my overall satisfaction with the meal.
Next came dessert, a plate featuring baklava, pistachio custard and a custard wrapped in phyllo that resembled a blintz. The baklava and "blintz" were good, but the pistachio custard was the real winner. It was light and had honey covered phyllo shreds underneath it, and it was pretty much perfect after such a huge meal.
Overall, we were very happy and would definitely return for a non-RW meal in the future.