Between Baltimore & Frederick?
Trying to meet up with a girlfriend & her hubby in 2 weeks. She lives in Frederick, I live in FedHill. Since Volt is booked until the next millenium, we thought maybe we'd try to meet halfway somewhere.
Is there anywhere in between the two cities to get a good meal, or does one of us have to make the drive?
I might have been a little too laconic in my reply, I'm glad everyone else filled in the blanks. If you were thinking of Volt, the first three I mentioned are probably closer to the atmosphere and breadth of offerings that you're looking for, as you can probably tell from the other comments (I tend to rate places by how much I like the food). Victoria has been getting steadily better and the grilled lamb steak salad was perfect the last time I went.
I don't think you'll regret choosing one of those establishments, though as ivysmom suggested reservations would be a good idea. Lately even the bar at Victoria has been full.
Right - and I just read Volt is booked for lunch & dinner during Frederick restaurant week.
I dropped in for lunch at Victoria's with my mom just before Christmas, and they had a table for us but they were pretty full. I'd suggest reservations if you really have your heart set on someplace. Personally, I'm not wild about driving from one place to another looking for a short wait. I guess I'm more of a "planner".
A few weeks ago it was a chilly night and my wife and I thought we’d celebrate a belated wedding anniversary with a dinner out at Bistro Blanc in Glenelg, Maryland per the suggestion / review of Tom S of the Post. The room is a warm inviting red that joins an upscale wine store that has a neat contraption that dispenses tastes of a number of different wines that are gas stabilized.
Nice wine list indeed. To get started as we thought about what to order, (it has many choices that can be ordered by ½ glass, glass or bottle) we got ½ glass orders of Jordan Chardonnay and Black Ankle Viognier. Once we made our picks for dinner, we were thinking about maybe a Ferrari-Carano and a Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon. As both were sold by the glass, we begged for a taste of each to decide the one we wanted. The owner came over with a glass of each and introduced himself and told us that a short time ago, they had a Duckhorn tasting dinner that that been a fun event. Well the Ferrari-Carano had a nice nose but the Duckhorn brought back memories of when we had been to the winery and what the hey…it was our wedding anniversary!
I’d just re-read Tom’s review and was jazzed for a pork appetizer called “Pig & Fig” that has braised pork shoulder and mission fig. I was very tender and had been a lovely start. BUT another Tom suggestion was the Rustic Rabbit my wife got. I was so in love with this dish and almost turned into Elmer Fudd as I wanted to hunt more Wabitts! This dish at first hit seemed to be too salty but it had a balance that was to die for and the plate was clean in a flash.
The last item I was hunting for was the duck confit he seemed to rave about; the only dish that sounded close was “Braised Lamb Shank – duck & pork confit cassoulet + smoked ham hock jus + aromatics $26” Well when served indeed I got a nice lamb shank and some beans in a sauce but I asked the nice waiter where the duck was and he told me that duck fat was used to cook the beans…. Well darn this did not sound like what I was expecting! I did not see any duck at all.
Don’t get me wrong, the Lamb tasted great and after some time the owner came by to ask if I hated my dish and we got into the whole confit debate again. To his credit he asked if I wanted another dish or a duck leg but who wants to be that guy and sit around watching her eat alone as we wait 15 minutes for my diner all out of sync on an anniversary. How acquired turtle it that! Owner guy did ask “oh you read Tom’s review right? He had another duck confit dish that is for lunch; if you come back tomorrow we can set you up……yea that was going to happen! I know he was attempting to fix things but I’m thinking you have duck confit on the menu and that is what folks are going to expect. So word to the wise, when ordering here double check stuff maybe. He thinks it is just fat....
This is what I think it is:
Now one last nit, when we got the bill we had a $10 corkage fee? As we had not brought any bottles with us I’d asked what the deal was. Kind waiter told me he’d have to ask the owner….a few moments later the waiter came back to tell us the charge had been removed with the explanation that it was at "odd operations" with the retail store in the front. And as he sells wine at such a close price he must mark it up for service in the restaurant. I don’t mind a normal mark up on a wine list but this sounded off to me. So 2006 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon was $110 on the wine list. Oh by the way, Corridor in Laurel sells it for $64.99 so what the heck with this corkage fee when it is marked up $45 bucks already?
Oh yea, this is what I think a corkage fee is:
notice none talk about a fee for wine ON THE WINE LIST!
Howard County can indeed be the perfect meeting place for you and your friends. Nothing in HoCo matches the entire Volt experience however the chef at Bistro Blanc in Glenelg is extremely talented and offers a dinner menu which combines ingredients and techniques not usually found the suburbs. I especially recommend the rabbit appetizer from the current menu and the lamb shank entree with a psuedo cassoulet (if it's still available). The restaurant is about 35 minutes from each of you and easy to reach from either I 70 or I 95 via Rt 32. While not as many good selections Bistro Blanc has a similar wine program to Wine Market where you can choose a bottle from the wall with a $10 corkage, also Tuesday night is 1/2 price bottle night. Weekends nights you probably should get a reservation.
I think Howard County (Columbia/Ellicott City) should be about 30 minutes for each of you and has a lot of good choices. Victoria Gastro Pub, Bistro Blanc, and Cafe de Paris are all nice but casual places with excellent food. If you want something a lot more casual, I like An Loi (pho and Vietnamese grill) or Maiwand Kabob.
2stepper has great suggestions. I'd also add Sushi Sono, Mango Grove, or House of India in Columbia or Shin Chon Garden in Ellicott City. You can find reviews of all four, and they're a little cheaper than Bistro Blanc but a little higher end than Maiwand Kabob, which offers so of my favorite food but counter service.
Personally, I would check out Shin Chon. Shin Chon is terrific if you like Korean food -- or if you want to give it a try. It's an exit from I-70 on Rte 29, and it's a place you could get a grill table and cook your own bulgogi.
We just took some out-of-state friends to Victoria Gastro Pub and they really enjoyed their meal. I have to say, make reservations though. It used to be, if you went before, say, 7:30 in the evening you could get a table. But we went at 6 PM (with reservations) and I heard the hostess tell people the wait was 1.5 hrs. Our wine group went to Bistro Blanc recently and liked the food.