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Boston Chowhound needs recommendation near (ish) to BWI

p
pariss Mar 25, 2010 08:29 AM

We'll be in Baltimore just for 1 Friday night in April. Will be in Linthicum and staying at BWI. Looking for a moderate to expensive restaurant within about a 15 - 20 minute drive in any direction. Probably 3 of us. Seafood is good (but only if they also have non-seafood also on the menu). Sushi good too. Open to other suggestions - we just like really good food. It's for a special occasion but not looking to break the bank - say not more that $200 ' ish total. Not at all familiar with the area. Need to know if we should make reservations. Thanks for any and all suggestions.

  1. d
    dpan Mar 25, 2010 09:18 AM

    If you don't mind a hole in the wall Chinese restaurant, Grace Garden in Odenton is nearby. This board has countless threads on Grace Garden.

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    Grace Garden
    1690 Annapolis Rd Ste A, Odenton, MD 21113

    1. b
      butterfingers Mar 25, 2010 09:24 AM

      Boy, that's like a wasteland out there. DC and Baltimore are about 20 minutes away in either direction, and there is public transportation into both cities and excellent restaurants in each, but I wouldn't stay out by BWI if it's for a special occasion. No way.

      I just edited to add that if you're total kitsch, and I do mean TOTAL kitsch, Blob's Park in Jessup is a huge Bavarian Beirgarten that's a lot of fun if you like wurst and polka music. I wouldn't go there for the cuisine, but it's a lot of fun.

      4 Replies
      1. re: butterfingers
        l
        lawhound Mar 25, 2010 10:41 AM

        The BWI request is a recurring one and the fact is that there is v. little any good within 5-10 mins of BWI. At 15 mins, you could be in downtown Baltimore and everything downtown/Fells Point/Harbor East is available to you. A great, reasonably priced place for dinner in fells Point is Peters Inn which would fit your budget. Wine Market v. good also.

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        Wine Market
        921 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

        1. re: butterfingers
          p
          pariss Mar 25, 2010 12:24 PM

          I don't think this is the right time for kitsch. So if we go into Baltimore City - any other recs? although The Wine Market looks like it may be the right thing - the food is good?

          1. re: pariss
            Dennis S Mar 25, 2010 05:25 PM

            Okay - to balance: DC is easily more than 20 minutes away.

            Looking for good food - there is an outstanding selection, from tacos in a Shell station to Grace Garden.

            Looking for good food in a good atmosphere? Grace Garden is maybe the low end, just because of the food. The "high" end is maybe something like Snyder's Willow Grove. Otherwise, it is a close drive into Baltimore City.

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            Snyder's Willow Grove
            841 N Hammonds Ferry Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

            Grace Garden
            1690 Annapolis Rd Ste A, Odenton, MD 21113

            1. re: Dennis S
              b
              butterfingers Mar 26, 2010 10:04 AM

              I live in Takoma Park -- less than one mile over the DC/MD line, and used to work at an ad agency on Charles Street, and door-to-door it took me about 35-40 minutes to get to work on BW Parkway So, it really isn't that bad to get to DC from BWI. I don't know Baltimore very well. I never spent much time there. Even when I worked there, I socialized closer to home. I'm sure there are people here who know Baltimore well, and I know it has some great restaurants. I have heard some good things about this place (below), and it's always looked interesting -- maybe someone can give his/her 2 cents:

              http://www.johnshields.com/restaurant...

              Frankly, I'd enjoy opinions on it as well.

        2. Chowtimore Mar 25, 2010 09:25 AM

          15-20 minutes will get you into Baltimore City. The Wine Market is just off 95 and easy to get to. I would definitely make a reservation for a Friday night. For basic, no frills sushi, there's Matsu in Linthicum. Not really "high-end" sushi (Baltimore doesn't have that anyway) and maybe too casual for what you're looking for, but it's good for what it is.

          If you do a search for Federal Hill or Locust Point, you'll get some more recs within 15-20 min.

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          Wine Market
          921 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

          1. s
            stephanieg Mar 25, 2010 10:11 AM

            One of the best Italian restaurants, Trattoria Alberto, is fairly close to there. The seafood dishes are especially wonderful, but they have a wide variety . It is on the expensive side, though. Check it out: http://www.trattoriaalberto.com/

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            Trattoria Alberto
            506 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

            3 Replies
            1. re: stephanieg
              v
              vivinator Mar 25, 2010 11:38 AM

              wow this is from
              Trattoria Alberto's website

              http://www.trattoriaalberto.com/north...

              "One of the World's Top Restaurants"

              - Zagat Survey, World's Top Restaurants, 2009/2010

              one of the world's best restaurants in GLEN BURNIE!!!?????

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              Trattoria Alberto
              506 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

              1. re: vivinator
                i
                ivysmom Mar 25, 2010 04:23 PM

                yep. incredible as it may seem. that restaurant has been there maybe 25 yrs? I don't remember, but we went there the first year it opened and all the reviews at the time talked about the wonderful food, wonderful service in a Glen Burnie Strip Mall!!!!! the food and service is still great. many of my office-mates have gone recently and all have been very happy. I still replicate a broccoli dish we had at that first dinner. Can you imagine, 25 or so years later I still remember that I had a yummy broccoli side ???

                1. re: vivinator
                  v
                  venera Mar 26, 2010 01:26 AM

                  Vivinator,

                  Hard to believe, but totally true. Not only in GB, but in a strip mall off of Rte 3, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

                  Their food is divine. Search the board for Trattoria Alberto and you'll see mine and other reviews. Make sure you get the Balto one, evidently there is one in DC, too.

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                  Trattoria Alberto
                  506 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

              2. b
                bmorecupcake Mar 25, 2010 11:36 AM

                There's a Thai restaurant called Little Spice in Hanover, very close to the airport.

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                Little Spice
                1350 Dorsey Rd Ste L, Hanover, MD 21076

                1 Reply
                1. re: bmorecupcake
                  j
                  Jason1 Mar 25, 2010 01:50 PM

                  And it's a very nice Thai Restaurant, not formal, but far from a hole-in-the-wall. If you didn't want to go into Baltimore, this would be my pick.

                2. a
                  alexc Mar 25, 2010 02:39 PM

                  I've heard that G&M is an authentic Maryland-style seafood house with really excellent crabcakes, but I've never been myself. Anyone have any insight on this place?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: alexc
                    JonParker Mar 25, 2010 04:00 PM

                    It's terrible. Seriously. The most frequent comment I hear about it is "it's huge," and it is, because it's made with flavorless Asian swimmer crab, not blue crab. It has no crab flavor, the filling is a doughy mess, but hey, it is big.

                    A few years ago the clueless Washington Post gave it a "Crummy But Good" seal of approval, and ever since then it's been the crab cake of choice for people who don't know and/or care about good ones.

                    There are some good crab cakes in the area, and if you ask people will point you to them, but avoid G&M.

                    1. re: JonParker
                      b
                      bordeauxfan Mar 25, 2010 05:00 PM

                      I heartily endorse the Wine Market recommendation. From BWI it's no more than 15 minutes, just up the BW Parkway to the 95 North exit, then the Key Highway exit before the tunnel. Easy parking, inventive "fusion" cuisine, and some nice wine pairings (including both 3oz and 6oz wines by the glass). But yes, make recommendations. As a bonus, you get a great view of the expanding Baltimore waterfront skyline from their parking lot.

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                      The Wine Market
                      921 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

                      1. re: JonParker
                        a
                        alexc Mar 28, 2010 07:42 PM

                        Thanks! Saved me a trip.

                    2. Mississippi Snopes Mar 26, 2010 01:16 AM

                      I've got to agree with butterfingers that there aren't a lot of great options near BWI. Blob's Park would be an interesting night out, but it's nothing like what you're looking for:

                      http://www.citypaper.com/music/story.asp?id=18487

                      The best option that I've found in this general area, and it's a pretty good option, is Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro. It's an Asian fusion place, excellent food. The Washingtonian's main food critic, Todd Klimon, has a weekly "chat" in which he lists 25 local DC area restaurants where he'd spend his own money and this place has been on the list for several months.

                      It is not quite high end, but it's no dive either. Very nice decor and the one meal I've had there was excellent. The Sichuan dish we had did not use ma (Sichuan peppercorns) but was a blazing hot rendition (as we'd requested).

                      http://aseanbistro.com/menu.htm

                      It's about 20 minutes from BWI (I think) and not easy to find without mapquest or a gps.

                      I end up in this area fairly often looking for decent food, usually with mediocre (at best) results, but Jesse Wong's is a solid option in an otherwise lackluster area.

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                      Blob's Park
                      8024 Max Blobs Park Rd, Jessup, MD

                      Asean Bistro
                      8775 Centre Park Dr Ste 7, Columbia, MD 21045

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                        p
                        pariss Mar 26, 2010 10:24 AM

                        Thanks all for your many suggestions. The Asean Bistro sounds interesting but probably not right for the occasion. Sounds like The Wine Market seems like it could fit the bill exactly. The only complaints I read about it were regarding service and I think that was a few years back. Thanks again and I'll let you know where we end up and what we think.
                        I didn't realize driving into Baltimore City was only 15 minutes - and it's on the right side of the city for us - makes it pretty easy.

                      2. h
                        Hue Mar 26, 2010 12:03 PM

                        Elkridge Furnace Inn is a short way from the airport and seems to fit your needs
                        http://www.elkridgefurnaceinn.com/

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                        The Elkridge Furnace Inn
                        5745 Furnace Avenue, Elkridge, MD 21075

                        1. p
                          pomme de terre Mar 27, 2010 05:55 PM

                          The Wine Market is an excellent choice, but I'll throw another suggestion out there for seafood: Catonsville Gourmet, which is about 15 minutes from BWI. Excellent seafood for excellent prices. It's BYOB, but there's a liquor store directly across the street. Definitely a lot of fish and shellfish, but the non-fish options are quite good. So are the desserts, and I am usually not a dessert person.

                          My only complaint is that it's pretty loud when it's full. It's really not a bad drive into the city from where you're staying, but if the traffic report is bad, Catonsville Gourmet is a great option in the 'burbs.

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                          Catonsville Gourmet
                          829 Frederick Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

                          Wine Market
                          921 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: pomme de terre
                            p
                            pariss Mar 30, 2010 11:27 AM

                            Thanks - this does sound good indeed..... may have to reconsider the decision and will consult with the rest of the party.

                            1. re: pomme de terre
                              p
                              pariss Apr 30, 2010 12:55 PM

                              Just want to report back the we did indeed end up at Catonsville Gourmet and it was perfect! We loved it and we're fussy New Englanders when it comes to seafood.
                              Thank you so much for the suggestion !!

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                              Catonsville Gourmet
                              829 Frederick Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

                              1. re: pariss
                                v
                                vahlvt May 1, 2010 07:20 AM

                                This is a wonderful place. SO glad you enjoyed it.

                                1. re: pariss
                                  p
                                  pomme de terre May 2, 2010 10:41 AM

                                  Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it, pariss! CG is definitely a good example of a restaurant that knows what it wants to do (good, fresh seafood in unfussy preparations) and executes it well. Hope your trip overall went well!

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