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Feb 5, 2011 07:37 AM

Where to dine between Bethesda and Baltimore?

Looking for a dinner spot at some midpoint between Bethesda and Baltimore - casual, hip, good food and able to carry on a conversation

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  1. Where to eat in the suburban wasteland of Columbia? Um... Probably your best, only hope is Pub Dog.

    1. Aida Bistro for food; not sure about "hipness" level,

      Victoria Gastro Pub; the noise level can be a little high but they have a few booths that cut down on the noise,

      Victoria Gastro Pub
      8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

        1. I am not a fan of Victoria's.
          There are tons of ethnic food choices in Columbia. You would be picking food over trendiness

          Pasta Plus in Laurel

          The epic Grace Garden

          wine based

          We had great times when this was a different wine bar, not sure if there are any x-overs

          Helpful blog

          Grace Garden
          1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

          Pasta Plus Restaurant
          209 Gorman Ave, Laurel, MD 20707

          5 Replies
            1. re: MrsWheatie

              not sure how someone couldn't like the kobe beef burger with white truffle cheese sauce which is as good as a rays hellsburger. In addition the poutine which is fries cooked in duck fat with duck confit, duck gravy and melted guyere is finger lickin good. finally the lobster grilled cheese is delish.
              forgot to include Le Mannequin Pis in Olney which is a top 50 Washingtonian Belgian Bistro with great food and fantastic mussels and pomme frite.

              Mannequin Pis Restaurant
              18064 Georgia Ave, Olney, MD 20832

              1. re: dining with doc

                I'm a fan of much of the food - I did recommend it above, but I can certainly understand if someone doesn't like it because of the service. I've found the service to be inconsistent. Half the time I've had really good service. The other half I've had snooty/condescending or very indifferent. I do like the food you mention above enough to overlook the service but I'd certainly go more often if the service were better.

                1. re: dining with doc

                  Rich, fatty foods are not friends of mine :-(

                2. re: MrsWheatie

                  Mrs. Wheatie offers a great list. Grace Garden is epic, although not hip. For hip American fare, I'd think Victoria Gastro Pub, Iron Bridge or Pure Wine Cafe. Pure WIne has great small plates, and Portalli's a block down Main Street does Italian. A little bit of curvy roads to get from the highway into downtown Ellicott City, but it's a fun spot.

                  I'd emphasize Sushi Sono, Sushi KIng, House of India and Mango Grove -- all in Columbia and all easy to find. Sushi Sono may qualify as hip. I also recommend Shin Chon Garden on Rte 40 in Ellicott City for Korean BBQ -- better than you'll get in either Baltimore or Bethesda. Or maybe Honey Pig in Ellicott City if you want BBQ and hipness.

                  I'd also think about Red Pearl in Columbia. The Washingtonian critic posted a recent chat where he talks about an off-menu salt-and-pepper lobster. The irony is that he loved the regular food, but disliked the dim sum. I think the dim sum is terrific. I think it's a winner.

                  And read about Ranazul in Fulton. It's a small-plate place, sort of tapas with a Mexican vibe. It's hip, more expensive than the Asian places. But people like it.

                  Shin Chon
                  8801 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD

                  Victoria Gastro Pub
                  8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

                  Mango Grove
                  6365 Dobbin Rd, Columbia, MD 21045

                  Grace Garden
                  1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

                  House of India
                  9350 Snowden River Pkwy Ste F2, Columbia, MD 21045

                  Sushi Sono
                  10215 Wincopin Cir Ste 101, Columbia, MD 21044

                3. Second Grace Garden.

                  Grace Garden
                  1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD