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Help with Restaurants for Business Dinner in Inner Harbor

Hello Hounds,

I am working to plan several business dinners for some international business partners who we are joining for meetings in Baltimore. We're a group of about 15; prefer to stick to mostly American cuisine, have a request for at least one night to have a view of the Inner Harbor, another request for good beer, and have to accomodate one person with a seafood allergy (it's me, so I can manage, just prefer not to go to a seafood-only place). We do need to stick to a reasonable budget (~$50/person is about the limit). Can anyone offer any reviews on/recent experiences with the restaurants below, or suggestions of similar places that would be better? Just want to make sure I'm not picking any venues with awful food or service. Thanks in advance!

Cinghiale
Watertable
Birches

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Cinghiale
822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Watertable
202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

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  1. Cinghiale is our go-to downtown restaurant. Consistently great food and service. Nicole is our favorite server, but really all are quite good. Must get dessert! The panna cotta is always excellent.
    Don't know about the other two, but can suggest Brewer's Art in Mt. Vernon for very good beers and food. You can take the free circulator bus from downtown.

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    Brewer's Art
    1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    Cinghiale
    822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

    3 Replies
    1. re: eatinintheB

      The Watertable has an excellent view of the harbor at night and good food great pick for a business dinner. I second Brewer's Art for beer selection not sure if its a good pick for a business dinner

      1. re: agarnett100

        Thank you both for your feedback, glad to hear that Cinghiale and Watertable are suitable. We may have a more casual outing with a smaller group one evening, I'll head everyone over to Brewer's Art if that's the case!

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        Brewer's Art
        1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

        Cinghiale
        822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

        Watertable
        202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

        1. re: ForFoodsSake

          For a casual outing Brewer's Art is the go to spot

    2. I would look into Rusty Scupper. Knowing what "international business clients" are looking for they will enjoy the views with the aquarium and downtown just across the water.and ambiance of the harbor. Food is more than just decent but not the primary thing. A walk around the harbor and/or a water taxi ride should be included as cheap entertainment.

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      Rusty Scupper
      402 Key Highway, Baltimore, MD 21230

      1 Reply
      1. re: JRCann

        Thank you -- we had a couple or recommendations for the Rusty Scupper, but a phone call with them confirmed that my food allergy is probably going to keep us from heading there. We do typically have some folks that stay over for a long weekend after the meeting, so I will suggest that if they want ideas for places to go!

        We are going on one of the water taxi rides around the Harbor, hopefully they'll enjoy that as well!

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        Rusty Scupper
        402 Key Highway, Baltimore, MD 21230

      2. B&O Brasserie at the Hotel Monaco. Outstanding cocktails.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kukubura

          Thanks for the info -- I've been looking at B&O as an alternative to Birches, as the atmosphere looks like it may be a bit more in keeping with the group that will be going out. I think I will call Monday to see if they can accomodate a group of our size.

          1. re: ForFoodsSake

            B&O is excellent

        2. Thanks again for all of the recommendations. We are currently here with our group and enjoyed our dinner at Cinghiale last night.

          I will start by saying that the service was excellent from the moment we walked in the door. We were warmly greeted and our table was ready upon our arrival. Our waitstaff was very thorough in descriptions of the menu and ordering process (this was a very long explanation, to the amusement of some of our European guests who commented that they weren't aware you needed an instruction manual to order dinner). In addition to the normal menu offerings - the 4 course Prezzo Fisso at $59/person ($89 with paired wines, I believe), and the 3 course La Cucina Della Nonna at $29/person - they had a few off menu specials: cuddlefish, octapus, and heirloom tomatoes with a cheese selection. Our server was very helpful in recommending dishes to suit different tastes and in making accomodations for the non-fish eaters in the group.

          I went for the Prezzo Fisso. 1st course was Minestrone Soup, and it was the best I've had. Very light and refreshing; the flavors were balanced without seeming like they were competing for attention. There was no oily film like I've encountered at some italian restaurants that use more "mass produced" versions of this soup. 2nd course was the gnocchi; also well executed. These were very pillowy, served with mushrooms (missed what kind), and swiss chard. Again, well balanced flavors. 3rd course was chicken; perfectly cooked with a crispy skin and moist meat. It was served in a butter sauce that really enhanced the flavor of the chicken without masking it. 4th course was my favorite of the evening; dessert. I had the vanilla panna cotta. Very, very light and cool with just the smallest hint of vanilla. It was finished with a light caramel sauce on the size and a small sprinkling of hazelnuts. Perfect end to the evening.

          Overall, everyone in our party really enjoyed the meal and the restaurant. We're off to Watertable and B&O Brasserie later this week!

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          Cinghiale
          822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

          Watertable
          202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

          1. OK, two more reports:

            Watertable had a great view, and very kindly put us in a private room without us asking, but other than that was pretty uninspiring. The service was at or below average throughout the course of the evening, and the food was OK but there were a few significant misses. The salads came out soggy and just drenched in dressing. The main course (Picanha with black beans for me) was passable, but overall lacking in flavor and pretty overcooked. Desserts were just average. Their wine list is also a miserly 3/4 page, without much to choose from.

            B&O Brasserie was a big hit with the group. The flatbreads were an excellent start to the meal (we had mushroom, shrimp, 4-cheese, and tomato/basil); nicely crisped breads with fresh ingedients. The salads came out crisp and well dress -- there were suprising layers of flavor, in a salad that was nothing but greens. Watertable could use a lesson. I had the 24-hour cooked brisket with jalapeno spoonbread, and both were well seasoned. The brisked pulled apart easily with a fork and was moist and flavorful throughout. There was a slight taste of peppers to the spoonbread, but not enough to overpower the corn. Finished with the lemongrass creme brulee, overall an excellent meal with good ambiance for the group. Great wine and cocktail list that kept everyone pleased. The one odd note of the night was our first interaction with the server -- she felt the need to describe every item on the menu, in detail for the group. One of our colleagues commented "I feel exhausted, just from that" when she finished.

            Cinghiale wins the best meal of the week, with B&O Brasserie a stong second. Watertable is certainly a distant third.

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            Cinghiale
            822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

            Watertable
            202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

            2 Replies
            1. re: ForFoodsSake

              Yea, Cinghiale! I knew they were the forerunner once you said you had the panna cotta.

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              Cinghiale
              822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

              1. re: ForFoodsSake

                Glad you guys have had (mostly) great experiences. And I'm glad B&O worked out. I've had nothing but stellar experiences there and am always surprised when someone is unhappy with them.