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Where would you go in Baltimore for *your* birthday??

Mine is in a couple weeks and I'm in desperate need of recommendations. In the last six months, I've been to Blue Hill Tavern (passable), Waterfront Kitchen (unmitigated disappointment), and Thames Street Oyster House (great oyster stew, gloppy risotto). I've been to Cindy Wolf restaurants more than I can count and had a bad experience at Brewer's Art last go ("go" being the operative word).

We love imaginative food, interesting wine lists and an energenic vibe. It's a bonus if we see more dresses and sport coats than fanny packs (what can I say..we love to dress up for a date).

Any thoughts for me? Where would you go? Thanks!!

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  1. B&O American Brasserie or Bluegrass Tavern. Both may be a bit more informal than you're looking for, though.

    Prime Rib if you want that 1960s retro look. Good wine list, not sure I'd call it energetic or imaginative.

    I'd recommend Tio Pepe for a fancier atmosphere, but it's been many years since I've been there.

    1 Reply
    1. I have an upcoming birthday and want to try out Wit and Wisdom. Last year I went to Tio Pepe's (it was quite good) and also the Prime Rib (got to dress up both times). Hubby is also planning to take me to Elkridge Furnace Inn and the Orgeon Grille. Yippee!! Three bonus dining out experiences. FoiGras

      5 Replies
      1. re: FoiGras

        Foi...I'll be interested to hear your review of W&W. I thought about going there, but I was less than impressed with the reviews (overpriced, mediocre food). I just did that at Waterfront Kitchen and didn't want to go 0 for 2. Tentatively, I have reservations at The Black Olive. I've not been there in 10 years and thought it might be time for another go. I seem to remember the service being as bad as the food was good (they were sufficiently distinguished in both).

        I wonder...has anyone tried The Olive Room?

        1. re: Christina D

          I heard that W&W got a new chef in June, so things may have changed. He's a pretty highly respected chef. Black Olive's food is always good IMO, but the service ranges from horrible to very good.

          B&O and Blugrass are both excellent. I'd avoid Oregon Grill -- overpriced and you pay more for atmosphere than good food.

          1. re: JonParker

            JonParker--many times you are spot on. So, based on what you just provided with regards to a new chef at W&W, I guess I'll follow through on my first night birthday dnner.

            I can't be enthused about B&O--it was good, but....Wish I could be more specific. Maybe just an off night on the part of my hubby and myself. It happens.

            Do want to try Bluegrass for a more casual, less celebratory night out. Their menu looks enticing.

            Okay--okay, I know.....Oregon Grille is expensive, etc. But I love their roasted oysters and truffle mac'n cheese. Hey, it's not ALWAYS about the food. The atmosphere is elegant and relaxed. The accompanying pianist offers the romance. Get it? I used to love going to the Rainbow Room in NYC--it really wasn't about the food. And, of course, the Oregon Grille can't compare to the Rainbow Room--it definitely was one of a kind.

            Thanks always for your input. I do take it seriously and into consideration and always concede when I am wrong. FoiGras

            1. re: FoiGras

              We didn't fall in love with B&O either and like you, I'm not sure I can put my finger on exactly why. I know that our server was a little ditzy, she didn't leave the best impression. The bar was nice (drinks were really interesting, although the lounge area was uncomfortable), and I remember the food as being ok, but nothing spectacular.

              Come to think of it, maybe I just put my finger on it. :o\

          2. re: Christina D

            I'lll update once I go to W&W.. but, like you mentioned....maybe over rated?
            I've seen mixed reviews onthe Olive Room and it is another restaurant I am anxious to try. Like you, I dined at the Black Olive about ten years ago and was totally unimpressed., Can't offer anything specific other then, from recollection, the tables were awfully close together. Since Hubby and I aren't inclined to dine on fish, well, I guess that says a lot. Although there were other tempting options. I woudn't hesitate to return, but have many more places I want to try out beforehand. FoiGras

        2. For "my" birthday....
          Prime Rib, not exactly imaginative food, but excellent food, excellent service and it does have ambience, not an energetic vibe, more MAD MEN 60'ish stylish , or perhaps Nick and Nora Charles 40ish!!
          http://www.theprimerib.com/bal/index....

          1 Reply
          1. re: Hue

            We always loved the Prime Rib but our visit last week dampened our ardor. Somewhere between the overcooked shrimp cocktail, the supermarket produce in the house salad, the gloppy and overseasoned bisque which lacked real shellfish flavor, and the supermarket butter and sour cream accompaniments, we had an epiphany. Had the Prime Rib started to cheap out, or had it just failed to keep up with the improved sourcing and execution in today's restaurant kitchens?