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January 21, 2009

Winter Restaurant Week's new restaurants



I was curious if Baltimore's Winter Restaurant Week, which kicks off tomorrow, had any new entries this year. It seems likely that more places might decide to participate, given the economy.

Indeed, there are a number of first-time restaurants offering the three-course menu for $30.09: Luckie's Tavern, Geisha, Mt. Washington Tavern, Bo Brooks, J. Pauls, Frank & Nic’s, Regi’s, Meridian 54, Marie Louis Bistro and Lucas Café. Rather than link each one individually, I'm going to do it the lazy way and send you to the Baltimore Restaurant Week Web site. ...



More than 90 area restaurants are participating this time. The special deals, which include some lunches for $20.09, run through Feb. 1. Some will surely continue for even longer, as they have in the past.

As usual, I'm hoping experienced Restaurant Week goers will offer tips for those who want to try the event for the first time. I'm also hoping those who participate this weekend will let us know if their meal was a good one, and if the economy has encouraged restaurants to give us more bang for our bucks.

(Photo of Frank & Nic's West End Grille by Amy Davis/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 5:16 PM | | Comments (12)


Thanks for the quick link. I am intrigued by the filed-by-title but undescribed 5 course Slavic tasting menu at Ze Mean Bean.

Meridan 54 is the old Red Fish on Boston Street. I think I might give it a try next week.

I'm signed up to try Yellow Dog this Sat. Never heard of Yellow Dog. Just decided why not. It's some place new. The menu looked intriguing. I've only participated in Restaurant Week once, in How Co, by accident. Though it was a nice showing at Ranazul.

During the past few years, our favorite Restaurant Week destinations were Brasserie Tatin and Tio Pepe. Sadly, Tatin is no longer an option but Pepe remains a tempting choice, especially when the silky black bean soup and paella are offered. Big surprise annually is the number of restaurants that post 'Menu Coming Soon' not just days before the promotion period -- but during it. If they're that disinterested, why bother?

I had dinner at Yellow Dog with a few friends recently, and the experience was quite good. The cajun slaw was delicious.

Michael, that has always annoyed me as well. I am sure it is just laziness.

Big, I have been to Yellow Dog several time. Not a bad place. Their food changes a bit, so I am not sure what they are having this year.

I recently went to Meridian 54, and it lived up to the reputation Red Fish established for itself -- that is, it was disappointing. My boyfriend and I walked into a dead empty restaurant on a Saturday night at 7. In a giant room full of tables, they sat us at a tiny two-top. A brunette woman gave us the wine list, and explained they were out of many of their wines -- conveniently, all the affordable choices. The cheapest bottle was $30. We settled for two glasses of mediocre wine at $8 each. That would be the only wine we would have, since by the time we finished the glasses partway through our meal, no one returned to check on us. They dropped the food and ignored us for the rest of the meal. Just to get the check, my boyfriend had to walk up to the bar (in the other room, where the blond female bartender was having a shouted conversation with someone who appeared to be a close girlfriend) and offer his credit card. We ordinarily wouldn't have been in such a rush for the check, but it had become apparent we had to go to another establishment if we wanted more wine.
The food was okay. We decided to share three apps. Sampler platter of three dips was the highlight -- warm pita bread, great crab dip, tasty artichoke dip, and I can't remember the third. Lobster on the lobster mac and cheese came plain on a separate plate and was overcooked. The orechiette used as "mac" was undercooked. Many of the mussels (this will teach me to order mussels at a non-seafood-specialty restaurant) on the mussels platter were extremely fishy, other mussels were mushy and grainy (clearly overcooked).
Also, the three large platters of food hardly fit on the tiny two-top (in a still-empty dining room) but the waitress just dropped them and walked away. We moved ourselves to a nearby four-top immediately after.
Maybe Meridian 54 is still getting its act together. I have friends who love it. But I won't be going back.

Michael A Grey, it doesn't look like Tio Pepe is participating this go-around. I'm disappointed b/c it was next on my list for Restaurant Week. Does anyone know anything to the contrary?

Apparently some restaurants have their RW menus posted on their own website. If that is the case then they should not say "menu coming soon" on the RW website. I printed several menus from the RW website and I will be making my selections from these.

Paza Luna's menu is on their website and it says that it's only for weekdays. I wouldn't have known that if I didn't check the website though.

Bethie -- Look for "Restaurante Tio Pepe" and you'll find it listed. I was confused the first time, too, when I searched for it under the letter "T."

Had dinner with DH and my father at The Oceanaire, a restaurant we usually find too expensive. And we stuck mostly with the RW menu. Everything was excellent. The salmon was flakey and flavorful, the huge chunk of pork cooked perfectly. Just be aware that you order all your sides a la carte-which is standard; not just for RW. Unless you are a millionare, I suggest trying for the early bird specials here.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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