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February 1, 2009

Some extend Baltimore Restaurant Week menus

bbistro2It's an ill economy that blows nobody any good. Many places that participated in Winter Restaurant Week last week are extending their specially priced menus, including b Bistro, the Bicycle, the Black Olive, Capital Grille, Cinghiale, Ixia, Marie Louise Bistro, Meli, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Pazo, Petit Louis Bistro, the Prime Rib, Regi's, Tio Pepe, and the Wine Market, to mention a few. It seems to me that's more good places than did last year.

Check out the Restaurant Week Web site for more details, or call the restaurant you're interested in.

(Photo of b Bistro by Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:09 PM | | Comments (32)


Babalu Grill is, too. Just got an e-mail on them. Another week to go for them.

Looks like Tabrizi's has extended through the entire month. Which is good, since I already have a reservation there for next weekend...

I thought I read somewhere that some restaurants were including 2 glasses of wine with dinner. Did I imagine that? Because now I can't find where I read it. Maybe I made it up because I would like that to be the case, but I really think I read it somewhere...

Joyce, I don't know about the wine, but last night we couldn't even get water for free. No lie.

2 of us went to Meli for the extended RW last night. Had a wonderful meal (especially the duck confit) in a cool setting, all around a great time. Now, when we sat down, we were presented with what is now a standard question of whether we preferred still or sparkling water (actually, I think it is usually presented as "bottled, sparkling, or tap" but I took it as the same). We don't care about stuff like that and actually think it is a bit pretentious, so we requested still water. Our server was very attentive and made a point to refill our water glasses out of a 1 liter bottle of water every time she walked glass never got to an inch below the rim. Well, when we got the bill, it became quite obvious why she was so attentive about the water. They charged us for three 1-liter bottles of Evian (yes, I know it is Naive spelled backwards) for a total of $15. $5 a piece for a bottle water that we didn't technically order, and that we did NOT know we were being charged for. Besides the fact that there is no way in hell that we drank 3 1-liter bottles of water. In addition to water, I was already drinking a $12 martini, and we both had coffee with dessert, so water was just a side note.

Needless to say, when we got the bill we were pretty pissed, but paid it anyway because we didn't make a stink about it. But now, the more and more I think about it, the more pissed off I am, and I'm considering calling the manager today. What would you do? Am I being unreasonable?

Dawn, I one time drank the bottled water on the counter in a hotel room in Arizona. Since it was just sitting out I thought it must be free. I learned an expensive lesson. Like $10 per bottle lesson. When I complained the manager pointed out the fine print on the hope you enjoy stay card that was attached to the bottles. When I got home I got glasses.

Wow Dawn - I would never even think that they'd charge for water! Yes, I'd be pissed. For what it's worth, I think you should call or write the mananger.

My first choice would be for you to email the manager, so that you could share the response here. Since there is no email address listed on their website, so I definitely think a phone call is in order.

No, Dawn, I think you inadvertently did order the water by requesting "still" water instead of tap. That just means bottled water without fizz. Now if they start charging for tap water, then I will be steamed.

In addition to the expense (which would be enough to make me mad - I generally think that only suckers pay for water when there's a tap around), there's been such a backlash against bottled water and how bad it is for the environment, that you wouldn't think anyone would just presume to basically force that on people, anyway.

Personally, I'm too much of a wimp to call and complain, but I hope you do.


The roof the roof the roof is on fire
The roof the roof the roof is on fire
The roof the roof the roof is on fire
We don't need no water let the *&(*&*^(*!% burn
Burn %@!(#)(*#&*& burn

Dawn - I think it is reasonable to call and at least bring your concerns to the attention of the manager. The waitress should have told you of the charge when it was offered to you. Plus the fact that she continued to fill your glass...Err, now I'M getting mad...

I think both of these things are true:

A) they were trying to "sell" you something.
B) they were not trying to rob you.

I think you should absolutely call the manager but my advice is not to put him on the defensive. ($5/liter bottle doesn't sound so bad...)

Update: So, I decided to call and speak to the manager. I told him how wonderful of a dinner we had, and how great the service had been, etc. I then went on to explain the water situation, and we had a mild disagreement, though both of us were very congenial throughout the conversation. He said that he has never been to a restaurant where he hasn't been charged for water service, and I said that I have never been charged for water because I never drink anything other than tap, which was NOT offered. The server specifically said, "still or sparkling?", which I naively (or Evian-ly, I guess) assumed to be regular water. Normally, the question is posed as "bottled, sparkling, or tap", so apparently the elimation of the tap option totally threw me off. Oh, and I also told him that I was shocked that the two of us could have possibly drank three 1-liter bottles of water, to which he admitted was definitely an overcharge, and that our server must have added another table's water to our tab, since three bottles would normally serve a table of six.

The end result is that he offered to either refund the price of the overcharged water, or send me a gift certificate. I told him to do whatever he thought would be best suited to the situation, and he took my address to send me a gift certificate. Needless to say, I will be requesting tap water upon our next visit. And yes, there will be another visit, because despite the water debacle, we had a fantastic dinner, and yummm, that duck confit, oh my!

Dawn - glad it worked out for you so well. I'm still confused though. Where was the "tap" water choice given? Or were you suppossed to ask for it?

My husband usually asks for "Eau de Baltimore," Dawn.

Joyce, "tap" was not given as an option verbally, but according to the manager, it is available if you ask. To me, leaving the "tap" option unspoken is relatively deceiving, and why he and I were verbally sparing the point. But, according to the manager, they have no intention of changing their water service procedures, regardless of what I think.

Dahlink...the funny part of all of this is that before we even knew we were being charged for the "bottled, still, naive" water, we kept joking about the server filling up the bottles with what we call "Agua de Loch Raven" (spoken with a Spanish flair, of course).

you got screwed. the presentation of options was scripted. they think that some people won't ask for tap water for fear of looking uncool. si they sold you three bottles of water and yet at no time was the actual bottle on your table? lame

just like when they they ask what kind of vodka you want in your vodka and tonic. They want you to name some highly advertised overpriced conspicuous consumption stuff instead of rail.

Still waters run deep
we know you're not cheap
but fifteen bucks for
three liters is steep.

Dawn, next time just say "oh snap, I mean tap".

ceramic kitty: Today I found a message floating in the sea from you to me.

The cat's in the bag and the bag's in the river.

You are delightfully vexing LL. meow

That was horrible and I would have positively flipped when I got the bill. It was horrendously dishonest and they would NEVER get another dime of my money. There are always other places.

Shoo kitty.

girl/girl flirtation at D@L? hmmmm, I may be able to stop watching Logo.

Speaking of girls - where is the girl squad? Haven't seen Bacon, Cinnamon or Lemon Girl in quite a while and very little of Bourbon Girl.

there are male kitties. i guess you're going on the idea that all cats are female and all dogs male. just a silly name

I'd like to think that they are too busy with pillows fights to blog. Maybe it's time for a D@L happy hour.

For heaven's sake man, we're actors, not judges!

of course ceramic kitty! Just enjoying the moment for what (I though) it was! LOL!

That's "thought" no "though". No tickets from the spelling police please!!

Still waters run deep
we know you're not cheap
but fifteen bucks for
three liters is steep.

Dawn, next time just say "oh snap, I mean tap".

Love it!!

Wanted to give the latest update on the drinking water debacle we experienced during RW. The last I left it, I had a nice but challenging conversation with the manager of the restaurant, and he had offered to send me a gift certificate.

Over a week later, the gift certificate had still not arrived, so I had to make a 2nd phone call to the restaurant. When I 1st called, the person who answered the phone identified himself as the owner. I explained the situation to him, and he then put me on hold. The next person to pick up the phone was a manager, and of course, I reached a different manager than originally, and so had to explain the story for a 3rd time. This manager said that it must have just been an oversight, and I expressed my opinion that it was less of an oversight and more of a brush-off. The manager insisted that this was not the case, and that he would be sure to put a gift cert in the mail to me that day.

So, yesterday, I received the gift card in the mail. No note and no indication as to how much it is worth. It could be $5, it could be $500 (yeah, right) for all I know. Just thrown into an envelope, as they could not take 2 seconds to mark the gift card with the denomination. Am I being oversensitive to this situation, or should the manager at least taken a moment to stick on a post-it with 6 words, "Sorry for the inconvenience...The Management"? Do you think that the denomination was purposely left off?

Dawn, you could send the gift card to Mayor Dixon. I'm sure she could put it to good use.

Dawn, I'll bet it's worth fifteen dollars.

Dawn, I know that I am late to this discussion but I think that I would call to ask what the certificate's value was. I would couch it in something like not wanting to be embarrassed at the end of dinner to find that the certificate was not valid. I would even direct them to this blog posting. Let them feel a bit uncomfortable. I know that there are two sides to every story, but what happened to you is just not right.

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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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