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January 27, 2010

Unexpected restaurants for Valentine's Day

RomanticRestaurant.jpgI've been putting it off, but really the time has come to settle on a Valentine's Day Top 10 topic.

After all, eating out is a Valentine's tradition these days. (I don't think it used to be.) And if I'm going to do a list, I almost have to do it next Tuesday so readers will have time to get a reservation.

Even though I know better, I, too, have started going out with my husband on Valentine's. My solution to the crowds is to pick a place that works for me but isn't a traditionally romantic/expensive restaurant. ...

Sure, the Milton Inn in Sparks has great atmosphere and a fireplace. And nothing says "I love you" like a hunk o' beef at the Prime Rib. But I'm looking for more obscure suggestions from you.

And you have to be able to justify those suggestions. You can't just say Chuck E. Cheese is a good choice because no one will be there for Valentine's Day.

These have to be restaurants that are romantic in some way or doing something nice for the occasion, but maybe haven't been around long enough to get a romantic reputation so they won't be booked on Feb. 2.

I'll give you an example. I just got an e-mail from B & O American Brasserie saying it will have a three-course prix fixe menu for $36 and a five-course menu for $52 on Saturday and Sunday evenings of Valentine’s Day weekend. (The regular menu is also available.)

The idea is to come up with nine more like this that readers might not think of without our list. 

Here are the B & O's menus. I hope you like lamb:

B & O Crab Bisque

Main Course
A choice of Mustard Crusted Lamb Loin with Beluga Lentils or Braised Shank and Red Pepper Reduction

Sugar Doughnut Holes with White Chocolate Cream


First Course
B & O Crab Bisque

Second Course
Grilled Boneless Quail with Chipotle BBQ and Jicama Slaw

Third Course
Crispy Skinned Barramundi with Roasted Beets, Grilled Scallion and a Port Wine Reduction
Main Course
A choice of either the Mustard Crusted Lamb Loin with Beluga Lentils or Braised Shank and Red Pepper Reduction
Sugar Doughnut Holes

Another idea: In the same press release was this sentence:

In addition to the prix fixe menus created by Chef Reidt, B&O American Brasserie’s Head Bartender Brendan Dorr has created Love Potion #42, an elixir of passion with 42 Below Vodka that will work magic from Feb. 13-14 for $10.

I suppose I could make a list of the Top 10 Love Potions. Suggestions, Sam

(AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:26 PM | | Comments (22)


We'll be at a wedding on Valentine's Day. The groom will have nowhere to hide if he forgets their anniversary!

Go to a Chinese restaurant -- plus, 2/14 is Chinese New Year's this year! I recommend Hunan Legend in Dorsey Search, Howard County.

I was thinking Chinese New Year restaurants could be the Feb. 9 Top 10. :-) EL

Who actually calls it Dorsey's Search, Howard County?

And who would recommend Hunan Legand over Hunan Manor in Howard County?

How about Dukem, the Ethiopian restaurant? Something romantic about feeding each other choice bites by hand, and very cheap, off the beaten path for Valentine's Day, and vegetarian-friendly. Even the honey wine sounds wildly romantic (though - gak! - having tasted it, I can't actually recommend it...)

captcha: the johnson. No comment.

In my book, nothing beats a romanitic dinner at Antrim 1844--and if you really want to impress, an overnight stay with brunch next morning is the topper. It's surprisingly affordable.

protest dapperer (my well-dressed hippy name)

Having eaten a few times at the B&O Brasserie (and not knowing the first thing about romance), I'd think it'd be a good choice, especially their desserts.

Make your reservation early
Sunday February 14th 2010

3 Course Dinner @ $60.00 per Couple
Or a
4 Course Dinner with 2 glasses of Sparkling Dessert Wine
@ $72.00 per Couple
Just enjoy our Special
À la Cart menu

I find the Ze Mean Bean on Fleet Street to be romantic in a cozy, down to earth kind of way. Especially when they have live jazz. I also think eating at a cozy bar with your significant other can be romantic. Maybe it’s just because you are so close to your partner, I don’t know. The bar at Annabelle Lee is romantic even though its been a mad house in there recently and impossible to get a seat.

I was at Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen last night and Farid, the owner, told me he is making Valentine's night a reservations affair that will feature the regular menu as well as specials cooked by his mom. Still BYOB.

The BMA is doing couples yoga and a tour of "romantic" works of art so you could eat (lightly) at Gertrude's, which has a menu of aphrodisiac foods and then do yoga...

captcha: nasalize eachother

No no no, Baltofoodie--no eating before yoga!

I just read on a friend's Facebook page that White Castle is now accepting Valentine's Day reservations. Apparently they put out white table cloths and candles, or something.

I'm probably the world's least romantic woman, but even I know better than to take someone on a date to White Castle!

I don't know why you keep saying you are not a romantic. It is you who finds Sarah McLachlan's "Possession" a love song, correct?

Yes, Trixie, which probably goes far towards explaining why I'm single.

Laugh all you want.

I once took a homecoming date to 7-11 for Big Bites for dinner.

Romance, thy name is Odie B.

Cyrano, Don Juan, all hail your new king, Odie B! Learn the mystery; the hallowed mystery of his mighty ways!

captcha: endeared walter No, can't say i have, actually...

Odie B, I think you may be even less smooth on a date than I am.

Were you female, I'd ask you out.

I hope you at least also treated her to a Big Gulp, Odie B.

What can I say? An atheist at an all-boys Catholic School taking a riot grrrl to the dance?

The juxtaposition made sense at the time. Still does, to be honest.

It was slurpees or nothin', Trix.

Always smooth, stay classy.

Ah, Brain Freeze...You are (or at least were!) hard core Odie!


I gave up the present tense when I found a patch of gray hair in my facial hair yesterday.

thanks sharing

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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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