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January 18, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday -- non-boring Baltimore Restaurant Week menu items

worleyI spent some time looking over the posted menus on the website of Baltimore Restaurant Week, which begins this Friday.


Well, boring is not such a bad thing. Most restaurants are running selected specials, the tried and the true, from their regular menus, which is just what many diners are looking for.

And a deal is a deal. When it's a deal. Stay tuned to these pages for recaps and postings of the best and the worst Restaurant Week experiences.

Meanwhile, I managed to find 10 Restaurant Week menu items that made my heart leap, at least a little. Some of them look new to me, a few I've seen before.

In no particular order

Watertable -- I still haven't been to the restaurant in the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Shame on me. I was impressed with the Restaurant Week menu, though. What got my attention was this entree: Pincanha -- Brazilian grilled steak with black beans and rice. It's be swell if it's the right cut.

Slainte -- Pub menus are particularly disappointing. But take a look at the appetizer list at this Fells Point pub -- poutine fries, green leek soup, and, especially tempting, mushroom gnudi (gnocchi), fried golden with brown butter and sage.

Mr. Rain's Fun House -- And not because the restaurant atop the American Visionary Art Museum is hosting the Dining@Large happy hour. Take a look at the menu for yourself. What caught my eye -- the braised rabbit in pearl onion, garlic and marjoram sauce, a dish created to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year.

Pazo -- For their second course, participating diners here choose 4 from among 18 listed tapas. What made me hungriest -- the scallops a la planxa with celery root puree.

The Wine Market -- Nothing against bread pudding and chocolate cake and creme brulee but it sure was nice to see the occasional inventive dessert. I am saving room for the chocolate pretzel pave here, made with Dijon caramel, salted milk chocolate powder, oatmeal stout ice cream.

Chameleon Cafe -- It's back; don't miss it. The Beverly Hills' restaurant's Choucroute garnie --homemade sauerkraut, Krakos sausage, pork loin, smoked belly, cheeks, and Briedenbaugh potatoes. 

B -- I could go for some bouillabaisse.

Gertrude's at the BMA -- The best Restaurant Week vegetarian entree (actually, it's vegan) I found  I found is on John Shields' menu: Housemade garlic greens and sweet Italian "Sausage" ravioli With roasted herbed tomato sauce and frizzled leeks. Nicely done.

Blue Hill Tavern -- I'm game for the Natty Boh beer cheese soup made with Tillamook cheddar at this Canton restaurant.

Bluegrass Tavern -- I'm game for the rutabaga bisque, with black river blue cheese, and pomegranate syrup at this South Baltimore restaurant.


Posted by Richard Gorelick at 1:05 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Restaurant Week, Top Ten Tuesdays


GAH! Restaurant Week! My dad will be in DC this week and wants to take us to dinner. I fully admit to still exploiting "dinner with the parents" for all it is worth. I'm VERY disappointed that all the good places are booked AND the ones that I've been wanting to try are all doing restaurant week. Can't I just get a leisurely seating at an expensive table? PLEASE? Dad doesn't visit that often....

Chameleon Cafe is in Lauraville, not Beverly Hills.

@bonnie - False. The Chameleon Cafe is on the East side of Harford Road and North of Overland Ave - squarely in Beverly hills. Beverly Hills being one of seven neighborhoods in Greater Lauraville.

The author is correct, probably because he looked at a map.

Drew, I wasn't trying to start anything, though your response felt a little abrupt to me. Maybe my post was abrupt as well, in which case, I do apologize. It's only neighborhood pride speaking...and as far as my neighborhood of Lauraville (and most press that I've seen) is concerned, Chameleon Cafe is ours.


Drew and bonnie: is it possible you are both correct?

... and thus we usher in a new era of civility... from drew's response it sounds as though Beverly Hills is a neighborhood IN Lauraville, thus making you both correct (although drew and @gorelickingood are more specific).

about the map:

even when it feels weird, as in the case of putting Chameleon in Beverly Hills instead of Lauraville, I go almost invariably with whatever this map tells me.

That's why I keep saying that Salt is in Upper Fells Point and not Brewer's Hill.

Of course, I could easily just leave out the neighborhood in most contexts, but I find it all kind of interesting.

The only exception I've been making is for restaurants that are, by common consent, in Harbor East but which show up on the map as the Inner Harbor (I figure there aren't any strong feelings about that.)

So the neighborhood location of The Chameleon Cafe, our restaurant is complicated: the building itself is technically in Beverly Hills, but the restaurant is in The Lauraville Business District- thus spawning the confusion and the debate! The Lauraville Business District extends along Harford Road from Mayfield to Echodale. It's a great hood, and we hope we will see you soon for coffee, jewelery, or scrumptious food!

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner 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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