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Cozy dining room serving nouveau American cuisine with an even smaller stage. Wednesday nights catch live Celtic, folk, jazz, and blues performers.
Birches is a dual-purpose neighborhood restaurant. On weekday evenings, it's a drop-by destination for treats from the wood-burning grill--hamburgers and pizza, available with foodie-pleasing toppings like chipotle aioli, roasted shallots, applewood-smoked bacon, and Gruyère. On Friday and Saturday nights, it's a retreat for savvy, grown-up comfort food--wood-grilled steaks and seafood, chicken Benedict, and a dream-come-true steak sandwich. Meal-spanning musts: the cobb salad and the all-fired-up chocolate cake. The space is cozy and the staff is superfriendly, but one caveat: The bill quietly creeps up.
Unpretentious and hearty fare predominate the menu at this casual restaurant, prettily landscaped within a north-county shopping center. Typically winning dish: scallops chinois, which alternates sizable bivalve mollusks with fresh orange slices, all in a zippy peanut dressing.
A work-in-progress worth watching. The kitchen here can soar: A pistachio-encrusted rack of lamb is stellar, as is a poblano-encrusted chicken breast. If you had a magic wand, though, you'd do something about the general ambiance, which was a bit stiff when we last visited. The cool-cat downstairs bar has caught on and may buoy up the dining potential.
Chameleon Café is one of those truly magical, invaluable local restaurants where the food is always inventive and excellent yet well-priced, the wine list is intelligently chosen, and a table is almost always available. The menu changes seasonally but always shows classic Continental flare with offerings like braised veal cheeks with grapes and cremini mushrooms or house-made charcroute garni. Despite the sophisticated menu, Chameleon has a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere and knowledgeable but affable servers. Don't miss the house-made desserts. Kudos to chef/co-owner--and Parkville native--Jeff Smith for returning to the 'hood to bring us this stellar but comfortable bistro.
With the some of the best Maryland crab soup anywhere, Gertrude's is the spot for Free State foodies, thanks to celebrity chef John Shields' artfully prepared seasonal menu, which is heavy on the seafood and easy on the eyes. The build-your-own entrées are popular here, as are the gorgeous crab cakes. Rivaling the food for tasteful flair is the outdoor patio, which overlooks the Baltimore Museum of Art's meandering sculpture garden. A perfect place to impress out-of-towners without breaking the bank; also ideal for a quiet lunch among the academic cognoscenti of adjacent Johns Hopkins University.
This committed, urbane Canton restaurant deploys a comfortable but stylish date-place vibe, an affordable wine list, and well-rehearsed bistro dishes like pan-seared pecan-encrusted trout, blackened beef salad, and lamb brined and sauteed with honey, grapes, and feta. Regulars avoid the packed half-price entree night on Wednesday, a victim of its own success. Impromptu trivia games erupt at the street-level wine bar, home of the self-proclaimed "Baltimore's longest happy hour" and a favorite retreat for more settled Cantonites.
Happy hour specials Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m., and live music seven nights a week. If there is a cover (not always) it is only around $5.
When Pierpoint opened in 1989, chef Nancy Longo's little restaurant created quite a local stir. For the first time Maryland food--specifically, Chesapeake cuisine--was being treated not just seriously but reverentially. Seventeen years later the crowds might have thinned, but Pierpoint is still quietly concentrating on dishes that showcase the freshest and most excellent of local ingredients. If it's been a while since your last visit, you'll be relieved to know that the smoked crab cakes are still on the menu, and the Silver Queen corn chowder still reigns as the house soup.
"Featuring Contemporary American Cuisine in a Casual Fine Dining atmosphere. Choose one of our 30 wines by the glass, or peruse the wine shop for that perfect pairing. Seating is available outside, weather permitting."
"Forego the boring buffets and spoil yourself with contemporary food created with lavish, fusion flair. Experience chef Jerry Trice’s culinary twists on classic regional cuisine, unique signature dishes, and modern interpretations on sushi with an international flair at this energetic, often frenetic locally owned restaurant. Great atmosphere. Superb, friendly waitstaff. Offering brunch,lunch, dinner, carry-out, banquet, and catering services. Recipient of the 2005 Washingtoninan Restaurant Award for Outstanding Food, Service, Comfort and Value."
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812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201
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