Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Restaurant Week?

So I am trying to choose a restaurant from the Baltimore Restaurant Week list that will offer the most bang for my buck. Saki is coming for another Wednesday excursion in Baltimore and would like a hip and bustling locale with substantial course options. I typically like to choose restaurants that are normally out of my price range, so the couple I am contemplating thus far for her visit address her expectations and my penny pincher ways...who am I kidding- I am such a splurger.

Here is a run down of the Restaurant Week options I am considering... my course selections are in l'orange :)
*Worth noting- three of my potential selections are Charleston Group Restaurants. They must be doing something right!*

Option 1: Cinghiale (Italian)
Located in Harbor East, has both Enoteca for more casual wine bar feel; Osteria for a white tablecloth, elegant dinner. Been there before, Osteria is a little too fancy for me. Restaurant week course options are minimal...

First Course Options:
Squash Soup- Caprino "Crostini", Basil, Lemon
Local Heirloom Tomato Salad-Fresh Basil, Sportoletti Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Second Course Options:
Garganelli All'Uovo Pasta- Gulf Shrimp, Local Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes
Braised Lamb Leg- Roasted Local Sweet Peppers, Smoked Garlic Sauce

Third Course Options:
Vanilla Panna Cotta- Local Peaches, Amaretti
Local Stone Fruits- Zabaglione, Pound Cake

Option 2: Pazo (Tapas)
Right on outskirts of Harbor East, elaborate Tapas Restaurant with Italian/Spanish/Meditteranian influence-lavish interior, normally very busy.

Pa Amb Tomaquet-toasted country bread, tomato & jamon
Ceviche-tuna, scallops, & shrimp marinated in citrus juices with crispy tortillas
Mixed Olives-five varieties with herbs
Arugula Salad with local summer fruit & sherry vinaigrette
Empanadas with salsa verde
Samfaina-traditional Catalan braise of summer vegetables
Grilled Shrimp with salmoriglio sauce
*I guess you get ALL of these (to share)

Choice of one per guest:
Wood Grilled Strip Steak Smoked potatoes & romescu
Grilled Tuna Summer vegetables & lemon oil
Malloreddus alla Norma house made pasta with eggplant, tomato, garlic & pecorino

Choice of one per guest:
Pazo Chocolate Cupcakes white chocolate mousse & salted caramel
Crema Catalana traditional custard scented with lemon & cinnamon

At least there is a lot of diversity? I like the spectrum of tapas and simple "entree" tapas options. Ambience will always make up for any menu shortcomings; almost.

Option 3: Salt Tavern (New American)
Patterson Park/Butchers Hill area. "Innovative renditions of classic American dishes"- reminds me of Bicycle for some reason...

First Course Options:
House Salad-Fresh mixed greens, marinated tomatoes, kalamata olives, red wine vinaigrette and shaved parmesan regginano
Boston Bibb Lettuce and Watermelon Salad-Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, balsamic reduction
Eastern Shore Corn and Shrimp Chowder-Applewood bacon, fresh thyme
Corvina Ceviche-Ginger, lime, cilantro, aji amarillo, red onion, cusco corn, sweet potatoes
Crispy Hoisin DuckSpring Roll-Spicy chinese, mustard dipping sauce
Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels-Tomato, basil, roasted garlicSpicy Pork
Manchego Cheese Empanada-Jalapeno jelly, black bean sauce

Second Course Options:
Oven Roasted Salmon-Wilted baby spinach, crab and tomato butter
Grilled Giant Prawns-Roasted chickpeas, lemon, olive oil, garlic brioche
Grilled White Fish Tostados-Cabbage, red onion, avocado, grilled orange, cilantro, queso fresco
Spicy Peanut Braised Pork Shank-Udon noodle stir-fry
Grilled Lamb Sirloin-Curried carrot fritter, watercress and bean salad, feta vinaigrette
Fresh Pasta with Corn, Asparagus and Chiles-Sweet corn butter, fresh thyme, shaved pecorino romano
Grilled Skirt Steak-Plantain, grilled red onions, chimichurri sauce

Third Course Options:
Goat Cheese Donuts-Lavendar honey, vanilla sea salt, coffee ice cream
Fresh Berries-Lemoncello whipped cream on a sweet croissantChocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich-Fresh Meyer Lemon Sorbet with Cookie

Option 4: Louisana Restaurant (French/Creole)
Fells Point. Upscale southern, creole style french cuisine.

First Course Options:
Mixed Field Greens Salad-tossed in a light lemon basil vinaigrette with hearts of palm, roasted Holland red peppers, and crisp parmesan
Red Wine Poached Pears and Candy Walnuts-tossed with mixed field greens, crumble blue cheese and blue cheese vinaigrette
Louisiana crab bisque-garnisheed with jumbo lump crab
Fried Green Tomato's-layered with jumbo lump crab and topped with a citrus chive buerre blanc

Second Course Options:
Blackened Salmon with potato croquette, house vegetable and crayfish buerre blanc
Blackened Jumbo Shrimp and Grits with corn emulsion and vegetables
Slow Cooked Duck Confit with sweet potato, house vegetable and a dried cherry sauce
Grilled Black Angus New York Strip Steak Accompanied with herb potato puree, house vegetables and red wine demiglace
Pan Seared Sea Bass With potato croquette, house vegetable and crayfish buerre blanc (Additional $5.00)
Grilled Black Angus Filet Mignon with herb potato puree, house vegetable and red wine demiglace (Additional $5.00)

Third Course Options:
Apple Beignet
Bread Pudding Chocolate Mousse

Featuring the entire Restaurant Week menu is getting excessive. These are my TOP 4 picks. Some additional considerations include The Wine Market and B- Bolton Hill...

Their special prix fixe menus can be found here.

I need insight people! Reservations must be made tonight for tomorrow's din din.

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