January 24, 2012
I could talk about how Baltimore has come into its own as a foodie haven; or go on about the new restaurants on Restaurant Week’s list; or tell you how astoundingly reasonable it is to get a 3-course meal for $20 or $30.
But let’s be real. You opened this message to see the food. So let’s begin!
The Prime Rib
Yes, I *am* trying to make your mouth water. This, my friends, is The Prime Rib’s gorgeous, split-cut prime rib, cooked medium rare (the way Maitre’ D Brad Black suggested) and served with sides of buttery mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The meat was perfectly cooked. I just kept on eating ’til there was nothing left.
I also got to try the Crab Imperial: Huge chunks of lump crab meat, prepared with butter, a little salt, black pepper and that’s it – when the crab’s that fresh, you don’t need anything more!
Somehow I found room for the Key Lime Pie for dessert, which was its own fabulously tart finish. But don’t take my word for it. You can see their Restaurant Week menu here. The Prime Rib is open nightly for dinner and located at 1101 N. Calvert Street. Call 410-539-1804 for reservations. Website: http://www.theprimerib.com/bal/index.html
This, my friends, is Sascha’s famous shrimp and grits. I really enjoyed eating this. I like my grits with a little bite, and theirs is made with parmesan cheese, Andouille sausage and a lovely sriracha aioli. The shrimp were huge and the onion straws added a great texture. I had it with a glass of Moscato d’Asti.
Next, I had the carrot cake – they call it Baltimore’s Best. Believe them. I was presented with a tower of moist carrot-y, raisin goodness, drizzled with caramel and served with fresh whipped cream. I’ve been enjoying my leftovers for breakfast for the past 2 days. You can see their Restaurant Week menu here. Sascha’s is open Monday-Friday for lunch and Monday-Saturday for dinner. 527 N. Charles Street. Call 410-539-8880 for reservations. Website: http://www.saschas.com/restaurant.html
I really like the sweet and savory combination. Or, as I said in between mouthfuls, “fruit and meat.” This, my friends, is Cazbar’s cubed melon starter: with feta cheese, bacon and a drizzle of olive oil. It was the perfect palate cleanser.
Next came skewers of seasoned lamb, chicken and beef, served hot with buttery soft rice and a Shepard’s Salad (tomato and cucumbers). A smooth, garlic-yogurt dipping sauce rounded out the platter – there was a lot to eat! Which is always fantastic. As is their Turkish coffee (I like mine sweet).
The finale was a surprise – a flan-like milk pudding that was more chocolate than caramel and wayyy too easy to spoon down. You can select your own Cazbar Restaurant Week menu here. Cazbar is open daily for lunch and dinner. 316 N Charles Street. Call 410-528-1222 for reservations. Website: http://www.cazbar.pro/.
A picture says a thousand words, and these, my friends, are The Helmand’s delicious beef, chicken and lamb kabobs, cooked to an outstanding char (meat lovers know what I mean) and served with a cilantro sauce. A chopped salad and cinnamon rice are on the side. A symphony was playing in my mouth.
“Have you ever had cardamom ice cream?” I asked my seatmates. Shaking their heads no, I generously gave them a bite. They immediately placed an order. It’s hard to describe – a delicate warmth plus chilled, smooth & creamy confection. The dried figs and mango bits add a nice touch. Wow.
You can see The Helmand’s entire Restaurant Week menu here. The Helmand is open nightly for dinner and is located at 806 N. Charles St. Call 410-752-0311 for reservations. Website: http://www.helmand.com/
The Brewer’s Art
Vegetables had been conspicuously absent from my culinary adventure thus far, so I made a point to order The Brewer’s Art Beet and Blood Orange Salad. Talk about a good decision. The meaty beets were paired with sweet blood orange slices, cherry glen goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts. If veggies were always this tasty, I’d eat them more often!
For dinner, I had the Utz-crusted (that’s right, as in potato chips) cod with horseradish potato mousseline and sweet and sour red cabbage. Chef Dave Newman’s food isn’t just delicious; it’s incredibly creative, too. The Brewer’s Art is open nightly for dinner – see their full Restaurant Week menu here. They’re located at 1106 N. Charles Street. Call 410-547-6925 for reservations. Website: http://www.thebrewersart.com/
B&O American Brasserie
This, my friends, is the B&O American Brasserie’s delicious Murray’s farm chicken – that’s a whole half chicken: leg, breast and wing. The skin was crispy and the inside moist. It was served with tangy Tobasco onions, a collard green risotto (the rice was perfect) and a grain mustard jus. Mmm.
I love lemon and was happy to see the Meyer Lemon bars for dessert: cornmeal crust, lemon custard and a drizzle of blueberry sauce. That’s olive oil sherbert next to it – what a bright way to end the meal!
You can see the B&O American Brasserie’s full Restaurant Week menu here. They’re open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and located at 2 N Charles Street. Call 443-692-6172 for reservations. Website: http://www.bandorestaurant.com/
Bonus: Sammy’s Trattoria
And this, my friends, is Sammy’s Trattoria house specialty: Judge Sweeney’s Pappardelle Alla Bolognese. Being Italian, I know good pasta, and his is 100% homemade. It was tossed in a beef, pork, pancetta and vegetable meat sauce. The noodles were light and the sauce was meaty – a lovely meal for a wintry evening.
Make sure you say hi to Sally; she is lovely to talk to. Actually, she mentioned that Sammy’s isn’t participating in Restaurant Week. Whoops! Somebody made her stomach the Research Director for Restaurant Week (what can I say, I love to eat). But you know what? The food is so nice and prices always reasonable, it’s worth a visit, even this week. Sammy’s Trattoria is open Tuesday-Friday for lunch and nightly for dinner. Weekend brunch from 11am-3pm. Located at 1200 N. Charles Street. Call 410-837-9999 for reservations. www.sammystrattoria.com.
Fun Things To Do The Rest of This Week
Mah Jong tiles
On Friday, January 27, from 6pm-9pm, brush off those Scrabble skills and come to Board and Table Game Night at the Woman’s Industrial Kitchen. There’ll be Monopoly, Bridge, Canasta and Mah Jong (something I’ve always wanted to learn), too. $15 for food and drinks. 333 N. Charles Street. Phone 410-244-6450. http://womansindustrialkitchen.com/.
Also Friday, January 27th, our friends at Station North are hosting some R&R from 5pm-8pm at their North Avenue Market. There’ll be ambient music, aromatherapy sessions, tea, relaxing light installations, and even hammocks – talk about a way to ‘power down’! The North Avenue Market is located at 16 W. North Avenue. RSVP on Facebook or visit their website: http://www.stationnorth.org/finalfridays.
Sunday, January 29th, from 1-3pm, ring in the Chinese New Year at The Walters Art Museum! 2012 is the year of the Dragon, a lucky and mighty animal in the Chinese Zodiac; you and your little one can create your own powerful, dragon-inspired works of art. Free. 600 N Charles Street. Phone 410-547-9000. Website: http://thewalters.org/.
Also on Sunday, at 5:30pm hear An Die Musik’s Roots Cafe Singer-Songwriter series. Adam “Red Sammy” Trice and Tony Denikos will be performing – Adam describes the duo as a “graveyard-country-rock band.” In fact, its name references Flannery O’Connor’s 1955 short story, “A Good Man is Hard To Find.” Cool. Tickets $7 in advance and $9 at the door. An Die Musik is located at 409 N. Charles Street. Call 410-385-2638 for tickets. http://andiemusiklive.com/calendar.cfm.
And on Tuesday, January 31, join historian Harry Ezratty at the Enoch Pratt Central Library as he discusses Baltimore’s role in the Civil War. Did you know that the first blood was spilled in the streets of Baltimore in 1861? Ezratty narrates how those events impacted the rest of the war and discusses what happened when Baltimore became a ‘city occupied.’ 400 Cathedral Street. Phone 410-396-5430. http://www.prattlibrary.org/.
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This Week’s Trivia
Congrats to everyone who correctly answered last week’s challenging question! Our Historic Charles Street logo is a contemporary representation of the view from the top of the Washington Monument.
This week, instead of a question, try entering to win a $25 lunch gift certificate. Restaurant Week is giving out one every day on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BaltimoreRestaurantWeek.
Good luck! And good eats.
One Final Note
Thanks again to everyone who has supported our member businesses for Restaurant Week. I myself ate at all seven restaurants for this issue over an intense, 3-day period. What can I say, it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! ;)
Until next week,
The Historic Charles Street Association (HCSA) is a non-profit organization, 501 (c)(3),whose mission is to support and promote the businesses, cultural attractions, entertainment venues, restaurants and retail establishments along the Charles Street corridor. HCSA serves as a problem solving and information resource for its members, as well as provides a forum for networking, communication and collaboration.