I was looking for a nice restaurant for my wife and I to try for my birthday. I had procrastinated until the day of the meal to decide which restaurant to go to, so getting a reservation to the nice restaurants in Baltimore proved impossible. I checked this board and found good mentions of Monocacy Crossing. Since they had a 6:00 reservation still available we decided to try it.
I am glad we did. It is a pretty drive once you get off of I-70 with the restaurant located in an old house / tavern off of a small, curvey two-lane road. My wife and I were dressed casually, that is, business casual - we both had on a decent shirt and pants, but not a dress or suit. Others in the restaurant dressed a little more informally although some were people dressed in suits and one party was wearing tuxedos. The restaurant has a very comfortable and inviting atmosphere.
The food was very good. We split an appetizer of duck nachos which turned out to be a very interesting mix of corn chips, corn and black bean salsa, a decent cheddar, and stewed duck meat that tasted like it had been prepared with some fruit. It was an interesting taste combination, the sweet duck meat agreeing well with the corn. There was a fair amount of liquid, but the chips stood up well. My wife had beef medallions wrapped in applewood smoked bacon topped with garlic & herb goat cheese. This was accompanied by mashed potatoes and perfectly grilled asparagus. My wife is a picky eater but even she was impressed with the beef preparation. She asked for it medium and it was perfectly done. She could taste the beef flavor and the marinade, neither one overwhelming the other. I had the bouillabaisse which was more food than I was expecting. The entire plate was ringed with mussels and there were several scallops and a good piece of white fish and many shrimp. It was good, though a little salty, but not so salty that it prevented me from enjoying it.
The menu suggests a wine pairing for each entree. I tried the wine pairing for the bouillabaisse. I'm really not a wine person, but this wine (sorry, forget the name) matched the dish perfectly. They will let you taste any of the wines that are by-the-glass to see if you like it, so on a return visit I may try a few so as to broaden my wine horizons.
We each had dessert. My wife had the chocolate covered cheese cake which was a medium bodied cheese cake drizzled with chocolate sauce and accompanied with whipped cream spike with Grand Marnier. I had a apple-blueberry crisp a la mode. Both desserts were good and provided a nice ending to the meal.
The service was very good. Knowledgeable and friendly, not at all stuffy. I never had to ask for more water and the courses were spaced very well.
Someone asked if the restaurant here compared to L'Auberge Chez Francois. It's not as formal (or French) as Chez Francois and while the service here is very attentive, Chez Francois goes beyond attentive to proactive. So IMO Monocacy Crossing isn't the 'occasion' restaurant Chez Francois is, but I will probably go back more often because it's more relaxed with very good food and very good service.
With a shared appetizer, two entries, two desserts, one glass of wine, and one iced-tea, the total came to $80 + tip. We will likely go back again.