Charleston in Baltimore: Excellent. Great service. Nice wine selection. Wonderful meal. One of the best of the entire trip. I decided on a three course meal, which was a bit too much but not that much too much. They also have a tasting menu but I had just traveled all day and that sounded a bit heavy. As a single diner I sat in the lounge (my choice) and enjoyed people watching and the view out the window. Went with the waiters suggestions in each category. The husk roasted white corn and sweet onion bisque was excellent, among the best i've tasted. Savory sweet and delicious. The second course was the signature fried green tomato "sandwich" with lobster and lump crab hash. Very very nice. A bit heavy but delicious. The third course was a lamb loin/tenderloin with a delicous garlic flan. I loved the flan--nothing like gooey dessert flans, this was more a like a polenta. Lovely. The meat was perfectly cooked medium rare and in a boubon sauce. Excellent all around.
City Cafe: Nice breakfasts, simple menu. I just had some eggs and sausage, wheat toast and potatoes, which does't sound exciting but it can be hard to find passable breakfasts randomly and this was great. Nice, friendly staff.
O'Bryki's: might have spelled that wrong. Lovely crab cake is their signature dish. Best I've ever had. Not like the overly fried stuff you get in LA. This was very lightly cooked and bursting with crab. Also had a couple steamed stone crabs in their signature spicy sauce. My first time. Nothign to compare it to. But delicious. Friendly waitress taught me how to use the hammer and special knife, etc. Good value.
Michel Richard Patisserie: Overall disappointing. They did a nice job of seating me with a view of the kitchen, but the waiter lacked direction on the menu. I asked for suggestions but he did the "everything's good thing." The amuse bouche was a weird mix of tomatos and onions--way too many onions served in a shot glass. Except it was the wrong texture to shoot, and the little spoon didn't do much towards the bottom of the cup. Not that I even finished it. My first course was a selecition of sashimi in an interesting oil. I cringed when they poured some sort of gaspachio-like thing on top of it. Totally ruined the sublte flavor of the fish. I ended up trying to practically squeege the fish to salvage it. Terrible. I ordered a white wine with it, which was ok but nothing pairs well with too much onion. When my main course came they didn't bring my wine. I waited and waited, but they had apparently forgotten I had ordered it. Then when he did bring it (after I asked) he brought the wrong one. The quail I had for my main was low on flavor. I've had much, much better. The greens it was served with were drenched in butter. They tasted like butter not veggies. Dessert--honestly I forget what it was--something chocolaty was unmemorable.
Kinkead's for dinner the next night was ok. I was happy when the bartender was great with wine pairings. Took that as a good sign, but our waitress was really young and inexperienced. Nice but inexperienced. The food was overall just very, very average. My friend's whole seabass wasn't deboned. For over $30, it should have been. Nothing stands out really, just very very average food. Wine selection on pinot jumps from a $34 bottle to ones over $200. Nothing in between. Sigh.
Old Public House Pub or something in Alexandria: Cute, old-fashioned but great burgers with the meat ground in beer and spices and onions. Loved it. I wouldn't venture into the fancier stuff there, but the burger hit the spot.
***Minibar: I'm writinig a separate review on this one. Read it tomorrow.
Sweet Basil in Bethesda: Delicious Thai food. Among the best I've ever had. The scallops in peanut sauce were perfectly cooked--and that's hard to find. At least around here it is. The fried turnip cakes with spicy sauce were delicious. Loved that dish. My friend had the pad thai--i know, i know--but it was very nice. Generous portions of shrimp, chicken and tofu. Waiter was attentive and informed. Highly recommended. Somewhat pricy, though.
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