Charmed & Dangerous

BALTIMORE RESTAURANT WEEK WINTER 2014

So several days ago, I decided that I had to go to at least 3 restaurants for restaurant week. Welp, I took that number and doubled it, making it to 6 restaurants in 8 days! You can read my initial post about Restaurant Week here. I figured I’d do a little write up of my Winter 2014 experiences:

The Restaurants:

  • Tio Pepe (Mount Vernon)
  • The Prime Rib (Mount Vernon)
  • La Tasca (Inner Harbor)
  • Heavy Seas Alehouse (Little Italy/Fell’s Point)
  • Oliver Speck’s (Harbor East)
  • Morton’s Steakhouse (Downtown)

[Click For Reviews of Each Restaurant]

Sunday – TIO PEPE in Mount Vernon (Dinner – $30)
Superlative: Best Ambiance
Company: Second Date
I Recommend for a Date: Celebrating a promotion/graduation/baby etc.
I Ate:

  • GAMBAS AL AJILLO
    Shrimp Marinated in Garlic Sauce.
  • TERNERA ASADA LUIS CANDELAS
    Roast Veal with Mushroom Sauce and Sautéed Potatoes.
  • CREMA CATALANA
    Catalan Crème Brûlée

What sold me was the ambiance more than the food. It’s structured like The Brewer’s Art’s basement with lots of nooks & crannies to got lost in except the lights are on and there’s reds and golds all over the wall with such an old world charm. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the food but I may not have ordered the right things. I’m not big on seafood and there was a lot offered as options. I had Crème Brûlée three times over the course of restaurant week and this one was by far the best though and I felt the warmest/most comfortable of all the “fancy” places I went.

Tuesday – THE PRIME RIB in Mount Vernon (Dinner – $30)
Superlative: Best Food
Company: Old Friend
I Recommend for a Date: Anniversary
I Ate:

  • Roasted Tomato Soup
  • Our Special Cut of Prime Rib (extra $5)
  • Crème Brulee

Oh man. Service was impeccable, of course, but my goodness, the prime rib was excellent! Cooked medium and it was possibly the best steak I’ve ever had. Came with mashed potatoes (we ate of that) & creamed spinach (we didn’t eat any of that). Must note that the roasted tomato soup was fantastic, as well. Just what I needed with the chilly weather, so much flavor! Creme Brulee was good, not as tasty as Tio Pepe’s though.

Wednesday – LA TASCA in The Inner Harbor (Lunch – $15)
Superlative: Charming Service
Company: Co-worker
I Recommend for a Date: Lunch date as a part of an all day date wandering the city
I Ate:

  • Albóndigas
    beef and pork meatballs, white wine, onion, spicy mustard sauce
  • Solomillo de Cerdo
    bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, with sweet sherry sauce
  • Cordero de Australia al Chilindrón
    classic stew, braised leg of australian lamb, roasted garlic, paprika, peppers, potato
  • Trufa de Chocolate (not included in restaurant week)
    dark chocolate truffle croquant with vanilla ice cream

Took a long lunch to head over here. 3 tapas for $15 was too good of a deal not to miss! My co-worker joined me so we picked at each other’s food. Since it was lunch time and I wasn’t on a date, it was the only appropriate time during restaurant week to snap photos of my food. The food was good, the portions were large for small plates but the dessert (which didn’t come with lunch) was insanely decadent. To top it off our waitress, Abby, was so attentive & sweet. I’d go back again just to have her hep me pronounce everything and for that croquant.

Friday – HEAVY SEAS ALEHOUSE in Little Italy/Fell’s Point (Dinner – $30)
Company: First Date
Recommend for a Date: To kick off the night before going out in Fell’s
Restaurant Week Menu:

  • Smoked beet salad with herb goat cheese, mache, walnut oil vinaigrette
  • Pan roasted scallops with creamy farro risotto, roasted tomatoes, fennel
  • Assorted Cheesecakes

Quick note on this, went to meet a date here not realizing they were participating in restaurant week. Was very excited to get to cross another notch off but they only had one choice for a meal. Most places have 5 to 7 options, per course. Again, I’m not big on seafood so I was pretty disappointed. Me and my date shared a Charcuterie and Cheese Plate which always pleases me, though unlike places like Birotecca, you couldn’t pick & choose your plate. I got a burger with a salad as entree, wasn’t terribly impressed. Opted not to get dessert. My date did get the restaurant week menu and enjoyed it.

Saturday – OLIVER SPECK’S in Harbor East (Dinner – $30)
Company: Second Date
Superlative: Cutest logo
Recommend for a Date: Try for Brunch!
I Ate:

  • Arugula Salad
    bacon, cornbread croutons, roasted tomatoes, house ranch dressing
  • Pork Spare Ribs
  • Baked Beans
  • Cornbread
  • Can’t remember dessert but it was not any currently listed on the restaurant week site

The waitress wasn’t bad or rude but she wasn’t the warmest person in the world either. The room, on the other hand, was very warm. The spare ribs were THICK and delicious but the stand out was the Argula salad, to be honest. I hate ranch dressing so I got that on the side but the cornbread croutons were perfect. I do wish there were larger pieces of bacon rather than little crumbles. There are better BBQ places in Baltimore but it’s a good addition to the Harbor East area & a really cool space. Oh, my date got the pecan pie with the bourbon ice cream for dessert. The bourbon packs a SERIOUS punch.

Sunday – MORTON’S STEAKHOUSE Downtown (Dinner – $30)
Company: Second Date
Recommend for a Date: Really trying too hard to impress someone
I Ate:

  • Chopped House Salad
  • 6oz Filet Mignon
  • Sautéed Broccoli Florets (shared with date)
  • Mashed Potatoes (shared with date)
  • Crème Brulee

The waitress had the same name as me and was very attentive! After eating at The Prime Rib earlier in the week, it was pretty much guaranteed nothing would quite live up to that. The salad I must note was very good and of course the filet was cooked excellently but… it’s no Prime Rib.