Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Upscale App + Entree + Dessert = Only $35.11

They're baaaaack! Baltimore County and Baltimore City Winter Restaurant Weeks are just around the corner. You won't have an opportunity to sample Baltimore's creme de la creme cuisine at cheap prices like these again until summer 2011, so make your reservations early.

The spotlight is on Baltimore County from Friday, Jan. 14 through Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Participating restaurants are offering one-, two-, and three-course lunch and dinner menus from $10.11 to $35.11 at five-dollar increments. Choose from 41 restaurants, most of which boast free parking (a perk that most downtown restaurants lack).

The Baltimore City event has coined iteself "the most delicious week of winter." It will last from Friday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011. Prix-fixe dinners are $35.11, while lunches are a bit cheaper at $20.11. Eighty-seven restaurants are participating.

Out of the 128 featured restaurants, I've eaten at 47 of them. Not bad. So here are some recommendations, based on my experience, that might help you pick a spot or two to sample.
  • Don't count on the following for a romantic night out in which you're getting your $35.11 worth. The atmosphere of these places are more bar and lounge-like than upscale dining. Try them for lunch instead.
    • In Baltimore County - Seven West, Fazzini's, McAvoy's, Razorbacks, Silver Spring Mining Company.
    • In Baltimore City - Cafe Hon, Mt. Washington Tavern, The Owl Bar.
  • These restaurants are without a doubt a great deal for your money. Under normal circumstances, you would NEVER get an appetizer, entree and dessert for just $35.11. The following are why Restaurant Week exists!!
    • In Baltimore County - Cafe Troia (just went for New Year's Eve dinner and it was delish! The Piatto Misto appetizer is my fave.), Liberatore's, Linwoods, The Oregon Grille.
    • In Baltimore City - b Bolton Hill Bistro, Brewer's Art, Da Mimmo, Kali's Court, Louisiana, Meli, Petit Louis, any of the Ruth's Chris locations, Salt (went here for Summer Restaurant Week and was blown away. The duck fat fries are a must.), The Wine Market.
  • Best places to make a day or night out of it:
    • In Baltimore County - Date night! Grab a movie at the Hunt Valley cinema, then head over to Greystone Grill for dinner.
    • In Baltimore City - Gertrude's, conveniently located right inside the Baltimore Museum of Art, is not your typical museum cafe. Make reservations for lunch (it fills up quick!) then spend a relaxing afternoon browsing art. I had New Year's Eve lunch there, and the crab cake was excellent. Although I haven't been yet, I hear Mr. Rain's Funhouse in the American Visionary Art Museum is another best bet for an afternoon of good food and art.
There are lots more restaurants on my to-do list. What are your faves? What places will you be hitting up this year?


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