Destinations Magazine

Some New (for Me) Baltimore Area Restaurants.

By Johntalbott

Miguel’s Cocina y Cantina is located in Silo Point in a hard to find spot but is worth finding.  I ate with three others who all liked the guacamole, (not necessarily the crackers that came with it that were too fragile to dip with), bean soup, Caesar salad with broad leaves and nicely dressed, grouper and a sausage (flavored with Achiote and allspice), Chihuahua cheese and Mole Chatino Quesadilla.  With two bottles of wine our bill was $156.79 before tip, thus $78.40 a couple.  Go again?  Yes.

The Café de Paris in Columbia is about as genuine a French joint as one can get in this neck of the woods, with a French-speaking owner and waiter-in-training and a menu straight from Les Halles: onion soup (better than those around Les Halles), tomato bisque, a lobster-tail/pasta dish, salmon and entrecote (that would have been helped by the Relais’ secret sauce and was not the best ever).  With a bottle of wine, our bill was unknown to me since it was a Christmas present.  Go again; I suspect next year.

The Waterfront Kitchen has been open several months and has a sparkling décor, albeit quite noisy.  I went with three others who thought the food was equally sparkling; I’ve been twice now, once for dinner and once for lunch on the deck (fabulous).  The first meal, I tried to get a simple green salad but felt I was a grouchy version of Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces when I asked for it unadorned; but the greens and dressing were fine.  My seafood “soup” was a soup in name only, more of tempura-style shrimp and langoustine heads with a wonderful smoky spicy sauce with white beans.  (BTW They do not clear your plates away as you finish and they don’t pile on specials without giving you prices – you’d almost think you were in Paris.)  Bill at dinner = $87.78 a couple before tip.  Lunch was a simpler menu but I loved my steak sandwich.

The Thames Oyster House is another new place that provides a level of seafood hitherto not found in restaurants in Baltimore (only in markets).  The oysters are very good, colossal shrimp equally, bouillabaisse most generous and more like seafood with a few drops of soup, scallops succulent, fish a chips special and desserts out of the ordinary.  This was a heck of a meal for the equivalent of $125 a couple before tip.  I went back again for dinner and was just as happy although Colette really disliked the noise level.  Bill here (oysters aren’t cheap) was about $130 a couple with a bottle of wine before the tip.

Finally I’ve only been once to the Fork and Wrench but loved it. 
The pluses were numerous:
A wonderful décor (wood and tin ceilings, upholstered couches on the first floor)
Terrific attentive service
Terrific duck breast cooked as specified with heirloom carrots of three colors
Nice hanger steak but with weird sauce
Terrific lemon, blueberry and strawberry crème brulee
Reasonably priced wines from largely southern hemisphere vineyards.
There are a few things that are weird though:
They say there are no quiet spots because it’s an “active” restaurant
Colette wore a dress and the A/C vent blew cold air right up her legs
We had to ask for bread to soak up the wonderful spicy sauce on the sautéed mushies
The plates were not warmed before the main courses were plated.
They have the dreaded stools and high tables which we avoided.
The wait for the mains was out of proportion to the few customers being served
Bill = $62.86 before tip with a bottle of wine and no bottled water.
Go?  We’re gonna!

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