Making choices in restaurants as to what to eat can be challenging. There are too many dishes you want to try and narrowing it down to one appetizer and entree can be frustrating. Become familiar with the tasting menu where a restaurant lets you enjoy a number of its culinary creations for a set price. If you are food curious, a tasting menu might save your hand from being stabbed when reaching for a bite of your dining companion’s selections. Most restaurants, if called in advance, will plan out a tasting menu for you for a set price. A number of them will create a wine/cocktail/beer pairing to enliven your dining pleasure. A number of restaurants regularly offer tasting menus in Baltimore.
1000 Lancaster St
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Price: Tasting menus range from $76 to $111; Tasting menus with wine range from $114 to $176
Charleston Restaurant is a James Beard nominee restaurant, considered over the years to be one of the best restaurants in Baltimore. This Harbor East, fine-dining restaurant features French, Cajun/Creole and New American cuisine. Choose from its standard tasting menu from three to six courses with matched wine pairings priced per courses. Don’t miss Chef Cindy Wolf’s Menu of the Moment – a seasonal gastronomic trip for your taste buds. Make this your very special evening out, get dressed to the nines and indulge.
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Food = Art
Joe Squared – Power Plant
30 Market Place
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Price: Varies by chef
Food = Art is a monthly dinner series to support Baltimore’s culinary artists who love to play with their food, creating a unique dining experience whether within the realm of their regular cuisine or along the lines of something totally different. The dinners are the second Monday of each month at the Joe Squared Power Plant location. Recently, Chef Anisha Jagtap of Baltimore Burger Bar spread her culinary wings with a five-course menu from minted spring sweet pea spaetzle with roasted pistachio dust to roasted pork tenderloin, asparagus polenta, strawberry ale demi glaze and foie mousse. Prices vary but are usually at the chef’s cost.
1606 Thames St
Baltimore, Md. 21231
Price: $35 for both tasting menus
In the heart of Fells Point, you will find Kali’s Mezze on the historic cobble-stoned Thames Street. The Mediterranean cuisine is featured in two tasting menus, one offering an assortment of meat-friendly dishes and the other offering a truly vegetarian selection. Carnivores can enjoy dishes like fried calamari, lamb chops, crab cakes and meatballs. Those less keen on the protein can sample Mediterranean tastes of spinach pie, tzatziki, oven-roasted eggplant and zucchini fritters.
Sotto Sopra Restaurant
405 N Charles St
Baltimore, Md. 21201
Price: Lunch tasting menu is $15; Light supper tasting menu is $25
Sotto Sopra Restaurant is located at the gateway of Baltimore’s cultural district, Mt. Vernon, just a couple blocks walk from the harbor. A true Italian getaway, the 19th-century building adds to the beauty of the restaurant which could be in any major metropolis in the world. The two-course lunch menu comes with first-course choices like arugula fennel salad, soft polenta or snails ragout and garlic butter and second-course offerings like risotto of the day to grilled salmon with lavender honey. The heat of the summer, when we all want to eat lighter, has this Italian treasure offering a light supper prix-fixe for $25 Sundays through Fridays from 5 p.m. to last order at 6:30 p.m. For the light supper meal, choose smaller portions of menu items with an appetizer, choice of pasta or risotto and choice of dessert or glass of house wine.
The RowHouse Grille
1400 Light St
Baltimore, Md. 21230
Price: Tasting menu is $38; Tasting menu with wine and beer is $50
This Federal Hill dining and watering hole boasts the very talented Chef Tess Mosley who came to Baltimore with a great D.C. eatery pedigree. Thursday through Saturday night, if you are lucky, you can book the RowHouse Tasting bar which has only four seats. Chef Mosley offers up an ever-changing, six-course tasting menu featuring dishes such as ale, cheddar and kale soup, mini seared scallops, wild Atlantic salmon and pear tartes with mascarpone cheese. Reservations are a must.
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Dara Bunjon has a passion for food – its origins, preparation and consumption. Her culinary endeavors began as a regular cooking personality on an early morning news program in Baltimore, where she developed a fanbase. She also owns her own company and co-authored a cookbook. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.