Instead of limiting themselves to one type of cuisine, S & J Crab Ranch has included two of their favorites—Maryland seafood and southern barbecue. Local flavors pile up at the raw bar, where diners can order gulf shrimp by the pound or plates of clams and seasoned mussels; however, as the restaurant’s name implies, crabs are the signature item. They can be steamed and served whole, as jumbo lump crab cakes, or in a creamy soup spiked with a bit of sherry.
Of course, the seafood seeps into the southern-inspired meals as well. A selection of classic southern sandwiches includes fried catfish with creole mustard. Regional cuisine builds out the rest of the menu, giving diners options such as slow-cooked Texas brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, and st. louis ribs rubbed with secret spices. Even the classic American dishes take cues from S & J’s penchant for the ocean—fresh crab meat bulks up the mac ‘n’ cheese, and pulled pork and barbecue sauce enhance a pile of nachos.
In 1983, "Beefalo" Bob DiMartino began a small-scale catering operation built around no-frills, classic recipes of pit-roasted barbecue, growing his business to include a carry-out joint, sports bar, and even an upscale banquet hall. Bob's process is simple: slow cooking beef, ham, turkey, slabs of ribs and morsels of pork and chicken over smoking hickory fires and not cutting corners with gas jets or heat vision. The sports bar garnishes these backyard-style feasts with plates of oysters, lump crab cakes, and strip steak, as well as sports games on 20 big-screen TVs and rivers of cold beer.
True to its roots as a catering outfit, Beefalo Bob's supplies parties of up to 10,000 with bull roasts, crab feasts, and roasted pigs, as well as rentals of tents, tables, and moon bounces. Fancy occasions find a home in the 250-person Reflections Hall, decked out with chandeliers, DJs, a fireplace, hints of sparkly gold, and a wide-open hardwood dance floor.
Take a quick glance at Christopher Daniel's appetizers, and you might think you're at a seafood joint. After all, a bulk of those offerings—from cornmeal fried oysters to ahi tuna tartar with soy-truffle vinaigrette—hail from the ocean.
When it comes to entrees, however, head chef Christopher Ellis showcases an equal passion for land and sea. Alongside maritime mains, he sears every eight-ounce Angus new york strip into "a slab that speaks to meat eaters," according Baltimore magazine.
Wines by the bottle and glass can complement each feast, and stronger libations await diners in the restaurant's martini bar, fiVe. There, surrounded by 10 HD flat-screens, fiVE's bartenders tirelessly craft cocktails and martinis by hand.
Midtown BBQ & Brew's cooks begin with organic and locally raised meats, slowly smoking them in-house to create dishes that the Baltimore Sun called "unapologetically traditional, rich and charmingly displayed on the plate." Ribs, pulled pork, and housemade sausages share space with sides like spicy crab mac ‘n’ cheese and southern cornbread. An ever-expanding drink selection features macrobrews alongside local creations and imported bottles.
Local-band performances, open-mic nights, and art exhibitions frequently drop in to occupy the restaurant's upper floors. Downstairs, trivia and karaoke keep diners entertained between bites.
The skilled pastry chefs at Charm City expertly whip up batches of joy-inducing indulgences on a daily basis. This cute cupcake boutique offers more than 65 varieties of small, tempting treats to suit nearly any occasion, whether you're celebrating a birthday, birth, day, or simply hoping to fill cupcake-sized pockets. When you call to place your order, you'll be able to chat with a cupcake consultant and custom-design a dessert platter to suit your sweet teeth. Choose from flavor favorites including classic chocolate and vanilla, Baltimore Black Bottom, Black-Eyed Susan, and Pimlico, all of which follow fine-tuned recipes of the freshest ingredients, careful mixing, and the giggles of hundreds of babies.
The Red Star Bar & Grill boasts a refined menu of bar fare for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Dive into an order of mussels and garlic fries ($12), and enjoy the butter-topped bivalve cooked in a white wine and basil broth. Spice-seekers can explore the jalapeno mac and cheese ($10), loaded with bacon and jalapenos and topped with panko bread crumbs. Red Star's enticing entree selection boasts eight savory salads (full sizes start at $7), gourmet personal pizzas (starting at $10), and artfully constructed hand-helds, such as the blackened tuna wrap ($13), which includes sushi-grade ahi tuna, fresh veggies, and Creole remoulade sauce, or the bison burger ($12), topped with sautéed onions, pepper jack cheese, and a roasted garlic aioli. Ensure dinner has as sweet a conclusion as Othello with the daily-changing bread pudding ($5) or seasonal cheesecake ($5).