Jennings Cafe's epicurean curators craft an immense menu from family recipes that helped earn it a spot on the Baltimore Sun's 2009 list of Top 10 All-American Restaurants, and staff members deliver dishes with Zagat-recognized service. Crunch into a combination of fried openers on the Superfecta platter piled with classics including mozzarella sticks, breaded mushrooms, and chicken tenders accompanied by a cadre of dipping sauces ($10.95).
Hunan Taste packs empty stomach suitcases with authentic Chinese cuisine distinguished by sour, spicy tastes and slow-cooked, tender textures. Skip the cumbersome rental of a tabletop cement mixer and lay an appetizing foundation with steamed or pan-fried dumplings ($4.95) or crispy shrimp egg rolls ($2.75). Chopstick skeptics can play to strengths by spooning hot mouthfuls of braised baby cabbage in superior soup ($10.95) and getting paws sauced with sweet-and-sour spare ribs ($13.95). Otherwise, mouths can make a deliciously daring choice by ushering in a steamed fish head with diced hot red peppers ($23.95).
What Candle Light Inn considers home, others call a landmark or monument. The house in which the restaurant resides has been part of the Catonsville community since the mid 1800s, when it was first built into the area's rolling farmland and called Five Oaks Estate. Since its birth, the building has survived various name changes, a multitude of owners, and even a fire in the 1970s, which left it vacant and with a terrible cough until the present owners, the Lombardini family, purchased it in 1979.
Today, the inn has fully recovered, and models a host of renovations that includes a covered outdoor patio canopied by forestry and surrounded by landscaped gardens. Different tones swirl through each of the house's quarters, along with the wafting scents of the hearty American fare that fills plates for lunch and dinner daily.
Twenty-two different varieties of pho noodle soups emerge from the Pho Saigon kitchen in pristine white bowls, enveloped in a cloud of steam and a gingery fragrance. The massive bowls are filled to the brim with goodies—tender steak, plump meatballs, fresh vegetables, thin rice noodles—and come with plates of crunchy bean sprouts and fresh lime wedge garnishes. Servers set these bowls down on tabletops, alongside orders of crisp summer rolls and grilled pork, shrimp, and beef vermicelli noodle dishes. They offer diners a choice of utensil, including chopsticks, forks, and inflatable foam hammers.
Inside the savory-scented digs of Honey Baked Ham & Cafe, spools of hardwood-smoked, spiral-sliced ham entice carnivorous palates. Here, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff still makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
The hammery's kitchens also whip up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato soufflé. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.
Plates at Kabab Hut brim with traditional Bangladeshi dishes including curries, tandoori chicken, and skewered kebabs. A selection of 27 combo meals load these spicy, simmering entrees onto beds of rice along with sides such as fries or naan. The eatery also welcomes families with a kids' menu that reduces each dish to smaller portions without the need to root around for the shrink ray Mom keeps in her purse.
Though Yummy Grille chefs work alongside the pizza-makers of A1 Pizza & Sub, their cuisine is from a different world entirely. Instead of New York-style pizza and American favorites, chefs whip up dishes from the Mediterranean— from flavorful steak shawarmas to crunchy falafel wraps and sizzling chicken kabobs. They take a healthy approach to cooking, grilling meats in lemon juice and vegetable oil rather than deep-frying them or stuffing them with M&Ms. They pair their sandwiches and platters with traditional Mediterranean side-dishes, including savory hummus dip and plump grape leaves filled with rice.