Executive chef and Highland Inn owner Brian Boston knows his way around a kitchen. The celebrated chef, who has won awards from Zagat and Wine Spectator, to name a few, opened Highland Inn to combine his passions for fresh, seasonal food and fine wine. Brian and his culinary team look to local farmers to supply the restaurant with its ingredients, pouring these elements into a menu of traditional and contemporary American dishes that complement a wine list featuring 150 pours.
At dinner, diners can dig into duck breast from Maple Leaf Farm, or a Maryland crab cake served with a crispy polenta cake with pickled yellow tomato relish and lobster sauce. The eatery also churns out lunch and brunch, the latter of which features crabmeat omelets and fried dough with vanilla-infused maple syrup and powdered sugar.
Before he owned K Town Bistro, Gonzalo Barba busied himself with feeding presidents and politicians at the Watergate Hotel. This experience, along with the rest of his 40 years in the restaurant industry, bred a respect for the careful balance of upscale cuisine and familiar atmosphere that characterizes many prestigious eateries. Gonzalo preserves this relationship today, serving K Town Bistro's European-inspired dishes in a warm, friendly setting marked by coral-colored walls and lace curtains.
The bistro's chefs pull from American, French, and English traditions when arranging their entrees. Beef wellington—filet mignon surrounded by a mushroom-liver mousse—is a crowd favorite, though it vies for the spotlight with seared salmon and lamb shanks. Lunchtime heralds crab-cake sandwiches and the omelet of the day, all of which are in the running to become the omelet of the eon. Guests can also pick their courses from a prix fixe menu and pair them with wines from Spain, France, Chile, and the United States.
After a 23-year career working at the Hay Adams Hotel, Jose Cardenas branched out and opened his own restaurant, Jose's Grill. He brings many Latin American and Bolivian flavors to his menu, as he grew up eating those foods, but also works in dishes culled from his career at the hotel, resulting in a Latin-influenced selection of international dishes.
He shows off pure Bolivian flavors with his salte?as, beef-filled pastries filled with a sweet and spicy sauce center, much like the Earth's core. For the main course, he grills New York strip steaks and T-bones, saut?s shrimp scampi, and boils shellfish, fish, and octopus in the rich broth of his sopa de mariscos. He finishes off meals with a pair of sweet and creamy desserts: flan and cheesecake. He even adds special touches the two classic sweets, topping his flan with liquid caramel and icing his cheesecake with a layer of sweetened soft cheese mixed with cream and eggs.
The dark wood façade of Mezeh’s Mediterranean Grill creates a stylish, modern presence in the food court at Annapolis Mall. Patrons walk along the eatery’s glass case, first selecting a base for their meal—salad, rice, tortilla, or fresh-baked pita—to complement one of five fillings, including crisp rounds of falafel and morsels of chicken shawarma. Their dishes can be topped with tahini or spicy harissa sauce, along with vegetable blends such as red cabbage slaw or pickled turnips. All items on the menu are crafted without trans fats or preservatives, making them a healthy alternative to making ham sandwiches out of other ham sandwiches.
The cooks at Sierras Grill & Taqueria have plated heaping portions of classic and contemporary Mexican cuisine since 1989. Fish tacos with pico de gallo and guacamole join house specialties such as the Acapulco Princess?crabmeat, baby shrimp, and white-wine sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla?which is served atop a single pea. The cuisine masters also fuse American flavors into Latin American recipes, crafting empanadas stuffed with buffalo chicken and served with sticks of celery. Cocktails such as margaritas and beers such as Dos Equis and Shiner Bock complement each meal.
Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.