The fragrant aroma of freshly ground ginger and cinnamon wafts from Akbar’s Restaurant’s kitchen, mingling with the smoky scent of meats simmering in a traditional tandoori oven. Rife with spices, buttery marinades, and cream-based sauces, the eatery's Northern Indian cuisine nabbed the title of Best Indian Restaurant from City Paper’s Best of Baltimore 2010. In the dining room, romance sparks amid classical Indian music and walls laden with traditional art and lists of pun-free pickup lines.
Husband-wife duo Julio and Lily Soto opened Azul 17 to celebrate not only Mexican cuisine, but to also embrace the culture through music, vibrant design, and a selection of more than 100 tequilas made with 100% blue agave. Their chefs all hail from Mexico and bring family recipes to the kitchen?including one chef's grandmother's recipe for black beans. It's ?old world style with updated presentation,? says manager Peter Bonohue. Peter has been in the restaurant business since he could legally work, and to him, Azul 17 has an especially fun atmosphere. ?I love tequila now,? he confessed.
While chefs simmer their signature mole sauce and servers add fresh lime juice to margaritas, guests recline atop white leather banquettes or modern chairs. Eyes dance with murals and shimmering blue-tile mosaics splashed against white walls. Those whites are illuminated with a multicolored neon glow as DJs spin club, house, and Mexican tunes starting at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Thursdays at 8 p.m., guests can spice up their tired hokey-pokey routine with salsa lessons.
At Nichi Bei Kai, the owners seek to present authentic slices of Japanese culture for American consumption, from Teppan-style tableside cooking to beautifully plated sushi rolls. During meals, cooks juggle knives and fire, flipping ingredients before them as they fry rice; dice chicken, steak, and seafood; and fill plates with hot eats. Meanwhile, behind the sushi bar, sushi chefs perform knife work no less impressive, if far more delicate. They dice fine rolls of seafood, rice, and vegetables into perfectly even, bite-sized chunks after measuring each diner’s mouth with only their well-trained eyes.
Hearken the sweet sounds of singer-songwriter Pete Yorn strumming to the rock 'n' roll rhythms of his upbeat, laid-back tunes during his upcoming concert at Rams Head Live!, a venue that plays host to some of the country’s top national, midlevel music acts. Since the release of his debut album in 2001 and hits such as "For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)" and "Crystal Village", Pete has actively toured with the likes of Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, and more, garnering a reputation for bearing the voice of an angel and the long, flowing locks of an angel’s unemployed uncle.
Not many restaurants list Cap'n Crunch on their menu. Even fewer use it as one of their signature ingredients. But for the chefs at Chamberlain's Factory Grill, the classic cereal has the perfect blend of sweetness and crunchiness for coating their signature dishes during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Freshly prepared Angus burgers are given a touch of sweetness, thanks to slices of sweet tomatoes. And when chefs aren't whipping up fish 'n' chips or handmade sandwiches, they're stocking their display case with a rotating selection of desserts. They blend milkshakes from 1 of 16 flavors of ice cream, bake brownies and lemon bars. Guests enjoy these goods in a family-friendly dining room with televisions that show cartoons.
At Let's Dish!, families select healthy, hearty meals to eat at home without having to dedicate valuable time to planning, shopping, or preparation. After placing an order online, patrons stop by the shop at a scheduled time to assemble dishes that are made from fresh ingredients, customized to taste, and then, like Sleeping Beauty, frozen to prevent them from aging. Meal menus rotate monthly and include homestyle selections, such as pork tenderloin, New Orleans-style andouille pasta toss and santorini chicken kabobs with summer orzo salad. The preassembled Dish-n-Dash entrees allow for speedy pickup service, freeing families to spend more quality bonding time sorting the mail by size and color.