Lisa Markiewicz lends more than her zen-like surname to the wine bar and lounge she recently opened in Mount Vernon. Her extensive knowledge of pan-Mediterranean cuisine?including grecian tapas and grecian lamb chops?informs the menu at Waterstone Bar & Grille, and her love of the region?s signature libation shines through in a drink menu that features more than 100 wines sold at retail price.
The restaurant?s chic lounge space, recently opened for lunch in addition to dinner, strikes a balance between Old-World elegance and the hipness of the Mount Vernon neighborhood that surrounds it. Exposed-brick walls give way to plum pastels?a contrast mediated by the gauzy black curtains draped over windows and doorways, and the restaurant's prime location puts theaters such as the Hippodrome, Lyric, and Centerstage within close walking distance.
His entrées may be named after animals, but chef Tai keeps his Chinese cuisine absolutely free of meat. He uses imitation meats to craft standout dishes such as pumpkin chicken, kung pao squid, and shredded pork. As if to emphasize his passion for natural foods, Tai cooks only with pure vegetable oil and refrains from flavoring his dishes with MSG or dark magic. These restrictions sometimes force him to get creative, but the results are delicious whether he’s using soybean protein to make chicken or transforming white yams into baby shrimp and squid.
Flames shoot in the air from grills while chefs flip, chop, and cook new york steak, lobster, and salmon for diners clustered around teppanyaki tables. At a bar decorated with two giant lobsters and 100 percent fewer flames, the sushi chefs craft personalized maki rolls or specialty rolls with tuna, creamy wasabi, shrimp tempura, and other signature combinations. Red accents carry throughout the restaurant from the napkins and roses decorating the tables to the red shelves lining the full bar stocked with both hot and cold sake and pints of imported beers.
Starry Night Bakery & Coffeehouse owner Shannon Clarke found a passion for baking delicious treats as a child, when she would whip up fresh blueberry muffins for her family in between watching Saturday morning cartoons. After kicking aside her desk job to chase her dreams, Clarke turned her passion into her livelihood by opening Starry Night Bakery & Coffeehouse. Her career change paid off. In addition to owning a thriving business, Shannon was also ask to compete on Season 3 of Food Network's popular show, Cupcake Wars against other top bakers from around the nation.
Visitors to the popular bakery can sample a rotating seasonal menu of cupcakes in classic flavors such as red velvet and chocolate chip, as well as inventive varieties, such as salted caramel apple or an espresso and chocolate ganache voodoo cake. The caf? also features streamlined, black-leather sofas, so customers can lounge as they sip chai and freshly ground espresso drinks, snack on cinnamon rolls, or fuel up with breakfast items such as cheddar biscuits stuffed with hickory bacon. And when she is not making hand held cakes, cookies, and savory fare, Shannon combines her skills as a graphic designer and baker to create customized wedding and birthday cakes.
Supper Thyme's goal is to de-stress the breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours by inviting visitors to craft hearty and nutritious meals beforehand. After perusing the monthly rotating menu, customers can select an assortment of calorie-conscious, family-friendly, or organically inspired dishes and schedule an appointment to come in and assemble the ingredients. Staff members then gather all of the necessary ingredients and utensils, ensuring that each meal can be assembled in as few as 10 minutes. In between portioning out servings, visitors can enjoy a snack while listening to music or chatting with fellow attendees in the shop’s casual, low-stress kitchen environment. The meals can remain safely frozen in homes' freezers, with easy-to-follow cooking instructions allowing customers to quickly thaw and cook entrees whenever they might need to feed families, guests, or a lost restaurant reviewer.
The chefs at Koto Sake Japanese Steak House dazzle diners with their fast chopping and knife-wielding skills as they prepare Japanese seafood and steak meals directly at the table. “For those who are not familiar with the experience,” a reporter for The Baltimore Times wrote after a visit, “hibachi is a style of Japanese cooking in which the food is prepared in front of the patrons on a large iron stove. In addition to seeing your food cooked before your eyes, restaurant-goers are treated to a theatrical show that blends impressive utensil juggling, culinary acrobatics, and sarcastic comedy.”
Along with hibachi dinners, the cooks also fry rice and cook large pots of noodles. Like a spy movie set in a hotel for twins, the deep-fried and traditional maki rolls are full of surprises, from shrimp tempura to asparagus.