Much like artfully arranged crepe paper, edible crêpes add elegant taste to the thoughtful gifts they conceal. The family-owned-and-operated Mt. Washington crêperie serves up fresh French fare for lunch and dinner daily and brunch on the weekends. The backbone of the bistro's menu is the crêpes, and the lunch and brunch menus offer a variety of hot sandwiches to accompany the sweet and savory concoctions. Nosh on a midday smoked salmon panini ($9) with tomatoes and pesto sauce or a croque niçois ($8), a toasted ham and swiss sandwich with tomatoes and anchovies. The eatery's savory crêpes promise to satisfy even the most discerning connoisseur of the thin pancake delights with dishes such as crêpe Lorraine ($11) with fresh asparagus, brie, and prosciutto, or the seaward crêpe Normande ($16) stuffed with sautéed calamari and shrimp, veggies, garlic, and goat cheese. For a dinner delicacy, try an order of escargots ($9.99) cooked in a butter and white-wine sauce before moving on to the Carrée D'agneau grille ($25.99), grilled lamb chops served over a red-wine sauce with sautéed spinach and the starch of the day, or tilapia florentine ($18.99) with basmati rice, sautéed spinach, goat cheese, and capers in a vin blanc sauce.
For more than 25 years, French-born chef Jean-Louis Evennou has filled Café Normandie with Gallic cuisine peppered with flavors from the Eastern seaboard. A chef since the age of 13, Evennou seasons endive salad with strong roquefort cheese and rabbit with tangy dijon sauce and simmers beef bourguignon in another rich sauce. Dinners also include American-inspired recipes such as crab soup with Maryland vegetables, as well as housemade pastries and crème caramel.
In 2008, Café Normandie was certified as a sustainable steward by the city of Annapolis for its eco-friendly initiatives. The restaurant follows intensive composting and recycling guidelines; in addition, it stocks biodegradable carry-out gear and serves its meals on tabletops made of marble salvaged from the ruins of the Louvre.
Adam Greenberg refers to himself as “the world's pickiest eater,” which may explain Bagels 'n Grinds’ distinctive take on the celebrated baked good. Greenberg’s self-professed culinary perfectionism led him to create a secret 10-step bagel recipe that involves a colossal water-purification system, visible to patrons through a glass wall. With scientific precision and occasional mad-scientist cackles, the newly opened shop's staffers create 16 types of bagels that manage the tricky balance of crisp surfaces and soft insides.
Patrons can smear their bagels with low-fat, housemade cream cheeses infused with ingredients such as strawberries or lox, or opt for one of the café’s other creations, such as Bagnini sandwiches topped with piles of meat or marinated portobello mushrooms. Water from the café's purification system also goes into free-trade organic coffees and three different iced-coffee brews. Custom salads incorporate gourmet ingredients such as hormone-free chicken, candied walnuts, or toasted-parmesan crisps, while six distinctive soups are served in cups or bagel bowls. Non-edible amenities inside the new shop include free Internet access, a semi-private conference area, an 18-foot coffee bar, outdoor patio, and flat-screen TVs.
Housed in one of downtown Baltimore's oldest brick buildings, the Waterfront Hotel Restaurant offers a weekend brunch menu splashed with traditional southern flavors and deep-sea delights. Fatigued longshoremen can break their fast with a crab hash skillet ($17.95), while languid landlubbers can hunker down with a traditional 8-ounce steak-and-eggs platter ($13.95). Lunch or dinner at the Waterfront may begin with undersea treats such as ginger calamari ($9.95) or buttery mussels ($9.95). Slay a grumbling gut-Grendel with a fried oyster po' boy ($11.95), or contemplate the mystic duality of lunch over a sweet-and-savory turkey-brie quesadilla ($9.95). Evening entrees, served from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m, include the scampi (blackened shrimp, scallops, and crab over linguini, $16.95) and the honey chipotle pork chop with mac 'n' cheese ($14.95).
Housed in the polychromatic former mansion of the Jolly Rancher family, Brasserie 10's food is as tongue-stainingly colorful as any sweet, blue watermelon treat. Keep it local with a starter of hot Maryland crab dip ($10), or hopscotch back and forth over the Mason-Dixon line with each bite of the Southern fried-chicken salad with bacon and honey-Dijon vinaigrette ($10). Other favorites include the vitriol-dampening shrimp and grits with parmesan and herbs ($16) and the barbecue salmon ($15).
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).