If there's one thing that shapes the food at Carmelo's Italian Restaurant more than the chefs, it's Mother Nature. In the tradition of the Northwest and Sicily, the kitchen uses only local, organic ingredients when possible, and imports some Old World staples straight from Italy. The result is a menu that shifts with the seasons. Using a base of penne noodles splashed with a vodka sauce or the thin crust of a pizza, chefs might feature spinach, red peppers, or feta cheese grown in a nearby field. And since Carmelo's is a BYOB eatery, diners can complement their meal with a hand-selected bottle of wine or jar of bathtub gin.
Maynard’s Cafe's flavor slingers craft a surf 'n' turf menu brimming with oceanic delights and land-locked meats. Dining companions can warm up for competitive chew-offs with the Maynard’s Combo, an amalgam of finger foods that include crab balls, jalapeño poppers, chicken tenders, and steamed shrimp among other handheld poppables. Then order up a heftier entree, such as the chicken fettuccini, crab legs and drawn butter, or fried oysters. The new york strip steak cohabitates with crab cakes and brings two sides to the table. Guests can savor their meals while oogling karaoke performers crooning after 9 p.m. Wednesday–Sunday or watch cards go flying during rounds of Texas Hold 'em or high-stakes Go Fish on Thursdays.
Colorful, pan-Asian dishes piled high with generous portions emerge hot out of the wok from the kitchen at Chopstixx Cafe. Sifting through the pages of the vast menu, diners will find familiar classics composed of super-fresh ingredients, including spicy General Tso's chicken and pad thai, as well as specialty dishes such as the steamed "Revolution Diet," which features tender shrimp and an array of healthy veggies. The kitchen also whips up crave-worthy bubble teas in fancy flavors such as lychee, passionfruit, and red bean.
The epicurean engineers at Parsa Kabob grill lamb, beef, and seafood with Persian spices and then skewer them with colorful veggies, creating artfully arranged plates of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Lamb koobideh ($10.95 for dinner), seasoned ground lamb and the Sultani combination ($16.95) proffers a protein-packed mix of marinated filet mignon and beef that halts hunger more easily than a meat-stuffed piñata. Fresh pita bread and hummus ($4.95) make for lemon and tahini-infused main course intermissions. An array of de-lanced entrees such as falafel sandwiches ($5.95) and jerk-chicken gyros ($6.99) keeps forks, knives, and hands from feeling undervalued.
In 1744, a brick tavern began pouring brews on the edge of the Patapsco River. James and Andrew Ellicott bought the establishment in 1810 and added a stately home for their family. More than a century later, when Daniel and Steve Wecker discovered the former Ellicott property in 1988, it had fallen into disrepair. But, seeing the promise in the neglected building and its surrounding 16 acres of flourishing linden, holly, and magnolia trees, the brothers convinced the state of Maryland to lease them the property. Together, they restored the rooms and much of the original 18th- and 19th-century craftsmanship, transforming it into what is now The Elkridge Furnace Inn. Today, guests walk over original longleaf-pine flooring and admire the stairway’s tiger-maple spindles and the molding’s Colonial-style dogwood motifs on their way to the historic dining room, whose atmosphere helped earn the restaurant a spot among OpenTable's 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the country.
The restaurant’s lavish French cuisine plays no small part in its success, garnering laudations and media attention from the likes of the Washington Post. Daniel Wecker takes the helm in the kitchen as executive chef, burying game meats—such as rabbit and quail—and fresh seafood beneath rich glazes and beurre blanc sauces. When faced with too many choices from an encyclopedic wine list, diners can consult the menu for recommended vintages to pair with their dish.