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.
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.
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.
At Caesar’s Den, chef Guido DeFranco weds classic southern Italian cuisine to a vast selection of Italian wines. His kitchen team tosses pastas with from-scratch tomato sauce and sautés shrimp and calamari in white wine. They also season cuts of veal and lamb and with fresh Mediterranean herbs. Additionally, servers are happy to recommend wines that cleanse palates or approximate the pH level of the Trevi Fountain.
A creative spirit thrives at Creme Restaurant & Lounge. As the chefs meticulously plate their eye-catching entrees, diners enjoy live performances from locally and nationally renowned musicians on the dining room stage. That combination of cozy ambiance and refined food creates a welcoming environment that encourages guests to linger for a while or attempt to move all their belongings in. The Baltimore Sun succinctly summarized the restaurant?s charm by noting, ?If you have had a bad day or simply need to reward yourself with some rich, artful comfort food, this is the place.?
The chefs take a more refined approach to contemporary American cuisine. Shrimp and spicy sausage arrive with a bed of creamy grits and salmon emerges from the kitchen with a bold teriyaki and bourbon glaze. Even the bartenders demonstrate a willingness to push the boundaries of the expected by infusing their own spirits and creating specialty cocktails with chipotle-infused vodka and hibiscus-infused gin.
With its dark wooden floorboards and sunflower-yellow walls, the restaurant?s dining room exudes a similarly cozy, yet stately spirit. Intimate tables flanked by simple black chairs fill the long, narrow space, although virtually every seat presents patrons with a clear view of the stage at the front of the room. Some small touches add extra whimsy, including a dangling chandelier, an ornately decorated fireplace, and a collection of framed eggs benedicts.