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.
Cuisine Type: American casual, seafood
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 25?50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Maryland crabcakes, crab pretzels, scallops
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery/Takeout Available: Takeout only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
[It's an] American-casual menu with many seafood options and classic dishes; [there are] no crazy or hyped-up ingredients.
What is one of your most popular offerings? How is it prepared?
Our crab cakes are the most popular and, along with our crab soups, are the oldest recipe. We've been featured on a Maryland public-television special about the best crab cakes in the Baltimore/Maryland area.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The building was built in 1928 as a dancehall and picnic grove for [the] residents of Baltimore to enjoy. There was also a speakeasy in the basement during Prohibition. The dance floor is still [the] original. Also, we have one of the oldest liquor licenses in Baltimore County. [It was] issued when Prohibition ended.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The property is on a point overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The cove for kayaking is a protected calm-water cove with a sandy bottom. There are beautiful sunsets, Chesapeake Bay wildlife, ospreys, and bald eagles for sight seeing.
The ingredients stocked in the kitchen at Noodle Charm have a unique history. While half of the ingredients?such as produce and meats?are sourced from local farmers, the spices, chilis, and herbs have traveled half way across the globe. The chefs go to all this trouble because they know that the best ingredients are a key component of the best dishes. The freshly cut green veggies offset the rich flavors of the creamy peanut sauce slathered onto rice noodles, while the five Thai spices and herbs create a complex marinade for the pork shoulder that stews to a tender finish after 48 hours.
But the flavors of these fresh ingredients aren't just up to the chef. Customers can design their own dish by choosing the style of noodles, type of meat, and variety of soup stock. They can then make each dish their own without figuring out how to write their name in noodle cursive by adding in splashes of fish sauce, vinegar, bits of powdered chilis, and scoops of ground peanuts that are all conveniently stationed at each table.
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.