Instead of limiting themselves to one type of cuisine, S & J Crab Ranch has included two of their favorites—Maryland seafood and southern barbecue. Local flavors pile up at the raw bar, where diners can order gulf shrimp by the pound or plates of clams and seasoned mussels; however, as the restaurant’s name implies, crabs are the signature item. They can be steamed and served whole, as jumbo lump crab cakes, or in a creamy soup spiked with a bit of sherry.
Of course, the seafood seeps into the southern-inspired meals as well. A selection of classic southern sandwiches includes fried catfish with creole mustard. Regional cuisine builds out the rest of the menu, giving diners options such as slow-cooked Texas brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, and st. louis ribs rubbed with secret spices. Even the classic American dishes take cues from S & J’s penchant for the ocean—fresh crab meat bulks up the mac ‘n’ cheese, and pulled pork and barbecue sauce enhance a pile of nachos.
Whether seated on a patio overlooking stretches of grass or within a cozy dining room aglow with hanging lights, guests at Donna’s are treated to an array of tasty, upscale American dishes. The menu boasts a selection that changes weekly and may include quinoa and homemade falafel, five-spice ribs, salmon on cold noodles, or homemade tacos. From the expansive wine lists, guests select a glass of dry sparkling prosecco to pair with pizza or calamari or sip a seasonal cocktail such as the pineapple caipirinha. In addition to crafting delicious meals, the team at Donna’s offers cooking classes, during which they bake rustic breads, make pastas by hand, and quiet the melodramatic death throes of Italian vegetables.
Benchwarmers Pub bustles with the raucous cheers from Ravens fans watching the game on wall-mounted TVs intermingled with clinking pint glasses and ambient tunes from the Megatouch jukebox. Here patrons gather to throw back brews while snacking from a menu of classic pub food. The cooks whip up baskets of crispy fried pickles and wings smothered in fixings ranging from mild honey-barbecue to spicy 3-Mile Island sauce. Heartier fare includes half-pound cheeseburgers, quarter-pound Nathan's hot dogs, and barbecue pulled pork piled on pretzel rolls.
When they're not glued to the TV or filling their bellies, patrons can challenge one another to a friendly game of pool. Benchwarmers Pub also plays host to live DJ sets and weekly karaoke sessions, during which patrons can show support for their favorite team by belting out every song on the Rudy soundtrack.
Repeatedly deemed Best Rock Club and once voted Best Drunken Hookup Bar by City Paper readers, Ottobar hosts an ongoing calendar of local and touring bands, DJs, and comedians. With bars on both floors of the two-story venue, guests can sip on mixed drinks and beers while listening to live music or pumping quarters into an award-winning jukebox. The venue also hosts special nights including spelling bees and underground dance parties, wherein guests shake their hips to the sound of shoveling.