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.
The crêpe sculptors at Andy's Bistro shape soft and thin French specialties around warm fillings such as melted cheeses or chocolate. More than 40 crêpe varieties are available, including options for breakfast and dinner as well as treats for brunch and other mealtime hybrids. Savory plates include the roasted-red-pepper crêpe ($7) with mozzarella and pesto and the eggplant-parmesan crêpe ($7.50), which features three Italian cheeses and may be fried to achieve a golden, crispy shell. Sweet varieties include the apple-cinnamon crêpe ($6) with raisins and honey and the banana-split crêpe ($8.50) with berries and two scoops of ice cream. In addition, Andy's Bistro fires fresh meaty specialties such as the half-pound lamb-and-beef burger ($6.50) and the spicy beef-and-sausage platter ($7), arranged to reveal a 3-D image of veggies when stared at from certain angles.
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).
This cozy gem of an eatery only serves crepes made from fresh and natural ingredients. Recipes are homemade whenever possible, except when the home is on vacation and human hands need to pick up the shack's slack. The quaint interior brings crepe lovers close together as if they were the savorous ingredients and the restaurant itself was the ethereal wrap. When the weather permits, break out of the shell to enjoy a spacious outdoor area.