At Let's Dish!, families select healthy, hearty meals to eat at home without having to dedicate valuable time to planning, shopping, or preparation. After placing an order online, patrons stop by the shop at a scheduled time to find dishes that are made from fresh ingredients, customized to taste, and then, like Sleeping Beauty, frozen to prevent them from aging. Meal menus rotate monthly and include homestyle selections, such as cheesy chipotle-chicken enchiladas, pulled pork with mashed potatoes, and rosemary and mustard grilled flank steak. The preassembled Dish-n-Dash entrees allow for speedy pickup service, freeing families to spend more quality bonding time sorting the mail by size and color.
Located inside the Apple Place Bowl entertainment center, the casual Bogart's Place pub also offers entertainment of its own. The bar's cheery environs host weekly events ranging from Thursday-night team pub trivia to Double Ditty's, a live dueling piano show where the competitors must walk their pianos 10 paces before playing. To keep visitors fueled, the pub's menu spans from casual plates such as chicken wings and cheese curds to signature sandwiches such as the Look Out burger—a half-pound beef patty topped with ham and cheese. Bartenders pair these dishes with a range of beers and top-shelf liquors. And in warmer weather, the aromas of cooking and the sounds of revelry waft onto a newly-remodeled outdoor patio.
“Pit beef is Baltimore's version of barbecue: beef grilled crusty on the outside, rare and juicy inside and heaped high on a sandwich,” food writer Steven Raichlen explained in the New York Times. “Several things make it distinctive in the realm of American barbecue.” At The Valley Tap House, chefs create the unique delicacy by rubbing pork or beef with a special mix of spices, letting the flavors absorb for three days before grilling the slabs in a custom pit to achieve a charred outside and a tender interior. The meat is thinly sliced and served on kaiser rolls, as is traditional in the neighborhoods of East Baltimore. Additions such as peanut sauce, cilantro, or avocado apply exotic appeal like a lawyer using a fake Swedish accent to win over a jury.
Vegetarians can get in on the grilling action with black-bean-mushroom veggie burgers, made in-house and slathered with charred-jalapeño aioli. Toasting pint glasses make a jangling chorus as they spill rivulets of 30 draft brews, which have included Deschutes organic red ale. On weekends, servers carry out dishes of biscuits and chopped pit-beef hash with eggs, sirloin gravy, and toast.
Ronin Cafe's colorful menu of creative mouth entertainment combines spicy Thai specialties with Japanese dishes. Appetizers of grilled satay chicken ($5.95), with marinated cucumbers and peanut sauce, and deep-fried tofu ($4.75), served with sweet chili sauce and relish, bang the stomach gong before a delicate kabuki of sushi and sashimi unfolds. Along with various nigiris ($2), sashimis ($3), and vegan makis (6 pieces, $4–$6), specialty small rolls (4–6 pieces, $6–$12), such as the spicy yellowtail with garlic chili, and specialty big rolls (8 pieces, $14 and up) are tenderly crafted with shrimp and crab by expert chefs and christened with creative names such as dragon, red scorpion, white elephant, and enraged anteater. The indecisive and the nigiri novices can take the splitting headache out of menu decryptography by opting instead for Ronin Cafe's omakase ("trust") service, in which diners simply find a comfortable chair, name a price limit, and trust the chef to select the appropriate meal via telepathy.
With a steady rolling hand and a decade of experience, chef Wei of Fin Sushi commands an enticing, elegantly plated array of creative sushi rolls and classic Japanese entrees. Up from the depths comes the mighty Godzilla roll—a 10-piece titan of radioactively spicy salmon in dinosaur-green avocado and wasabi mayo ($19.95)—to challenges the Dragon roll to fiery combat, battling against eight slices of seaweed-wrapped tempura shrimp and mayonnaise ($15.95). Put your dining destiny in Wei's able hands with an order of Matsu sushi, 10 chef-selected and arranged pieces side kicked by one traditional roll ($24.95). Patrons can try a steaming plate of yakiniku in chicken ($17.95) or black Angus steak ($19.95), enlivened with tongue-twisting kimchi and spicy garlic sauce, or stick to the nigiri and sashimi menu to remain as raw as a professional wrestler.