Under the ownership of Federal Hill native Christopher Conti, Blush Winebar pours half and full glasses from hundreds of red, white, and sparkling libations. The upscale watering hole offers more than 100 wines by the glass, each with its own distinct flavor notes and secret cheese crush. A champagne bar highlights the bubbly beverage with glasses, full bottles, and three-flute samplers as well as a selection of champagne-based cocktails, such as the Blush Boom Boom, a mixture of Moët champagne, pomegranate liqueur, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Executive chef Jacen Scungio blends fresh, local ingredients to create the flatbread pizzas, sliders, and handmade pastas that populate the wine bar’s tapas menu and keep hungry imbibers from trying to stomp their wines back into grapes.
French-style bistro cuisine is The Grande’s specialty. The restaurant gets its ingredients from local farms and fisheries, who deliver organic meats and veggies whenever possible. The bistro’s wine list similarly emphasizes organic and sustainable wines from all over the world.
McFaddens Restaurant and Saloon combines the warm atmosphere and decadent fare of a family restaurant with the all the rowdy good times of an old-fashioned saloon. In the dining room, the wait staff shuffles around plates of classic fare for both lunch and dinner, including Black Angus burgers, roasted vegetable flatbread pizzas, and slow-roasted prime rib, with a few treats for kids, such as grilled-cheese sandwiches, cheeseburger sliders, and ice-cream pie for dessert. After dark, the bar comes alive with trivia and karaoke on Wednesday nights, supplemented by liquid courage in the form of beer towers and Ciroc ultra-premium vodka. Weekends start on Thursday with a live DJ and wrap up on Sunday with game-day specials during NFL games and professional rock-paper-scissor smack downs.
The casual bistro charm of Cafe Paragon’s dining room, its dark wood furnishings and glowing box lamps setting an easygoing mood, translates faithfully onto dishes that Gayot deemed “healthy and flavorful renditions of Mediterranean and American staples.” The prosciutto panini pairs grilled apples with brie cheese on French bread beneath a balsamic glaze, while the French burger tops off at 8 ounces of Black Angus beef, with applewood-smoked bacon and boursin cheese filling in the margins of the pillowy onion roll. Entrees such as a 16-ounce rib eye topped with garlic blue cheese butter and butternut squash ravioli testify to the diversity of the menu, which balances nicely between fresh eats such as blueberry salads and hearty steaks and fish.
At night, the space transforms into something of a nightclub. Bartenders augment the Mediterranean mezzes and filet sliders with specialty martinis, wine, and cocktails. Club music, meanwhile, booms through the speakers, willing guests to let their hair down, order a specialty drink, and dance.
Providence Byblos is a family owned and operated hookah lounge and restaurant, offering two floors, two ceilings, three dimensions, and one patio's worth of smoke and satiation space. Prepare your palate for a Lebanese feast with the fruity flavors of a hookah, including apple, blueberry, raspberry, grape, melon, mango, and the daily special ($18 for one flavor, $21 for a mixture of two flavors), complemented by a refreshing jellab (traditional concoction of grape juice, molasses, and raisins, $2.99). Providence's "mama-style" menu serves up a wide variety of traditionally tasty appetizers, salads, paninis, and desserts. Start with a savory serving of fatayer (pita pies stuffed with organic spinach and onions, $7) or a plate of soujouk (dried beef and lamb sausages sautéed with tomatoes and onions, $8) before moving on to a crisp Greek salad ($8) or a chicken tawook panini (chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a homemade garlic sauce, $8). Cap off the meal and quell a nagging sweet tooth with a flakey slice of homemade baklava ($3) or a sweet date-stuffed maamoul ($2).
Star of India hampers hunger with an authentic menu stocked with the rich flavors and exotic spices of the Subcontinent. Start the foodie festivities with an appetizer of onion bhaji, which features tearfully tempting slices of onion fried in chickpea batter ($8), or begin by shepherding your taste buds toward a pair of lamb samosas ($6) or a bevy of bread breeds that includes seven different types of naan. Tandoori chicken ($13) and tandoori shrimp ($22) are both marinated in yogurt, herbs, and spices before being cooked in a tandoor—a specialized clay oven kept at 800 degrees to match the temperature of the human mouth. Herbivores can veg out on channa masala, a mouth-watering mélange of garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and onions ($13), and fishivores can aim their scrimshaw dentures at fish vindaloo, which combines mahi-mahi with potatoes in a tongue-tazing sauce ($19). Each location possesses the flavor-customization technology to adjust its crave-worthy curries to individual specifications, ensuring that the menus are suited for everyone from unfazable fire eaters to mild-tongued spice sissies.