Top 10 Tuesday -- non-boring Baltimore Restaurant Week menu items

I spent some time looking over the posted menus on the website of Baltimore Restaurant Week, which begins this Friday.


Well, boring is not such a bad thing. Most restaurants are running selected specials, the tried and the true, from their regular menus, which is just what many diners are looking for.

And a deal is a deal. When it's a deal. Stay tuned to these pages for recaps and postings of the best and the worst Restaurant Week experiences.

Meanwhile, I managed to find 10 Restaurant Week menu items that made my heart leap, at least a little. Some of them look new to me, a few I've seen before.

In no particular order

Watertable -- I still haven't been to the restaurant in the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Shame on me. I was impressed with the Restaurant Week menu, though. What got my attention was this entree: Pincanha -- Brazilian grilled steak with black beans and rice. It's be swell if it's the right cut.

Slainte -- Pub menus are particularly disappointing. But take a look at the appetizer list at this Fells Point pub -- poutine fries, green leek soup, and, especially tempting, mushroom gnudi (gnocchi), fried golden with brown butter and sage.

Mr. Rain's Fun House -- And not because the restaurant atop the American Visionary Art Museum is hosting the Dining@Large happy hour. Take a look at the menu for yourself. What caught my eye -- the braised rabbit in pearl onion, garlic and marjoram sauce, a dish created to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year.

Pazo -- For their second course, participating diners here choose 4 from among 18 listed tapas. What made me hungriest -- the scallops a la planxa with celery root puree.

The Wine Market -- Nothing against bread pudding and chocolate cake and creme brulee but it sure was nice to see the occasional inventive dessert. I am saving room for the chocolate pretzel pave here, made with Dijon caramel, salted milk chocolate powder, oatmeal stout ice cream.

Chameleon Cafe -- It's back; don't miss it. The Beverly Hills' restaurant's Choucroute garnie --homemade sauerkraut, Krakos sausage, pork loin, smoked belly, cheeks, and Briedenbaugh potatoes. 

B -- I could go for some bouillabaisse.

Gertrude's at the BMA -- The best Restaurant Week vegetarian entree (actually, it's vegan) I found  I found is on John Shields' menu: Housemade garlic greens and sweet Italian "Sausage" ravioli With roasted herbed tomato sauce and frizzled leeks. Nicely done.

Blue Hill Tavern -- I'm game for the Natty Boh beer cheese soup made with Tillamook cheddar at this Canton restaurant.

Bluegrass Tavern -- I'm game for the rutabaga bisque, with black river blue cheese, and pomegranate syrup at this South Baltimore restaurant.


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