Desserts Every one of the desserts was gorgeous. It was the sort of tray that only the very strong-willed would be able to resist.

We opted for a vanilla Napolean ($7). With layers of pastry and cream topped with sweet, crisp caramel, the Napolean was an elegant end to a satisfying meal.

As we headed back into the night, steak-filled doggie bag in hand, downtown Towson was gearing up for another wild Thursday night. Inside Towson Tavern, the scene was more mature, but just as vibrant, with diners eating, drinking and laughing.

Filled with adults who were pleased, no doubt, to have a place in Towson to call their own.

BACK STORY: Towson Tavern opened on York Road, near the Towson Circle, on New Year's Eve 2011. With a polished interior and thoughtful menu, the restaurant adds welcome sophistication to a block best known for its party atmosphere.

PARKING: Street parking and multiple garages and pay lots nearby

SIGNATURE DISH: Towson Tavern's 20-ounce ribeye, served with garlic mashed potatoes, shows off the kitchen's skill with steak. Cooked just to medium rare (as requested), the meat is tender, with flavor amped up by bacon, sweet sauteed peppers and shallots.

WHERE: 516 York Road, Towson, MD 21204

CONTACT: 410-337-7210;

OPEN: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday


RATING: 3 stars