If you’re looking to wine and dine your significant other for Valentine’s Day, it’s time to nail down that reservation.
Baltimore has plenty of sweet spots to fan the flames of romance. My Baltimore Sun colleague Kendyl Kearly has five suggestions for a romantic night out, and in today’s column I have a few more, including restaurants that are offering Valentine’s Day meals and deals.
I also have details about R. House’s newest permanent vendor and a recently opened Locust Point restaurant that’s focused on casual comfort food.
And if you’re looking for ways to help survivors of the massive earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria earlier this week, a local restaurant has pledged to donate a portion of its proceeds this month to relief efforts.
For dreamy views of the Washington Monument and Mount Vernon, book a table at Topside. The Hotel Revival’s 15th-floor restaurant has a special Valentine’s Day menu with options like herb-crusted lamb ($55) and a baked Alaska flambé ($20), and plans for live harp music to add to the ambiance. 101 W. Monument St.
Limoncello, a Locust Point restaurant that evokes Italy’s Amalfi Coast, has offerings for Valentine’s Day and for Galentine’s Day, the Feb. 13 celebration of friendship. Have a round of special Italian Cranberry 75 cocktails ($14) or split a bottle of Southern Italian wine from women-owned Le Ninfe ($50) with your best pals on the 13th, and then return for Valentine’s Day dining specials like lobster risotto ($54) and Chilean sea bass with squid ink linguine ($49). 900 E. Fort Ave.
Nearby, Locust Point newcomer The Copper Shark is serving romantic Valentine’s Day-only specials including a trio of local oysters for $19, filet mignon and butter-poached lobster tail for two ($95) and a strawberry semifreddo with red velvet crumble dessert ($11). 921 E. Fort Ave.
At Swill Apothecafé by Blacksmiths in Pigtown, chefs Heather Smith and Catina Smith are planning an intimate, multicourse meal the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. Tickets are $125 a person and there are two seatings available, one at 5 p.m. and one at 8 p.m. 906 Washington Blvd.
If you’re looking for a lively Valentine’s event rather than a quiet dinner, check out Union Collective’s Chocolate Fest, an afternoon of chocolate-themed treats at the Hampden makerspace. On Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., sample chocolate cask brews from Union Craft Brewing, “choctails” and chocolate and chili pepper liqueur from Baltimore Spirits Co., mocha lattes and vegan chocolate doughnuts from Vent Coffee and chocolate-and-wine pairings from The Wine Collective. Grab some ice cream with a chocolate “magic shell” topping at The Charmery for dessert. 1700 W. 41st St.
Dining out for earthquake relief
One of Baltimore’s newest romantic dining spots is serving up financial assistance to help those affected by the devastating earthquake and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria.
Ammoora pledged this week to donate 10% of its proceeds in February to relief efforts in the countries, where the death toll has surpassed 16,000 people, according to The Associated Press.
“Our roots originated in Syria, and our mission when opening Ammoora was to introduce to Marylanders the love and generosity of the Levantine community by showcasing its culture, cuisine, and hospitality,” owner Jay Salkini said in a statement.
Ammoora, a sumptuous fine dining spot that opened last month at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, showcases the cuisine of the Levant, a historical region that includes Syria and Turkey, with dishes from chef Dima Al-Chaar, a Syrian native.
Egyptian eats are coming to R. House
Iman Moussa has had her eye on snagging a stall at R. House for years.
Moussa, the owner of vegan Egyptian eatery Koshary Corner, considers Baltimore to be “the vegan capital of Maryland.” So her concept was a perfect fit when STEM Farm + Kitchen, the Remington food hall’s long-standing vegetarian and vegan spot, announced that it would be closing for good.
“The timing was beyond perfect,” Moussa said. She had decided to close her stall at The Common Kitchen, a Clarksville food hall, and focus on sales from her traveling food truck. The truck’s success had convinced her of the eatery’s potential.
As it happens, the national dish of Egypt — the koshary bowl, from which Koshary Corner gets its name — is completely vegan. The bowl, combining rice, lentils, gluten-free pasta, fried onions and a tomato sauce seasoned with cumin and green peppers, is Moussa’s signature dish. She’s even started bottling the sauce to sell through a side business, Heka Saucery.
Koshary Corner also serves meals like falafel and a vegan chicken shawarma wrap in generous portions that often leave room for leftovers. Moussa said she’s looking forward to educating local diners about Egyptian cuisine.
“If I had a dollar for every person who told me they never had Egyptian food before, I would be competing with Jeff Bezos now,” she said.
She’s aiming to open her new stall inside R. House by the beginning of March, in time to join Maryland Vegan Restaurant Month.
‘Great time, great drinks, great snacks’ in Locust Point
The menu at the new Locust Point restaurant EAT is simple: It’s built around egg rolls and tacos, the staple comfort dishes that also happen to make up the acronym that is the restaurant’s name.
“It’s just a fun concept,” co-owner Spike Owen said of the new eatery, which he opened with business partners Mike Leeds and Doug Campbell, who also happen to be the owners of Barfly’s, a nearby spot that’s known for pizzas and whiskey.
EAT, which opened in late January, takes over a space at 1371 Andre St. that was long home to J Patrick’s Irish Pub and later housed In Like Flynn. Inside, Owen and his partners have brightened up the 60-seat space with bold yellows, reds, greens and blues. Alongside egg rolls and tacos is a bar menu with cocktails like fresh lime juice margaritas.
“None of us take ourselves too seriously,” said Owen, a co-founder of Key Brewing Co. in Dundalk. “We really just want people to come in and have a great time, have great drinks, have great snacks.”
Down the line, he said, it’s possible that EAT could become EATS: Owen is thinking about adding sushi to the menu, too.
Bits & Bites is a weekly column of Baltimore-area restaurant and dining news, trends and insights. Have a tip or want to share your restaurant story? Send an email to Amanda Yeager at email@example.com.