I know we talk about food a lot here on Young(ish), but it’s been a while since I recapped a new-to-me restaurant. To make up for it, we’re going to talk about three meals I’ve had recently. One at a new-to-me place, one at a place I haven’t been to in years and one at an old favorite.
Grano Emporio: I visited Grano for the first time on Christmas Eve with Adam and his family for an early, festive dinner. Growing up, my family always had Italian food on Christmas eve and I was happy to keep with tradition. We were seated upstairs and quickly ordered drinks while we waited for the rest of our group. I loved my blood orange vodka martini while the others polished off a few bottles of the house Montepulciano (it’s red and that’s about all I can tell you).
We started with antipasto and salads (I enjoyed one with shaved beets off their special holiday menu) before the main meal. For our main dishes, I had the lasagna and Adam had Grano’s version of the Feast of the 7 Fishes (in keeping with the holiday). As you can see above, the portion was pretty small (a bite or two of each fish), but luckily I had more than enough lasagna to share.The meal ended on a high note with delicious mini cannoli. The service was fantastic and the whole night was a great experience. I still think you can get better Italian food elsewhere in the city (check out my top 5 spots for Italian food), but for Christmas eve you can’t beat being able to follow dinner with a walk to 34th Street.
Neighborhood: Hampden Price: entrees $15-25
Sobo Cafe: We returned to our neighborhood favorite for a cozy New Year’s Eve dinner and were not disappointed. I started with a sparkling flight that included a prosecco, cava and a rose. Nothing like a little bubbly to kick off a fun night. Our meal began with the house smoked salmon spread which is one of our go-to favorite dishes, served with pickled veggies and thin crostini. For my main course I kept things going with the salmon served over potato cake, leeks and cabbage with a creamy mustard sauce which was amazing.The salmon was cooked perfectly and I loved the accompaniments. The portion was large and since we were saving room for dessert, I saved some to bring home as leftovers. Speaking of dessert. It was apple bread pudding and It. Was. So. Good. Warm and sweet (but not too sweet) and served with vanilla ice cream.
Neighborhood: Federal Hill Price: entrees $15-20
13.5% Wine Bar: As I mentioned last week, Adam and I went to 13.5% with two other couples and I started with a nice white wine before we shared a variety of small dishes. I found the menu a bit confusing as nothing is organized into categories and we ended up with sort of a hodgepodge of tastes: barley arancini, brussel sprouts with peanuts and anchovies, smokey mussels and fettucini and house ribs. I wasn’t particularly crazy about any of it, though I enjoyed everything but the ribs (which came with a crema that I didn’t care for). Our friends shared the pizza which looked delicious so I had a bit of food envy! I think my experience could have improved with better ordering.
Neighborhood: Hampden Price: Small plates $7-15
So that’s the scoop! A little insight into three Baltimore restaurants, two options in Hampden and if you haven’t been to Sobo Cafe yet – check it out.