Pizza, Beer, and So Much More

BIRROTECA

1520 Clipper Road, Baltimore, MD 21211 (http://www.bmorebirroteca.com/home)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

Growing up in the suburbs of the DMV, whenever we made the trek up to Baltimore, there were only two destinations: the Inner Harbor/Aquarium or Camden Yards. In recent years, however, Baltimore has seen a real resurgence within its dining scene: Mid-Atlantic-centric menus (Spike Gjerde), big name chefs (Michael Mina), and neighbors expanding into the city (Bryan Voltaggio). So during a recent outing with my family, when I decided to break them out of their comfort zone and head toward the Hampden/Clipper Mill area and Birroteca, I received more than one puzzled look. But, by the time the meal was over, everyone seemed to understand that there was a lot more to Charm City than the Inner Harbor.

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Still Reliable Over a Decade In

MATCHBOX

Multiple Locations in DC, MD, and VA (http://www.matchboxrestaurants.com/)

* and 1/2 (Satisfactory/Good)

Matchbox, the original, opened in Chinatown in 2002. That original location remains today; now with six sister restaurants spread throughout the District, Maryland, and Virginia (with a single outpost in Palm Springs, California). The 14th Street outpost, where our most recent dinner took place, maintains strong influences from the original: a long countertop bar, plenty of wood accents and tables, and an open kitchen featuring a wood burning oven. Similar still: the consistency of the food; holding strong more than a decade after the original.

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A Fine Dining Beacon in Baltimore

CHARLESTON

1000 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 (http://www.charlestonrestaurant.com/)

*** (Very Good)

Cindy Wolf, the longtime chef of Charleston, has been a part of Baltimore’s food scene since the mid 1990s. If Spike Gjerde, the proprietor of Woodberry Kitchen and Parts & Labor, is helping to lead the revitalization of the Baltimore restaurant scene, then Wolf has long been its matriarch. Along with business partner Tony Foreman, Wolf also owns Pazo, Cinghiale, Petit Louis Bistro, and Johnny’s around the city. Their flagship, Charleston, opened up in 1997 as a fine dining establishment, sitting in the heart of what is now considered the Harbor East neighborhood. And if our most recent meal is any indication, Charleston continues to flourish almost 20 years later.

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A New Home

Well, that was fast! Just when everyone had been introduced to Chew, Party of Two over at Blogger, the blog went ahead and moved… Sorry for the quick, and mostly unannounced change, but we felt as though WordPress provided more offerings to our readers (hello, subscription button!). As I told my wife, I’m looking to develop this blog for the long haul – and building a contingent of regular readers is a big part of that. My hope is that our new home at WordPress will help accomplish that!

We’re looking forward to 2016 and all the restaurants it has to offer! Keep your eyes open for new reviews soon!

-Chew, Party of Two

Newly Discovered Regional Cuisines

MAKETTO

1351 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 (http://maketto1351.com/)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)


“It’s growing on me.” That was the constant tenant I had over the course of my meal at Maketto, Chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s ode to Taiwanese and Cambodian cooking. It was a sentiment that was shared by my dining group (full disclosure: which this time around, did not include my wife). The four of us entered into the restaurant with high levels of anticipation: rumors of to-die-for pork buns and fried chicken have run rampant around the DMV since Maketto opened in April 2015.

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A Real Find in the Suburbs

ANANDA

7421 Maple Lawn Boulevard, Fulton, MD 20759 (http://anandarestaurant.net/)

** (Good)

Usually when you hear the words suburban restaurant, your mind will immediately start to see chains, Olive Garden, Chili’s, and TGI McFunster’s (thanks, Anthony Bourdain). But every once and a while, you’ll find something new: an independently owned and operated restaurant, with a fresh take. Enter Ananda, located in a building with no signage in the middle of the mostly residential neighborhood of Maple Lawn.

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A Baltimore Staple

WOODBERRY KITCHEN

2010 Clipper Park Road, No. 126, Baltimore, MD 21211 (http://www.woodberrykitchen.com/)

*** (Very Good/Excellent)

Baltimore tends to be the lesser known city in the DMV; the little brother of Washington, DC. And in some respects it’s true: there are less attractions, less restaurants, and contains a smaller population. My wife and I tend to skew towards DC whenever we want to go out – whether it’s dinner, drinks, or meeting up with folks. There are exceptions to the rule though; some fantastic finds in Baltimore…you just have to know where to look.

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The Return of a King

KINSHIP

1015 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (http://kinshipdc.com/)

**** (Outstanding)


CityZen, the longstanding restaurant located in the Mandarin Oriental, closed after 10 years of excellence in 2014. Although I never made it to chef Eric Ziebold’s beloved (and well-reviewed) restaurant, everything I heard and read had nothing but praise to offer. When Ziebold announced his sister restaurants – Kinship (which opened in early January) and Metier (which has a planned opening for February) – the DC food scene took notice. Now I understand why.

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Come for the Pasta, Stay for the Dessert

OSTERIA MORINI

301 Water Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003 (http://www.osteriamorini.com/washington-dc/)


** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

When I read a profile on Osteria Morini’s pastry chef Alex Levin, I immediately noted it as a restaurant to take my wife, who has a notoriously sweet tooth, for her birthday. We arrived for an early dinner on a Sunday evening, and given the locale: set right against the water with the city skyline as its backdrop, it was definitely the right time to go.

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