If you read my blog or follow me on the Insta, you know that I had a definite favorite restaurant in PABU, Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga’s fabulous Japanese izakaya at the Four Seasons Baltimore. Sadly, it closed earlier this year. Coming in November is its replacement, Azumi, from Ouzo Bay owner Alex Smith.
In the meantime, there are a few new places that I have fallen in “like” with – and here they are.
Parts & Labor, from Spike & Amy Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen, is a warm, fun, casual place. There is a great little butcher shop up front and they focus on whole animal butchery. So, there are cuts of meat on the menu you really don’t see often – get the Tri Tip steak! And yes, it’s pretty meat-centric, but there are veg options (the roasted potatoes on the hearth are my go-to side) and the cocktails — or libations — are nicely done. Sometimes I do wish they’d use citrus, but they are serious about using in-season ingredients that are sourced locally…I get it. It also can get loud later at night: book early evening and ask for a booth, or go late and sit at the bar. I love eating dinner at a bar – you get the best service!
Next up is Le Garage, Chef Sarah Acconcia’s fabulous little French bistro. It’s in the old Dogwood space on the Avenue — before that, it was the AWESOMELY weird Mamie’s — with their Monday $10 lobster BYOB night…oh, I loved that. Sarah’s fat, crispy, yet pillowy frites with all of the delicious sauces, the super tight beer list, cocktails, tartines and more. It’s just good. Really good. The scallops with paparedelle is my current love. I’ve not had the burger yet, but I’m told I have to make that happen. They have a great pre-fixe menu, happy hour and late night specials and also serve lunch out of the frites shop out front. Parking out back, too. Get there. Tonight (September 25) they’re actually hosting Millstone Cellars tonight for a cocktail takeover – wish I could get there…
Bookmakers Cocktail Club is the newest on my mini-list here. Gorgeous, creative food by Chris Amendola – Fleet Street Kitchen, McCrady’s, Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Yup, the guy’s got chops. And he is an avid, knowledgeable forager. His maple glazed pork belly and 64 degree egg? Ridiculous. Then you have the serious biz cocktails by Ryan Sparks, formerly of Of Love & Regret and Jack’s Bistro. Ryan and Chris have collaborated on both food and beverage menus, so they work really well together. No other place in Baltimore is doing quite what these guys are doing. I’ve already been to Bookmakers three times and I always want to go back…usually the next day. But, restraint. I must not Uber from Hampden to Federal Hill for cocktails and dinner too often. I’d start blowing off all of my responsibilities, have my own seat at the bar…it would just get ugly…
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