With Christmas upon us, this week is both festive and calm, with a flurry of special dinners scheduled for the holiday, then a quiet week from Tuesday on. Here’s a look at what Baltimore’s restaurants have on tap for the holiday week:
Openings & Announcements
The year is coming to a close, but news of local restaurant openings (and closings) hasn’t slowed down. This week, unfortunately, is a bit of a mixed bag.
On the not-so-good news front, Metropolitan Coffeehouse & Wine Bar in Federal Hill announced that it will close at the end of the year. On New Year’s Eve, Metropolitan will host a closing party featuring some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
This is sad news for the bar-restaurant’s many fans; Metropolitan was a welcoming spot, with tons of charm.
In happier news, this week saw the launch of a new Mount Vernon restaurant, Melody’s Café, which opened in the old Red Emma’s space on St. Paul St. In a fun twist, the restaurant will be run by a 17-year old local with big dreams (and parents who will be the legal owners until their son turns 18). The café will initially serve breakfast sandwiches, pastries, coffee and tea, but look for an expanded menu as the family gains experience.
Vegan Baltimoreans will have something new to look forward to in the spring, when L’Eau de Vie opens in the first floor of the Inn at the Black Olive.
And finally, a little lukewarm news: Thames Street Oyster House will be closed from Jan. 1 through Jan. 4. However, the good news is that the restaurant is just closing for maintenance and it will reopen for lunch on Friday, Jan. 5.
Donuts for a Cause
Gertrude’s chef Doug Wetzel and his donut pop-up, Donut Stop Believin’, will make an appearance at the Waverly farmers’ market tomorrow morning, starting at 7 a.m. All the proceeds from the donuts will go to Moveable Feast.
The theme is “A Kanye Christmas Story” and this is their last pop-up until April – so grab a donut while they last.
There’s still some time left to make Christmas dining plans. Here’s a look at some of your local choices:
The traditional Christmas Eve meal, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, comes to Gnocco a day early, in Saturday, Dec. 23. Chef Brian Lavin’s five-course meal will include dishes like baccala mantecato with grilled bread, lobster ravioli with saffron sauce and tarragon crema, and squid ink cavatelli served with n’duja and calamari confit.
In Little Italy, Aldo’s will be serving a traditional, four course Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner, with seatings starting at 3 p.m. (the regular a la carte menu is also available).
B&O American Brasserie is open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day, for regular breakfast and lunch hours. Both nights, a three-course, family-style special menu will be available for dinner.
Bar Vasquez will offer a three-course prix fixe menu (plus the a la carte menu), including some exciting dishes that aren’t always seen on local menus, like braised rabbit leg and venison steak.
Café Troia will offer its regular menu on Christmas Eve, plus some additional Italian Christmas specialties.
An a la carte menu will be available at Charleston in Harbor East, and it will be a special one, featuring dishes inspired by “the traditional Christmas table.”
At Cinghiale, the a la carte menu will be augmented by a prix fixe, three-course Feast of the Seven Fishes menu, including dishes like smoked scallop-topped bruschetta and squid ink spaghetti.
Cosima’s Christmas Eve dinner is a multi-course Sicilian feast, including courses like grilled octopus over potatoes and pan-seared black bass.
Grano Emporio’s Christmas Eve prix fixe menu includes dishes like seafood pasta and a filet of sea bass, plus wine pairings.
Gunther & Co.’s a la carte menu will be available, plus a prix fixe menu with luxe choices like seared foie gras with red wine-poached pear, pan-roasted goose breast with roasted chestnuts, brussels sprouts and sour cherry-ginger chutney, and Maine lobster over mascarpone risotto.
Johnny’s Christmas Eve prix fixe is only $35 – a great deal – with dishes like pan-roasted rockfish and crab salad. The a la carte menu is also available.
A special a la carte menu will be available at The Milton Inn on Christmas Eve, including dishes like pan-seared foie gras, a seafood martini and braised beef short rib.
Soto Sopra is open from noon until 10 p.m., and serving its regular menu on Christmas Day.
Water for Chocolate will be open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. then will close for just over a week. The “sexy comfort food” spot will reopen on Jan. 3.
At Wit & Wisdom, Christmas Eve will feature a brunch available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Christmas night dinner will be a three-course prix fixe available from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wit is also hosting a brunch with Santa this Sunday, Dec. 17, starting at 9 a.m.
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
January 12: Krautfest at Gertrude’s
January 12: Falafelicious pop-up at The Avenue
January 28: Comparative wine tasting at The Vineyards at Dodon