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About Shaho

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  1. I was able to get a same day reservation on a Thursday evening a few weeks ago. I think their system is either a bit buggy and/or demand is very high on certain days. When I first clicked the link at 9:00 am, it gave me an incorrect message about their original same day reservation system (reservations open at 5:30 etc.), then when I hit refresh, it allowed me to make the reservation. I checked the reservation page in advance to see how popular it was; on a Monday, there were seats available as late as 9:50am, while on a Tuesday, all of the seats were taken almost immediately.
  2. Thought people might be interested to hear about Chef Guo, a new restaurant featuring Chef Guo Wenjun's take on Chinese banquets. This is probably the closest the DC area has had to Chinese fine dining, and I'm interested to see how it fares. The chef serves a selection of two tasting menus, the Banquet of Eternal Bliss Hot Pot ($68 lunch, $98 dinner), and the Banquet of Peace and Prosperity ($158 dinner only), both of which feature 10+ courses in the style of imperial cuisine. Scroll through the website to see the full menus, pictures of the dishes, and a press release detailing the overall concept. So far there hasn't been much buzz about this place outside of the Chinese community, but some friends who have gone reported it to be luxurious, visually and conceptually unique, and a lot of (too much?) food, mostly very good to excellent. There seems to be a mix of traditional cuisine and modern/Western techniques. If I understand correctly, the dinner they attended was a special event combining dishes from both menus, with all of the guests at a shared table and Chef Guo himself coming out between each course to explain the concept behind the dish (in Chinese); it's not clear to me how different the experience will be once the restaurant gets settled in, but from their website it seems like they are definitely interested in catering to non-Chinese clientele as well.
  3. Spoons, Blue Moon Too, and SoBo Cafe would all be good options for brunch within walking distance (SoBo for dinner as well), although they'll all be packed. I'll second the recommendations for Rye Street Tavern, Hersch's, and Ida B's, and add Shoyou Sushi and Abbey Burger Bistro as reliable neighborhood restaurants.
  4. Grano Emporio closed on June 30, 2018. Grano Pasta Bar in Hampden remains open. I haven't been to the original Grano Pasta Bar, but for a time there was a second location in Federal Hill, which was pretty good if not spectacular. You chose a sauce and pasta shape, and the chefs heated the pre-made sauce and tossed with pasta in front of you. Good flavors, but the portions sizes were somewhat small for the price, and the tiny space made it unappealing for anything but the occasional takeout order. Glad that the original location still seems to be going strong.
  5. Nick's Inner Harbor Seafood to Close at Cross Street Market by Kevin Lynch on southbmore.com After ongoing disputes with Caves Valley Partners, the firm redeveloping Cross Street Market, during which time Nick's has mostly remained open, it looks like they will finally be closing on January 7, 2019, after a judge ruled that their current lease is invalid. The owners are considering whether to relocate the restaurant. At this point, nearly all of the original tenants of Cross Street Market will have permanently relocated or closed by the time renovations are complete. Increased lease rates and the plan to keep half of the market open while construction occurs in the other half haven't helped, as it was always awkward to try and go eat in what was essentially a construction zone. Like JDawg said, the market was long overdue for renovation, but it seems like it will be losing a great deal of what made it unique in the process.
  6. "Highlandtown's Gnocco tweaks its name after copyright dispute" by Carley Milligan, Baltimore Business Journal. Gnocco recently changed its name to Gnocchetto to avoid confusion with a New York restaurant of the same name. The restaurant was also listed as for sale in September, but remains open.
  7. "Ludlow Market Closes in Locust Point" by Kevin Lynch on southbmore.com After a brief re-branding as Ludlow Market, the dining room, bar, and Bottle Shop have all closed as of November 19, 2018.
  8. "Four Seasons' Wit & Wisdom to close; Atlas Restaurant Group taking over space" by Joanna Sullivan, Baltimore Business Journal Closing on January 1, 2019. Atlas Restaurant Group operates 8 restaurants in Harbor East, including Azumi, Ouzo Bay, and Tagliata.
  9. Hersh's and Thames St Oyster House are sure things. I've heard good things about the pastas at Tagliata. Ekiben, Kippo Ramen, and Tortilleria Sinaloa for cheap eats around Fells, Pop Tacos in Fed Hill. Chez Hugo and Puerto 511 are good bets downtown.
  10. Chef Monnier comes from the late Arômes, and his latest venture brings his take on seasonal French bistro fare to the heart of Baltimore. I'm mostly a skeptic of Restaurant Week, but the dinner I had here last week was a tantalizing taste of what Chez Hugo offers. I started with a refreshing tomato gazpacho which was the right balance of sweet and tart, and paired nicely with a very good order of gougères. Next was a lamb murguez sausage, which was fantastic - tender, juicy, and spicy, with that unmistakable lamb flavor. This came on a bed of couscous with parsley, golden raisins, and a harissa yogurt sauce, unadventurous but a good complement to the sausage. Dessert was a poached peach on a sweet biscuit with vanilla ice cream which was just OK. Tastes of my companions dishes were mixed as well. The escargot appetizer and monkfish entree were very fresh, but a little too clean-tasting and could have used more aggressive seasoning. The steak frites and accompanying green peppercorn sauce were perfect, however. Overall, for a Restaurant Week meal I thought Chez Hugo did a good job of balancing a creative and affordable menu, and there were enough strong components that I'd like to come back to try them at their best.
  11. Parts & Labor is now closed, but the bar will be open Wed-Sun for the next 60 days. The bar will serve drinks and a changing food menu, which will be posted daily on their Instagram. Specials could include a fish fry or whole pig roast(!)
  12. Salt Tavern is closing on August 13th (Joanna Sullivan, Baltimore Business Journal). It will become a special events venue.
  13. Definitely a place that deserves more love when it's on. The lobster purses are excellent, but I thought the showstealer was an eggplant puree served with a few dishes, rich, smoky, and sweet, and according to our waiter prepared fresh by Chef Yannick over several hours each day. Most entrees combined a perfect classically cooked protein with an interesting and visually stunning accompaniment, such as lamb saddle with a mini mushroom and zucchini cake, or seared scallions and turbot with pea coulis and morels. Wonderful elevated French bistro fare in a quaint Bethesda townhome; the second story dining room, complete with decorative kitchen, felt like we were guests at a dinner party.
  14. The Fed Hill location in Baltimore is very solid, mostly known for their build-your-own-burger menu and rotating exotic meats (wild boar, alligator, kangaroo, etc.). I'm usually happy with their regular beef patty on a pretzel bun. One quibble is they upcharge to substitute any side for the default chips, which is a bit galling when you paid $3.50 extra for a "house salad" consisting of nothing more than chopped up burger toppings.
  15. Shaho

    DR Summer picnic -7/29/18 Noon to 5ish

    Not sure what I'm bringing yet, but I'll definitely be there! The tomato tasting sounds fantastic.