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Help Needed For Steak/Seafood Restaurant


jimmyblue
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Hello, I am a new member, also new to DC/MD area and will be hosting some out of town friends for dinner. As I am unfamiliar with the restaurant scene here, I was looking for a comfortable restaurant (good steaks/seafood) about halfway between the DC and Ellicott City/Columbia area to meet them. They are coming from the south and I will be coming from the north. I am looking in the general area of Rt. 29 halfway between DC and above as I am somewhat familiar with that road. Any advice and/or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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"About halfway between the DC and Ellicott City/Columbia area" describes where I live. Oh dear. Are you sure you're not willing to drive further south? :lol: It's a bit of a wasteland in terms of what you're seeking. There are three places in Burtonsville (Rt 29 and Rt 198 intersection) that might suit. If the diners are willing to be a little adventurous, there's Cuba De Ayer. Old Hickory Grille's focus lies is somewhere between BBQ and New Orleans. I've heard positive reports about the Italian trattoria in the Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center, but I've yet to go there (and am blanking on the name... Pepito's?).

Laurel is infested with chain restaurants, but Pasta Plus is a hidden (but hardly secret) gem.

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"About halfway between the DC and Ellicott City/Columbia area" describes where I live. Oh dear. Are you sure you're not willing to drive further south? :lol: It's a bit of a wasteland in terms of what you're seeking. There are three places in Burtonsville (Rt 29 and Rt 198 intersection) that might suit. If the diners are willing to be a little adventurous, there's Cuba De Ayer. Old Hickory Grille's focus lies is somewhere between BBQ and New Orleans. I've heard positive reports about the Italian trattoria in the Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center, but I've yet to go there (and am blanking on the name... Pepito's?).

Laurel is infested with chain restaurants, but Pasta Plus is a hidden (but hardly secret) gem.

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Hello, I am a new member, also new to DC/MD area and will be hosting some out of town friends for dinner.  As I am unfamiliar with the restaurant scene here, I was looking for a comfortable restaurant (good steaks/seafood) about halfway between the DC and Ellicott City/Columbia area to meet them.  They are coming from the south and I will be coming from the north.  I am looking in the general area of Rt. 29 halfway between DC and above as I am somewhat familiar with that road.  Any advice and/or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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I certainly would appreciate your input into the Bethesda and Silver Spring area. Someone mentioned Clyde's in Bethesda, but it got sort of so-so reviews on this board. Any recommendations you have for a finer dining experience, preferably open on Sunday, would be appreciated.

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I certainly would appreciate your input into the Bethesda and Silver Spring area. Someone mentioned Clyde's in Bethesda, but it got sort of so-so reviews on this board.  Any recommendations you have for a finer dining experience, preferably open on Sunday, would be appreciated.

How about Persimmon?

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Places up in that area don't generally get alot of attention from here, unless it involves the shaking butts of Ducks. However, I've paid attention to some of the threads over at the Chowhound since I shop at the honking mall up there from time to time.

Here are some links [emm, is that groovy Rocks? I'll edit and rattle off the names otherwise.]

http://www.chowhound.com/midatlantic/board...ages/75876.html

http://www.chowhound.com/midatlantic/board...ages/72805.html

http://www.chowhound.com/midatlantic/board...ages/69560.html

http://www.chowhound.com/midatlantic/board...ages/67867.html

I'll admit to being curious about the Rooster Cafe, Bangkok Cafe and Cafe de Paris.

Hope that helps acclimate yourself to the area :lol:

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Another place up that way is the Elkridge Furnace Inn. I was there last summer for a wedding and the food was excellent, and the place is nice and cozy (basically a large 250 year old house). I can only imagine how tasty it is when prepared in smaller amounts. I have a friend that said when she worked up there, they often did business lunches there.

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Here are some links [emm, is that groovy Rocks? I'll edit and rattle off the names otherwise.]

It's always okay to link to other sites here. :lol:

This area is a wasteland for steaks and seafood. As mentioned, Pepino's (not Pepito's) in Burtonsville does a decent pizza. I've heard decent things about Cuba de Ayer as well. Old Hickory Grill has a good meatloaf with mashed potatoes. You can get good pasta at Pasta Plus in Laurel. Believe it or not, I once had a decent Thanksgiving lunch at the Brass Duck in the Holiday Inn off 198, but that was years ago. I've had a good crabcake sandwich at Bay N Surf seafood house in Laurel (there's an all-lump upcharge option, and it's worth it). Sergio in Silver Spring is good, comfortable, and may be the best option for you. But for what you're asking for, I hesitate to recommend any of these places and I'm not sure where to steer you. Maybe King's Contrivance in Columbia? I haven't been there in over five years so I can't vouch for the quality and it may be too expensive.

On a more general note, there's a vast market here for a modestly upscale dining option, perhaps around Route 216 to avoid the Montgomery County liquor laws - there isn't much competition, and people would happily make the trip from all over Montgomery, Howard, and Prince Georges counties I'm fairly certain.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Believe it or not, I once had a decent Thanksgiving lunch at the Brass Duck in the Holiday Inn off 198, but that was years ago.

The Brass Duck is gone now. A few years ago, it got demoted to severely limited hours. The hotel now belongs to another chain, and the restaurant reopened a few weeks ago as an Outback.
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The Brass Duck is gone now. A few years ago, it got demoted to severely limited hours. The hotel now belongs to another chain, and the restaurant reopened a few weeks ago as an Outback.

Oh yeah! I saw that sign while driving up 198 awhile ago, and didn't realize it was at the Holiday Inn. Well, there's the steak we're looking for... :lol:

P.S. Isn't there a restaurant that just opened in the old Hitching Post spot too?

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Not to open any new cans of worms, but if one were willing to divert in the other direction, Manniquin Pis in Olney ought to be on the radar screen.

Yeah, it should. I had a good meal there last week, which I need to post on the appropriate thread.

The only problem might be finding the place if you're unfamiliar with Olney.

Edited by Heather
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The only problem might be finding the place if you're unfamiliar with Olney.

Finding Le Mannequin Pis is a pain in the ass even if you ARE familiar with Olney.

I second Sergio's or Jackie's in Silver Spring. In Bethesda, I would consider Persimmon, Black's, Grapeseed, or Centro.

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I'll admit to being curious about the Rooster Cafe, Bangkok Cafe and Cafe de Paris.

The Rooster Cafe has a very creative menu and the food almost lives up to the description. The problem I've found with this place is the service and the location (located in a shopping center). The service (at least the time that we went - and I've heard similar remarks from others that have been) is equivalent to what you would find at a diner in Baltimore or Little Italy. The waitress smelled of cigarettes, kept calling me "hun" and didn't quite have a grasp of the menu.

Cafe de Paris is grossly over priced for the what you get as far as quality. Again, if I had my choice of french food outside of the DC area, I would go to Tersiguel's!

I'm not familiar with Bangkok Cafe. But, for the most authentic Thai food in Ho Co, I would go to Bangkok Garden.

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Maybe King's Contrivance in Columbia?  I haven't been there in over five years so I can't vouch for the quality and it may be too expensive. 

Don,

Kings Contrivance isn't what it once was. Still a nice place to visit, but it's really gone down hill as far as the quality of food. They were a top place to go at one time, but I really think they've slipped in the last 5-10 years! It is still, however, a very romantic setting and destination!

Have you been to Tersiguel's recently?

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Don,

Kings Contrivance isn't what it once was.  Still a nice place to visit, but it's really gone down hill as far as the quality of food.  They were a top place to go at one time, but I really think they've slipped in the last 5-10 years!  It is still, however, a very romantic setting and destination!

Have you been to Tersiguel's recently?

Wow - King's Contrivance is still there? I think I ate dinner there the day my parents closed on our new house in Columbia -- in 1970. I had friends who were dishwashers there in high school.

If someone's wandering over to Columbia, Cafe de Paris might hit the spot.

Edit: Having grown up in the 21045 zip code, I'm pretty sure that the map next to the post review drops you in Laurel, a good 20 miles from the restaurant's actual location which is just off Rt. 108 between 175 and 29.

Edited by Waitman
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If someone's wandering over to Columbia, Cafe de Paris might hit the spot.

Edit:  Having grown up in the 21045 zip code, I'm pretty sure that the map next to the post review drops you in Laurel, a good 20 miles from the restaurant's actual location which is just off Rt. 108 between 175 and 29.

The Post map is still centered on their old location in Laurel - they moved to Columbia a few years ago. Manually enter the address in a map site, and you're fine...

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Wow - King's Contrivance is still there?  I think I ate dinner there the day my parents closed on our new house in Columbia -- in 1970.  I had friends who were dishwashers there in high school.

If someone's wandering over to Columbia, Cafe de Paris might hit the spot.

Edit:  Having grown up in the 21045 zip code, I'm pretty sure that the map next to the post review drops you in Laurel, a good 20 miles from the restaurant's actual location which is just off Rt. 108 between 175 and 29.

I grew up (and still live) in the 21045 zip code. I'm sure you're a few years older than me, though, since I was born the year your parents closed on their new house in Columbia.

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I grew up (and still live) in the 21045 zip code.  I'm sure you're a few years older than me, though, since I was born the year your parents closed on their new house in Columbia.

Don't be bringing up my age, you whippersnapper. :lol:

I don't get back to Columbia much, but my first job was washing dishes in the restaurant that was in the Clyde's space before Clyde's was there. I was on little league baseball and went to Oakland Mills High School with Steve Wecker, the guy who owns Iron Bridge, so I guess my career as a ranting food freak began right about where you live now.

Edited by Waitman
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Don't be bringing up my age, you whippersnapper.   :lol:

I don't get back to Columbia much, but my first job was washing dishes in the restaurant that was in the Clyde's space before Clyde's was there.  I was on little league baseball and went to Oakland Mills High School with Steve Wecker, the guy who owns Iron Bridge, so I guess my career as a ranting food freak began right about where you live now.

My first job was washing dishes in that same building! But it was called "Clyde's" when I worked there. I started cooking at the Rusty Scupper and then went on to study culinary arts at the Ho Co VoTech center and apprenticed through the MD Restaurant Association. I gave up cooking during the mid 90s after finding out that cooking for a living is MUCH different than cooking for enjoyment. I still LOVE to cook and have a great admiration for those that cook professionally!

My older sister graduated from OMHS in 1985 and I went to Hammond.

Iron Bridge is a great place! I go there for lunch a few times a month. Very creative menu and nice concept (a wine store where you can buy a bottle of wine (retail) and enjoy it with your dinner for a $5 corkage fee). It's MUCH different than the "biker bar" that occupied the building before Iron Bridge came along. From time to time, I still see bikers ride up and park their motorcycles (next to a BMW) in the parking lot. After walking through the front door, they see everyone eating salads and sipping on wine (as if they're caught in some strange time warp). Then they look at each other, shake their heads, and then wander back to their motorcycles.

Edited by mhberk
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I still see bikers ride up and park their motorcycles (next to a BMW) in the parking lot.

Sorry for the off-topic, but today's trivia: BMW made motorcycles long before they made cars. Just sayin'. Bimmer riders tend to, um, hang at different venues then HD people.

-proud rider of '02 F650CSA :lol:

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Don't be bringing up my age, you whippersnapper.   :lol:

I don't get back to Columbia much, but my first job was washing dishes in the restaurant that was in the Clyde's space before Clyde's was there.  I was on little league baseball and went to Oakland Mills High School with Steve Wecker, the guy who owns Iron Bridge, so I guess my career as a ranting food freak began right about where you live now.

Another 21045-OMHS-er here (though I was born 6 years after your parents settled) :huh: . My all time favorite Columbia area restaurant growing up was Tersiguel's, but like Rocks, I probably haven't been there since the late 80s (or early 90s). Thanks for the suggestion mhberk- sounds like a great place to suggest for my Mom's upcoming birthday. (We were thinking of our old standby- favorite Pasta Plus, but could be time for a change)

We also used to enjoy Old Hickory Grill in Burtonsville (loved the biscuits and mashed potatoes), and my parents have grown to love Cafe de Paris, but I haven't eaten much in that area in the past 7 or 8 years. Sorry to hear Kings Contrivance has gone downhill.

Wish I could help- good luck!

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Another 21045-OMHS-er here (though I was born 6 years after your parents settled)  :lol:   .  My all time favorite Columbia area restaurant growing up was Tersiguel's, but like Rocks, I probably haven't been there since the late 80s (or early 90s).  Thanks for the suggestion mhberk- sounds like a great place to suggest for my Mom's upcoming birthday.  (We were thinking of our old standby- favorite Pasta Plus, but could be time for a change)

We also used to enjoy Old Hickory Grill in Burtonsville (loved the biscuits and mashed potatoes), and my parents have grown to love Cafe de Paris, but I haven't eaten much in that area in the past 7 or 8 years.  Sorry to hear Kings Contrivance has gone downhill. 

Wish I could help- good luck!

By the way, as long as we're on the topic of Columbia, I'd like to add Trattoria E Pizzeria Da Enrico in King's Contrivance Village Center. It's a dive strip-mall place, but the food is really very good.

Cheers,

Rocks

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My all time favorite Columbia area restaurant growing up was Tersiguel's, but like Rocks, I probably haven't been there since the late 80s (or early 90s).  Thanks for the suggestion mhberk- sounds like a great place to suggest for my Mom's upcoming birthday.  (We were thinking of our old standby- favorite Pasta Plus, but could be time for a change)

Tersiguel's was the first place that I built up the courage to try a tasting menu (which you have to ask your server for since I don't think they offer it on the menu). During that meal, I had foie gras, skate, and spaetzle all for the first time! I can't say enough about this place. If we're in the area, my wife and I will stop by for dessert and have their bananas foster, crepes suzette, or cafe diablo (which they do all 3 table-side!!). It's always a big production.

As far as Pasta Plus, you wouldn't want your mother to wait in line (since they don't take reservations) on her birthday, do you?

Sorry to hear Kings Contrivance has gone downhill.

I worked as a busboy there in '87. I remember that Baltimore Magazine had just down-graded them to 2 1/2 stars. The chef (and co-owner) kept storming around the kitchen, yelling "HEY, we're only a two and a half star restaurant!!"

I've been there maybe 5 times in the last 10 years and each time gets worse. It's never been what it was during the '80s

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Tersiguel's was the first place that I built up the courage to try a tasting menu (which you have to ask your server for since I don't think they offer it on the menu).  During that meal, I had foie gras, skate, and spaetzle all for the first time!  I can't say enough about this place.  If we're in the area, my wife and I will stop by for dessert and have their bananas foster, crepes suzette, or cafe diablo (which they do all 3 table-side!!).  It's always a big production.

As far as Pasta Plus, you wouldn't want your mother to wait in line (since they don't take reservations) on her birthday, do you?

I worked as a busboy there in '87.  I remember that Baltimore Magazine had just down-graded them to 2 1/2 stars.  The chef (and co-owner) kept storming around the kitchen, yelling "HEY, we're only a two and a half star restaurant!!" 

I've been there maybe 5 times in the last 10 years and each time gets worse.  It's never been what it was during the '80s

I remember the crepes suzette being THE thing to get. My french teacher even took our class there for them. I fondly remember the cute little fried potato cubes (I know there's a more sophisticated name for them, but that's what I called 'em. Are they still accompanying the beef dishes?) Maybe I'll try the tasting menu this time!

Good point about the lines at Pasta Plus. Mom's knees are bad. And I suppose it's too late to warn my parents about King's Contrivance- they're taking friends there this weekend as a thank you. I'll get their feedback.

(sorry- didn't mean to hijack the thread!)

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And I suppose it's too late to warn my parents about King's Contrivance- they're taking friends there this weekend as a thank you.  I'll get their feedback.

Buckinghamilton,

I didn't mean to scare you off from Kings Contrivance. They are STILL better than 80% of the restaurants out there. They're just not better than 90% of them any more!

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In Columbia/Ellicott City, I'd also recommend Tersiguel's. But I like Cafe de Paris as well for something a bit more casual and fun. Trattoria e Pizzeria absolutely rocks. I still occasionaly stop by there to pick up a pizza even though I live in Laurel now (and get my pizza fix usually from Pasta Plus).

Laurel is pretty much a culinary wasteland for a good steak and seafood place though, which is the question at hand. If you go east on 198, though, before you get to NSA, there is a place called Casey's Crab Co that makes some of the best fish and chips I have ever had. Really great. It is more of a place to go buy fresh seafood and order takeout though -- no place to sit and eat.

For good steak and seafood, I'd really advise you to head in to DC. It's really not that far.

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When I was younger, we used to go to Sir Walter Raleigh Inn in Ellicott City for steak. That place has been gone for years, but it looks like there's one in Wheaton on Fern Street (which would "meat" your criteria for location).

Good luck!

EDIT: Well, I called and it looks like the Wheaton location has closed. The only one still open is in College Park. Sorry!

Edited by mhberk
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When I was younger, we used to go to Sir Walter Raleigh Inn in Ellicott City for steak.  That place has been gone for years, but it looks like there's one in Wheaton on Fern Street (which would "meat" your criteria for location). 

Good luck!

EDIT: Well, I called and it looks like the Wheaton location has closed.  The only one still open is in College Park.  Sorry!

Was Papillon - just off 20 headed toward route 40 -- open in your day? It was a linen-tablecloth place in old farmhouse, and the barn had been turned into an informal watering hole with not-to-loud music with a country/folkie bent (some older locals may remember the band "The Horse You Rode In On," a Fells Point favorite) called Pauvre Papillon. It had a bohemian feel and a certain lassitude toward drinking-age laws that made it a great date spot for would-be Kerouakians like myself. In the summer they'd set the tables under a huge oak tree and play the music outside under the leaves and stars. Great spot.

Edited by Waitman
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Did you get any feedback yet?

A bit- My mother adored her meal (the salmon??), but added that she thinks she got the best one. She told me some details of what everyone got, but as I'm going on about an hour of sleep today (been doing the head nod thing all day), it's not coming to me. I'll get more out of her when I see her next week- at Cafe de Paris! (Her choice- even though I put Tersiguel's out there). Will report back on that, too.

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Was Papillon - just off 20 headed toward route 40 -- open in your day? It was a linen-tablecloth place in old farmhouse, and the barn had been turned into an informal watering hole with not-to-loud music with a country/folkie bent (some older locals may remember the band "The Horse You Rode In On," a Fells Point favorite) called Pauvre Papillon. It had a bohemian feel and a certain lassitude toward drinking-age laws that made it a great date spot for would-be Kerouakians like myself.  In the summer they'd set the tables under a huge oak tree and play the music outside under the leaves and stars.  Great spot.

Sounded like a nice spot, but I must've been too young to remember it. When you said "20", did you mean "29"?

I think that whole area you're describing is now a Walmart

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A bit-  My mother adored her meal (the salmon??), but added that she thinks she got the best one.  She told me some details of what everyone got, but as I'm going on about an hour of sleep today (been doing the head nod thing all day), it's not coming to me.  I'll get more out of her when I see her next week- at Cafe de Paris!  (Her choice- even though I put Tersiguel's out there).  Will report back on that, too.

Cafe de Paris over Tersiguel's?!?? NO!!!!! I think I can look past it since it's her birthday. But any other time....

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First, I'd like to thank all for their input and recommendations! I finally ended up going to Black's Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda. Not bad, only a 30 mile drive from zip 21042 right down ole 29. No problem finding the restaurant and my friends, but to my chagrin, it was closed with a paper sign in the door saying something about Superbowl Sunday. Anyway, we re-grouped and proceeded across the street to Houston's for a very nice afternoon evening. Drinks were well sized and reasonable and the food was very good. IMO service was a bit spotty as the waitstaff seemed to cling to the end of the service bar. Overall, a good experience. Route 29 is indeed a wasteland for restaurants. I thank you all for the advice to "drive a little further" south.

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You know, Houston's was the first place that popped into my mind when you started this thread. The only reason I didn't mention it was because they don't take reservation and I know that that's a bummer when you're with friends. I'm glad things worked out for you!

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Cafe de Paris over Tersiguel's?!?? NO!!!!! I think I can look past it since it's her birthday. But any other time....

Dude, I think the two restaurants target a different approach to French cusisine. I love both places. When I am going for more French Country fare, Tersiguel's is where I go. When I want to hit more of a bistro type place, I hit Cafe de Paris. Eric, at Cafe de Paris, makes you really feel welcome. When I want something similar to either Tersiguel's or Cafe de Paris, I head over, instead, to Le Mannequin Pis (ever tried their frisee salad with lardons?? OMYGOSH!).

Somebody mentioned Bay & Surf for seafood, which is in Laurel. Just as an update, Bay and Surf had a fire a few months ago. They've been closed since but have vowed to reopen as soon as they finish fixing the place back up.

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