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Tiber River Tavern

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My wife and I ended up wandering around Historic Ellicott City last night and stopped in front of a wine bar to ask a woman for a restaurant recommendation. Our only direction was that we didn't want something as fancy as Jordan's. She pointed up a side street and authoritatively said, "Tiber River Tavern. Good food all around and entrees that start at $9." We're glad we asked because we had a surprisingly good meal at the bar.

When we walked up to the restaurant, we were shocked to see a menu with entree prices that started at $24 and stretched into the $30 range. Confused, we still wandered inside and noticed that there was a dining room in front and a bar to the right. We veered right. The bar was busy with people drinking pints and eating food, with only a handful killing time waiting for a seat in the dining room. We scored seats at the bar and found two menus, one for the expensive dining room and one apparantly for the bar that resembled the prices the woman mentioned. For those curious, when I looked for a web site this morning (http://www.tiberrivertavern.com/), the cheaper menu was listed under their lunch menu.

My wife ordered the Sandtrap Filet, which was two petit filets on top of two English muffins with a Bernaisse sauce that she got on the side. The filets were surpisingly well-marbled and the English muffins seemed to be cooked on griddle to soak in some of the juicy grease. $14 and Wonderful. And there was no reason to mess it up with the accompanying bean sprouts on the side. No reason to kid yourself that it's diet food. I ordered the Black and Blue sandwich, which was a thin beef tenderloin on a (too) large rustic bun topped with melted blue cheese, horseradish, and carmelized onions. Again, $14, juicy and wonderful (once I bit around the non-meat areas of the bun). As my wife described it, the food was "restaurant quality bar food"--IN HOWARD COUNTY! Quite a pleasant surprise for our wanderings. If we were in the area, we'd definitely go back for lunch or dinner, and, IMHO, no need to double your bill by walking straight into the main restaurant. (By the way, if you've been before, the bartender told a regular that they just revamped the main dining room's menu)

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