Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Appetite Adventure - Linwoods, Owings Mills
if you are just joining me for my appetite adventure and aren't really sure what it is, find out about it here. you can see the full list of reviews so far here or by clicking the appetite adventure tab at the top of this page - right next to "home" and "about PW".
number two on my appetite adventure list is Linwoods in Owings Mills. i have heard great things about this place but have just never been. truthfully, owings mills doesn't really seem like a hub for great restaurants. maybe back in the late 80's early 90's when owings mills mall was at it's peak, but not now, not really. let me tell you, you have to look past its location because Linwoods is worth the drive - and then some.
i am the first to admit that there is a lot that goes into a dining experience. it's more than just the food. the atmosphere is important, the service must be good, and the company makes all the difference. i was lucky enough to enjoy an incredible meal with two of my girls from high school. (pssst, that was 15 years ago, gasp!) they are 50% of the reason i loved linwoods so much. 30% belongs to the delicious food and 20% to the incredible cocktail list of which i would have had one of each if that is possible.
we each started with a cocktail (which i neglected to photograph). i had a pineapple martini upon recommendation of the server while L enjoyed an amazing L75 (st. germain martini that i enjoyed later myself) and E wisely chose and ever classic peach bellini.
after nearly 30 minutes with our drinks and menus, we finally decided on appetizers. I had the seared scallops with parmesan risotto. (it's worth noting the presentation of all the plates was superb. after-all, you eat with your eyes first, right?) the scallops were cooked perfectly, a browned crust on the outside, yet perfectly tender on the inside, and i ate every last piece of cheesy, creamy rice. each scallop was topped with a section of lemon that tasted positively fresh with a bite of risotto. it was a pleasant surprise that tasted like sunshine.
my dinner mates chose a cirtus arugula salad with creative citrus pearls on the side (like tapioca pearls of flavor)
and the wild mushroom ravioli which manged to be rich and flavorful without being too heavy.
for our main course i had an incredibly hard time choosing between the beef tenderloin and the sea bass with lemon crab salad, green beans, and horseradish potatoes. ultimately, i settled on the tenderloin because i had the scallops to start. i was not disappointed. the 6oz grilled filet came plated on top of a square of crispy, cheesy gratin potatoes with a generous chunk of bleu cheese slowly melting on top. a bundle of haricot verts was cooked exactly how i like them - tender with a little crunch remaining.
E, a vegetarian, enjoyed the margherita and portobello pizza topped with garlic chips. she raved about the toppings on the pizza and i stole several garlic chips.
L enjoyed the 14oz ribeye on a bed of balsamic-glazed asparagus with a side of smashed potatoes with gremolada. the ribeye literally melted in your mouth while the citrus flavor of the gremolada in the potatoes was a refreshing cirtus twist on usually heavy potatoes.
the three of us shared the pecan tart a la mode for dessert. it was delicious but a little heavy after such a big meal.
overall, Linwoods pleasantly surprised me. the atmosphere was open and modern - you can see the entire kitchen full of white hat clad bustling chefs. our server graciously tended to our every need for over 3 hours. it is a great place to casually catch up with old friends or celebrate a special occasion, although if price is a concern, i would recommend dining here for a special celebration as it is on the pricier side.
i could eat here quite a few times and not run out of new things to try (first on the list will be the sea bass with crab). i seriously wanted to try half the items on the menu and i wanted to sip every single cocktail. be sure to arrive hungry and ready for a great experience.