Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Howard County Restaurant Weeks 2009

Howard County Restaurant Weeks returns Monday for two weeks of discounts, and this is your chance to try somewhere new.

From July 27 to August 9, 2009, you can enjoy "restaurant week" specials at about 25 different tables. My recommendations include Victoria Gastro Pub (for parking lot cuisine), Iron Bridge Wine Company, and Aida Bistro in Columbia, Jordan's Steakhouse in Ellicott City, and Ranazul in Fulton. I'm also thinking this might be my chance to visit Bistro Blanc in Glenelg.

(Update: I re-wrote the bottom of this post. When I first posted, there wasn't much information about the specials on the Web. You'll see comments responding to my observations.)

The Howard County organizers tweaked the 2009 restaurant week by asking restaurants to emphasize local products. Check out the list of participating restaurants and click through to the restaurant Web sites. Several have the restaurant week logo posted on their site. Many of the deals appear to be three courses for about $30. At Iron Bridge, you can choose off the entire menu. Other places like Ranazul in Fulton and Aida Bistro have special menus that are limited, but still good-looking and full of options for local produce. For example, Aida Bistro's menu includes a "summer soup" that looks like Aida is picking the best fruits or vegetables that they find each day.

For more about restaurants in Howard County, check out my "What I've Learned" series of posts.

8 comments:

Howard County said...

Thanks for mentioning Howard County Summer Restaurant Weeks to your readers. The Tourism Team is working with our restaurant partners to have the menus posted on their websites before the promotion begins on July 27th. The menus will feature many Maryland products as part of the "Buy Local" promotion. Participation in Restaurant Weeks is open to any restaurant and we are still accepting partners...

Anonymous said...

I found a couple of the menus by clicking on the actual restaurant's websites. It would be nice to have them in a centralized location. Also, what are the fixed prices for lunch and dinner? Are they all $12 and $30, like Victoria's lists?

Bistro Blanc
http://bistroblancmd.com/images/Restaurant_Week_July_2009.pdf

Aida Bistro:
http://www.aidabistro.com/restaurant_weeks_menu_072709.html

Victoria's
http://www.victoriagastropub.com/File/Summer%2009%20Restaurant%20Week.pdf

DAS said...

I wrote the Howard County tourism folks and mentioned that Baltimore's restaurant week website manages to list the special menu for every one of the participating restaurants. I checked a couple of Howard County's at random and very few have a RW menu posted. It can't be that hard..

Howard County said...

We've added a FAQ area to the website that should be helpful. Unlike other Restaurant Weeks, Howard County's "Buy Local Challenge" means the menu items are being made with seasonal, fresh ingredients. Foodies will appreciate that our chefs are busy developing creative new recipes, so menu items may change during the promotion. Participating restaurants will offer chef’s menus from $10.09 to $40.09 (beverages, tax, gratuity not included, promotions and menus varies) featuring local produce, products, cut flowers, herbs, meats, eggs, game often paired with Maryland wine or local beers. Please stay tuned and thank you for your feedback.

Howard County said...

Thanks for the suggestion. The menus may be changing daily / weekly because the restaurants are buying local products from Maryland farmers and wineries. Prices range from $10.09 to $40.09, and each participating restaurant will offer a combination of choices within that price range. Restaurants may offer a fixed price menu at $10.09, $20.09, or $30.09, and add the choice of beer or wine. The flexibility in pricing is designed to encourage the participation of restaurants in a wide range of value. Diners are sure to find enjoyable options at any participating restaurants.

Paul said...

Love this site, just discovered it... I agree very much about the desire to post menus online. Last year, we tried the Restaurant Week menu at Crab Shanty, and one has to be REALLY careful to read the menu carefully to ensure that your $30 is really a bargain. We referred what we ended up eating to what it would have cost a la carte on the regular menu, and we would have saved money on the regular fare! Needless to say, we kind of thought Crab Shanty was missing the point and we haven't been back since. Victoria's sounds like a great way to go this time around, thanks gang!

Anonymous said...

Howard County's Restaurant Week was a big flop for Donna's. They shamelessly posted their restaurant week promotion on their website to lure people into their restaurant, but there was no sign of such an event once we arrived. The waiter had to ask the manager several times before we got a ridiculous answer. $10 for soup and salad?? that was nothing like the menu they had on their website. not only are they known for their poor service, they are also frauds and in the business of cheating you out of your money.

Howard County said...

I had a fantastic Restaurant Week meal at Victoria's last night. Fried Asparagus, Lemon Basil Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Chocolate Praline Cake.
They were busy but we still had very attentive wait staff.