Thursday, February 04, 2010

Baltimore Restaurant Week: Sascha's 527

My sister and I were lucky enough to just miss the mammoth snow this weekend (forecaster FAIL anyone?) by going out to Sascha's 527 for Restaurant Week on Friday night. It's a restaurant whose samples we enjoyed at the Great Tastes Expo a few years ago, and we had been meaning to get there and sit down for a proper meal. Fortunate enough to find a spot in front of the Walter's, we trekked on over to Sascha's for our 8:30 PM reservation.

Only we didn't have a reservation. I'm not sure if that was a mix-up on the part of Open Table or Sascha's, but it didn't take too long for them to get a table ready for us. This was in spite of the fact that this trendy yet lush, spacious yet cozy restaurant was jammed for the evening.

With its columns, chandelier and massively high ceiling, Sascha's is imposing in terms of space. Its red and brown tones are actually kind of soothing, given the commotion of all the diners - such as the occasionally obnoxious woman laughing as loud as humanly possible (dontcha just love that?).

Sascha's offers an extra perk for Restaurant Week: a complementary glass of house wine. We each ordered the white and anticipated our three-course meal.

For the first course, Cathy got the shrimp and grits.

She loved the flavor. I found the grits nice and mellow, but a wee bit, well, gritty. They were still my favorite part of the dish. I do like shrimp, but be prepared for a very strong shrimp flavor. I mean very strong. Make of that what you will.

My first course was their bison sliders. I loved these moist little burgers. Even more than those, however, I couldn't rave enough about their special Moroccan barbeque sauce they provided with the sliders. It had a nice tamarind flavor. The sauce made the burgers taste even better. It might have also made the house-made chips that came with the burger somewhat more edible. These chips were very inconsistent: some tasted bland, others tasted burnt. It’s definitely not a plus for the meal.

The second course was less satisfying for Cathy. Her free-range chicken with butternut gnocchi had some definite highlights – specifically the gnocchi, perhaps the best thing about either her or my second course. The chicken we found to be dry in some places. Despite its pleasant flavor, my little piece of it was dry enough that it didn’t leave me wanting for more. My seared ahi tuna with saffron noodles was much better. Also medium rare, the tuna was juicy, tender and moist – everything I had hoped the tuna would be, and everything we wish the chicken would have been. The saffron noodles were not life-changing, but still more than satisfied me.

For our final course, we went to old dessert stand-bys. Many restaurants seem to offer some variation of chocolate cake and some variation of crème brulee as part of their Restaurant Week dessert course. I enjoyed the crème brulee – a simple one, unadorned with fruit. It had a mellower flavor than most I have eaten. We couldn’t say the same for the chocolate mousse cake, which was unspeakably rich. I don’t know Cathy finished it. I know I couldn’t have.

We left with an overall above-average experience. I found my dishes to be better than those my sister got. My favorite dish was clearly the bison slider plate with Moroccan barbeque sauce, though again, I could have easily done without those chips.


Liz Stambaugh said...

And those Bison sliders were from Gunpowder Bison too! (right in Monkton)