Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Frank and Nic's comes to the Westside

Yesterday was a day to celebrate! A new president, a new era! I had four different news mediums on all day long to soak up as much detail as I could. Twitter was my best friend and gave me the itty bittiest details of how people on the Mall were feeling, what the lines were like, how cool the presidential limo was in real life, etc.

So when I got home from work, I literally tackled Joe and said, we're going to go have champagne and dissect every detail of this inauguration! We walked to Frank and Nic's West End Grille, which just opened one block from our house. Finally, restaurants are coming to the west side! Frank and Nic's sits on the first floor of the Zenith apartment building at the corner of Pratt and Paca, across the street from the new Hilton.

Its website description took the words right out of my mouth - it's a "casually elegant destination" that leans a bit towards a sports bar. I wore jeans and a baseball hat and fit in just fine with the post-conference businessmen in suits. We sat on the bar side so we could watch their beautiful HD flatscreens. (I needed a clear picture of Michelle Obama's ball gown, which was lovely, I must say). They passed Joe's music test by playing artists like Thievery Corporation, Stone Temple Pilots, and a song from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack! I got so excited to hear this music somewhere other than my living room where I've been blaring it on repeat :)

I got a champagne split to complement my celebratory spirit. To start, we sampled the Asian dumplings and Seared Tuna Sashimi. The sashimi was served with an Asian slaw spring roll, and all was delicious. The Asian dumplings were pork fried dumplings served with soy and peanut sauces. Perfect as they were.

Our sever recommended the BLT 9, which was chock full of tomatoes, so I couldn't pass it up. They fried a red tomato and served it with crispy bacon, avocado, lettuce and mozzarella cheese on lightly toasted bread. It usually comes with mayo, but I passed. The sandwich was very good but was lacking the "glue" that ties all the flavors together, which I assume would have been the mayo that I nixed. In lieu of mayo, I spread a little ketchup on the toast to moisten it up. Never can have too many tomato products in one meal! Sandwiches come with fries, which were thinly sliced and totally addicting. Joe got the Roast Veggie Panini, but I didn't get a bite of it, so I can't comment.

CNN was just starting to cover all the inaugural balls, so we weren't in a hurry to leave the bar. To help pass the time, we ordered the Banana Bread Pudding served a la mode. The warm, gooey bread was the perfect ending to our celebration.

Our buddy Scott needed an outlet to celebrate too, so he joined us after dessert for a beer. He seemed to approve of the place, so hopefully we can convince other folks to come over to the west side a little more often. It's clear that Frank and Nic's money time will be baseball and football seasons. Sitting right next to Camden Yards can be a lonely place when there are no games. But if the restaurant can ride out the next three months til O's Opening Day, they should be set for a successful first year.

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