After reading about Restaurant Week in places like NY and DC for several years now, I think it's high time that Baltimore followed suit.
Taking a look at the participants offering three course dinners for $30, I see that some notable restaurants are on the list: Saffron, Sotto Sopra, Abacrombie Fine Food, Pazo. Pricey ones too: Oceanaire Seafood Room, the Black Olive, and the Prime Rib. But then you have Ding How. A neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Personally, I like their food very much, but come on! Outside of overpriced places like Mr. Chow's, who pays $30 for three courses in a Chinese restaurant? At our favorite local joint - and not only because it delivers - we can get three entrees, a quart of soup, and spring rolls for around $36. Even the deliciously authentic food at Jesse Wong's Hong Kong will cost less than $30 for three courses.
There'd better be shark's fin and abalone at Ding How.
And what about Mondo Bondo, a pizza joint that has "Pasta Night" on Thursdays - a choice of 4 pasta dishes, salad, and garlic bread for $7! Huh? What are they going to have that's worth $30 per person? Babbo it ain't, you know?
The point of restaurant week is to offer a bargain (relative, I know) rate for a meal in restaurants that the common man might ordinarily not visit because of the prices. Get them hooked with that one meal, and they may return to pay real money for their food.
A handful of hotel restaurants are also participating. I don't think any of them are known for their food and imagine that only hungry tourists who are afraid to explore the area would eat in any of them. Wonder how many people Restaurant Week will draw in? This is a case where lower-priced food might get locals to stop in and check a place out.
As for me, I hope to snag a table at Sotto Sopra, although Oceanaire sounds good too. I'll make a full report when the week is over.