I asked Mr Minx to surprise me with the location for my birthday dinner this year. His choice: Christopher Daniel, a steakhouse in northern Baltimore County. I had heard good things about the place and the menu looked interesting, so I was very happy with his choice. Tucked away into a strip mall on Padonia Road, Christopher Daniel was hopping at 6PM on a Saturday night, with a private party in one room and lots of elderly couples elsewhere. Yeah, so it's a place the older crowd likes. But the food is good, so I hope younger folks do drop in for dinner later in the evening.
We decided to split an appetizer of cornmeal fried oysters to start off. They were unusually tender in their crunchy crusts and the light mustard sauce was a perfect accompaniment. For our salad course, I went for the steakhouse classic iceberg wedge with bleu cheese dressing, this one gussied up BLT style with flecks of tomato and bacon on top. The serving looked like a giant slab of white-iced birthday cake with a funfetti garnish. There was a bit too much good dressing, but it was cheese-ful so I can't complain. Mr Minx went for the poached pear salad with mesclun, spicy pecans bleu cheese and raspberry-hazelnut dressing. The pear was nicely spiced and the salad was both generously-portioned and delicious. In fact, after the salad course, neither of us were particularly hungry anymore.
But...steaks were forthcoming. He chose the 8oz strip with a port wine reduction and crispy onion rings. I decided to go for the Kobe beef, which turned out to be a large tenderloin, with horseradish sauce and mushrooms. At $28 for 12oz, I sincerely doubt it was Kobe (considering that the stuff costs $20 per ounce with a 6 ounce minimum at Morimoto), and a lean cut like tenderloin kinda misses the point of the whole unctuous super-marbling for which the Japanese beef is famous. But...it was flavorful, perfectly cooked to medium. The strip steak, as well, was perfectly cooked, and both pieces of meat were well-seasoned.
Vegetables were a la carte, and I went for the lobster mac and cheese. It was more buttery than cheesy, and the little lobster bits really did make it special. Mr Minx's baked potato was indeed baked, rather than the ubiquitous steamed in foil versions most restaurants dare serve, and had a nicely crispy skin. We both tried the spinach with garlic which was lightly cooked and heavy on the raw garlic.
Although we were full and doggie bagged part of our steaks, I agreed to take a look at the dessert menu because it was my birthday. But we didn't need to order anything, as our waitress immediately trotted back to the table with a warm hunk of flourless chocolate cake decked out with chocolate sauce and a candle. A very nice touch that I greatly appreciated.
A happy birthday to me. :)