Fine Dining in Frederick: The Tasting Room
I'm from Frederick, MD. I became passionate about food in Frederick, MD. I started working in restaurants in Frederick, MD. Frederick, MD is now a food destination thanks to a few key players. Since I can remember, Tauraso's was THE fine dining establishment in Frederick. It was the place you went if you really wanted to SPLURGE. Tauraso's has since closed, but the owners operate a beautiful restaurant downtown called The Tasting Room, exuding the same elegance for special occasions. They also own the best BBQ joint in Frederick, Black Hog.
My family and I make it a point to stop by the Tasting Room before holidays when we're all together to indulge in their spectacular Happy Hour. If you're in the area, make sure to stop by for one of their signature cocktails, the beef carpaccio, and the filet. Keep reading for some of my favorite items on the menu!
The cocktails are always exquisite; from a seasonal blueberry lemonade to a classic dirty martini, you're always in for a good time at the bar. I will always request my off-menu favorite, The Hot and Dirty. It's a martini made with pepper vodka and jalapeno, with blue cheese stuffed olives. Divine.
Our bartender did not exude friendliness to me and my best friend, even though we were the only two at the bar, but I guess we all have bad days? It also took us about 20 minutes to get a drink. Not ideal, but we carried on!
The appetizers really shine at the Tasting Room. There's nothing better than scoring one of the small window tables while enjoying a bottle of wine, sharing food with your friend, and people watching the streets of our hometown. The logo stamped butter is nostalgic and I look forward to it each time we go. My bestie and I both chuckled as we remarked that we'd need about three more pats of butter to satisfy our addiction.
The beef carpaccio is truly something special. I love the old school presentation of the thinly shaved beef on a circular plate. It reminds me of my first year working in a kitchen, where I'd watch in awe as the salad chef pulled chilled plates from the reach in to expose neon pink rounds of beef. This version sticks to the classic accoutrements of shaved parm, peppery arugula, crispy capers, lemon zest and fatty aioli. A squeeze of grilled lemon over top, and I'm antsy to dig in with some warm crostinis.
I should also mention that our server Jeff was a complete professional. Exceptional service, happy smiling face, kept our table crumb free, and was a true gentlemen when there was confusion about our bill. Jeff makes me want to come back. His recommendations were the perfect fit for my palate, too.
The panko shrimp are a guilty pleasure for me, and these are top of the line. Super light, crispy panko coating creates a seal, revealing uber plump and succulent shrimp inside. The Asian dipping sauce is salty and bright, adding to the sweetness of the shrimp without overpowering it. I don't like to share these.
There is something so exciting about a well composed salad. Textures, color, sweet, sour, hot, cold; I love a salad. The strawberry spinach salad is classic and seasonal. Plump strawberries burst in your mouth with a hint of salty feta and the crunch of roasted pistachios. A simple Champagne vinaigrette brings it all together.
Don't pass up the classic Caesar, though. The technique shines through with this beauty - gorgeous emulsified dressing with lots of garlic and mustard, salty anchovy filets and a meaty boiled egg dress the crisp, cool romaine. My mouth is watering.
**DISCLAIMER: IT GOT DARK BECAUSE WE WERE THERE TOO LONG SO MY PHOTOS AREN'T GREAT BUT WHO CARES JUST GO EAT IT!**
Ok people, the absolute best thing you should ever get at the Tasting Room, which has been on the menu forever and is perfectly consistent every time, is the center-cut filet. Always get it with all the extras: au gratin potatoes, mini salad, sauce béarnaise and seasonal mushrooms. They season this filet with subtle sprinkles of salt, pepper, and I swear there must be a little sugar of some kind because the slight sweetness on the crust is to die for. A gorgeous medium rare, it's great on it's own, but the silky béarnaise is a thing of dreams, adding tang and a hint of licorice from the tarragon, The au gratin potatoes and buttery mushrooms make me groan in happiness. A classic steak dinner always makes me think of my dad and he is a big fan of this meal. I can just see him silently polishing off the whole thing in a hurry so he won't have to share, haha!
A new menu item that we tried is the roasted monkfish with crab, truffled couscous, and cauliflower puree. It must look similar to a previous dish as we were asked about our "scallops" many times ;). I am very impressed by this dish. The monkfish was meaty, almost steak-like, and the subtle sweetness of the tender crab was the perfect pairing of these two sea creatures. Richness from the truffled couscous engulfed by senses and I was hypnotized by the exquisite flavors and textures of this dish. Would order again.
At the advice of Jeff, we shared the carrot cake. You should also share the carrot cake, or just eat it all yourself. It's the perfect size of layered moist cake studded with carrot and layered with whipped cream cheese icing. A little sugar tuille adds the crunch you might miss from the raisins and nuts, but this carrot cake is perfection. EAT IT.
Take a trip outside the beltway and explore all that Frederick has to offer, especially The Tasting Room!
101 N. Market Street
Frederick, MD 21701
Monday - Thursday
11:00AM - 10:00PM / Bar till 12AM
Friday - Saturday
11:00AM - 11:00PM / Bar till 1AM