Burning bright: Smoking and flaming dishes and drinks at Baltimore restaurants

From www.baltimoresun.com
By
John-John Williams IV

There's something about an unexpected smoky haze or a surprise burst of orange flames that captivates diners. When you want a bit of a show with your dinner, go for one of these fiery favorites.

Ouzo Bay's flaming Lamborghini

Ordered about 10 times a week and typically served for birthdays, the fiery drink - one of a half-dozen flaming beverages served at the bar - is actually off the menu. But the dramatics of it - the fire presentation requires the use of three types of stacked glasses - and the taste - it's a mixture of Baileys Irish cream, Kahlua and Sambuca - makes this the most popular of the group, according to bar manager Liz Jankiewicz. $20.

Cava Mezze's saganaki

The popular saganaki became infamous after the dish - made tableside with brandy-flambéed kefalograviera cheese and lemon- set off sprinklers last April. A viral video of the incident has amassed more than 184,000 views on YouTube. $14.

Vida Taco Bar's smoked margarita

This stunning drink features Ilegal Mezcal Joven, the restaurant's own margarita mix and a chipotle-cinnamon salted rim. If that's not enough, the drink comes in a smoking bucket that provides enough haze to rival a smoke machine. $10.

Gordon Ramsay Steak's smoked beef tartare

The classic dish gets the smoky treatment as the aged and chopped beef tenderloin - combined with lemon zest, shallots, capers, cornichons and quail's yolk - is spooned atop house-made Yukon gold herbed potato chips. The dish is served cold tableside in a dome filed with an aromatic applewood smoke. $21.

The Bluebird Cocktail Room's smoked Santiago

This cocktail features Papa's Pilar 24-year rum, simple syrup, cream sherry, maraschino liquor and a lime peel garnish. The drink is then placed in a smoke-filled glass cloche to add a dramatic smoky effect. $16

The Bygone's Peking duck

Talk about a show stopper. The duck for two is flambéed tableside and then deboned in the kitchen and returned to the dining room with a lavender honey sauce. $85.

Minnow's love potion No. 8

The smoke in this signature drink comes from dry ice that is placed in the sweet cocktail, which is made with vodka, "happy" liqueur (a house-made mixture) and elderflower liqueur. $10.