Charm and sophistication unite at Shab Row Bistro

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Entertainment,Joana Suleiman
If you're looking to experience modern French cuisine paired with creative mixology, Shab Row Bistro is calling your name. Opened in June 2010 in historic Frederick, Md., by Jack and Lindsay Clark, SRB offers guests inventive twists on classic French favorites, while incorporating fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

The brunch menu will delight any foodie. Crepes are light, thin and full of flavor. You can chose different fillings, such as Parisian ham with gruyere or caramelized apples with calvados, but I highly recommend the mushrooms-and-cream preparation. The croque monsieur and challah French toast are delicious but a little on the heavier side, so they are really great for sharing. The duck confit hash is a must-try. It's made with crispy potato, leek and poached egg and makes for a perfect brunch dish. The trio of beet salad, served with arugula, bacon, chevre and lemon is a refreshing break from the boring Caesar salads that often plague brunch menus. Egg lovers in the mood for something new should order the bacon, lobster and truffle omelette.

Late-afternoon eater? Head to SRB for lunch and enjoy a culinary experience you won't soon forget. The lunch-on-the-go is a fabulous option for busy people. You can pick two courses for $10 or three courses for $15. I'm a tuna tartare freak. I order it everywhere, and SRB's is the best I've had. Made with sesame, cucumber, capers and lemon, it brings your taste buds to life. The hanger steak tartare is equally impressive. The cheese plate can be put together to fit your preference. You can chose from mild, robust or blue cheese combinations. The charcuterie includes a mouthwatering house pate. Two entrees that will not disappoint are the halibut, paired with roasted tomato, couscous, beef mushrooms and caper, and the bistro burger, served with caramelized onions, chutney, pickle and duck fat frites.

Shab Row Bistro and Wine Bar
221B N. East St.
Frederick, Md.
301-631-8102; shabrowwine.com
Hours:
11 a.m to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, bar bites available until 10 p.m.; 11 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
Cocktail seminar lineup
Price: $30 per person
January: An introduction: Classic and Prohibition Era cocktails
February: Tools of the trade: Basic bar mechanics
March: The science of citrus: The importance of sweet/sour flavor modifiers
April: The new frontier: Barrel-aging cocktails and bitters
May: Infusions
June: How to choose the right ice: The importance of the most overlooked ingredient

SRB's culinary dream team, headed by executive chef Kevin Longmire, would not be complete without the exquisite wine bar and retail shop. The perfect dining experience comes with taking advantage of the passion and knowledge of the staff. Your meal will be elevated by the marriage of flavors between the plate and the glass. So don't be shy; ask for suggestions. You can even purchase a bottle from the shop and enjoy it with dinner for a nominal corkage fee. Mixologist Alex Strange is always ready to take you on a cocktail adventure. A member of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, Strange takes a unique approach to crafting his cocktails, saying, "The most exciting cocktails are intense and have a real complexity to them." He's offering several cocktail seminars beginning January 2012, so sign up if you want to learn the tools of the trade and the science behind his creations.

jsuleiman@washingtonexaminer.com

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Joana Suleiman

Production Editor
The Washington Examiner