1011 W. 36th St., alchemyon36.com, (410) 366-1163
It's Saturday night and you're ready for an awesome adventurous meal, but you forgot to make reservations. Good luck scoring a table at more hyped spots like Fork and Wrench or the Food Market. But for some reason, Alchemy, which holds its own against any restaurant in town, almost always has a table available. Chefs/owners and husband and wife Michael Matassa and Debi Bell-Matassa truly do cook up magic at this two-year-old restaurant. The food is inventive, with unusual offerings like the caramelized avocado salad or the pork tenderloin with ancho sauce, sweet potato tamale, and pecan butter, and everything is cooked to perfection. Add in their superb cocktail menu and we've never put anything in our mouths here we haven't loved. The service is equally impressive and Bell-Matassa is often in the dining room checking in on diners. So why is this restaurant not packed every night? Who cares? Enjoy it while you can.