Great service, half-hearted food at Christopher Daniel

When we ordered dessert, her face blossomed into a smile; we'd picked some of her favorites. As it turns out, dessert was one of the best parts of the evening.

White chocolate banana cream pie was sweet and airy, with a touch of fruity raspberry sauce offsetting the sugar.

Though the peanut butter cookie ice cream sandwich was more of a sundae than a sandwich, its elements — vanilla and chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookies, chocolate sauce and creme anglaise — worked together beautifully.

We discovered one more glitch a few day after our dinner. On Wednesdays, all bottles under $100 on Christopher Daniel's impressive, California-heavy wine list are half-price. We drank a bottle of Burgess Syrah, a lovely, full-bodied red from Napa Valley. When we paid the bill, we forgot about the half-price wine promotion — and so did the restaurant.

It might have been a computer glitch or simple human error. But it's definitely a reminder to diligently check the bill before you pay.

Disappointing entrees and wine billing aside, dinner at Christopher Daniel is an enjoyable experience. The people are nice and the drinks are great. With a little more focus on execution in the kitchen, the food could be, too.


Christopher Daniel

Rating: two stars

Where: 106 West Padonia Road, Timonium

Contact: 410-308-1800; http://www.christopher-daniel.com

Open: Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for brunch

Prices: Appetizers and salads $8-$17; lite fare $10-$19; entrees $23-37

Food: High-end American food, including a variety of steaks and steak toppings

Service: Professional, friendly and well-timed.

Best dishes: Barbecue shrimp-and-grits appetizer, wedge salad, ahi tuna with avocado and daikon radish salad

Parking: Parking lot in front of restaurant.

Children: Kids' menu including standards like pasta and chicken tenders.

Noise level: Fairly low.

Dress code: No dress code; most guests wear dressy casual attire.

[Key: Superlative: five stars; Excellent: four stars; Very Good: three stars; Good: two stars; Promising: one star]