But we had a pleasant meal in front of us, a gorgeous evening, and art history and food trends to debate. Under those circumstances, lingering on the patio wasn't too much of a hardship.
Where: 9433 Common Brook Road, Suite 102/103, Owings Mills
Contact: 410-356-2606; http://www.artfulgourmet.com
Open: Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and daily for dinner.
Prices: Appetizers and salads $8-$15; sandwiches $11-$15; entrees $17-32.
Food: Italian-influenced dishes, plus a selection that's global, with options ranging from quesadillas to paella to filet mignon.
Service: Friendly but scattered.
Best dishes: Veronese Shrimp appetizer, Mini Pieta (eggplant rollatini with spicy red sauce), Giordano (pappardelle with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella).
Parking: Lot behind restaurant.
Children: Kids' menu covers the basics, such as pasta, pizza and chicken tenders.
Noise level: Moderate
Dress code: No dress code, but most diners wear dressy casual attire.
[Key: Superlative:*****; Excellent:****; Very Good:***; Good:**; Promising:*]