My husband and I had a "pre-anniversary" dinner at Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park last night. It was our first visit and we were very impressed. They don't take reservations and, after getting there around seven, we had to wait for a half hour. No problem, since we had drinks on the deck while waiting for dinner. They don't serve mixed drinks, so my husband had a beer while I had a very nice South African chardonnay.
We were seated in a small, quiet room (much nicer than the larger, more crowded and noisy main room) with a table tucked into the corner. Appetizers were the grilled squid salad for me and the mussels in shallots and garlic and white wine for my husband. The squid was excellent with a rich, smokey taste (although I thought there could have been a few more squid in the salad). The feta in the salad threatened to overwhelm the squid, but, overall, the dish was quite good. The mussels were excellent -- a huge pile of plump and fragrant mussels that fast disappeared.
Mains were barbequed shrimp on grits for me and the hanger steak with mashed potatoes and fried onions for my husband. Again, both dishes were excellent with the edge going to the shrimp for depth of flavor and freshness. The grits and mashed potatoes were wonderful side dishes and the fried onions worth the calories (and a huge pile of them, too, this restaurant doesn't skimp on the bounty of their portions).
Dessert was a shared strawberry rhubarb cobbler with ginger ice cream. Despite our full stomachs, we plowed through this rich, tart, not too sweet dessert. Outstanding.
Wine list was well-priced while not too adventurous. Service friendly and prompt.
Overall, we both rated the restaurant very highly for quality of ingredients, skill of preparation, and atmosphere. Our bill of $130, which included a bottle of wine and two coffees was reasonable.
I would highly recommend the restaurant to other chowhounds seeking a neighborhood restaurant with an oustanding kitchen at reasonable prices.
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