Hadn't been in ages for anything other than great beer and the starchy heroin known as rosemary fries...
Our downright massive scallop in tomato consomme was perfectly cooked and delicately prepared- you know, still faintly soft in the middle but no longer raw- many a restaurant overdoes this. Paired with the crispy salmon skin and a dollop of caviar, it was among the best appetizer courses I've had. Rillettes were also outstanding- the only thing I missed was a little more drizzle and maybe some kosher salt on the table. Blue cheese and pear tart salad was another home run- we're both suckers for the combination of pungent blue and sweet fruit. The asparagus and ham salad worked better on paper than on the table, but that is due in large measure to the fact that the asparagus themselves were not the greatest examples that night. Ripe plump stalks paired with a scooch less ham and all would be well. My rockfish was again perfectly cooked, and generously portioned, too. The accompanying tampenade was the best I've ever had in a restaurant, if perhaps a little out of place with rockfish. The giant prawns were actually overshadowed by how delicious the underlying potato salad and pea puree was.
The lavender ice cream was also fantastic. And the wine, holy cow! Thank you thank you thank you for putting great German and Alsatian wines on the list for such great prices. Dr. Wagner 2001 single vineyard Riesling Spatlese for $26! We loved it, exactly as described on the list, and a versatile complement to the entire meal.
Service was friendly, prompt, and unpretentious. Delightful.
To sum up- a very positive experience. Food quality and presentation were certainly on a par with or better than most of the so-called fine dining establishments in Baltimore, and soundly blew away more than a couple of them. One has to spend quite a bit more to do better, and the clincher here is the wine and beer list. The attention management has paid to it, combined with the reasonable markups, deserves more consideration. It allows foodies like us to have a much more pleasurable dining experience because, dollar for dollar, the wine we get is so much better. I look forward to going back; I need to hit that riesling section again, and to ensure that the new chef is consistent.
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