While visiting Baltimore for the holidays I happened into Miss Irene's in Fells Point, on the corner of Thames and Ann Street. I didn't realize how new the place was until one of the servers had mentioned they'd only been opened about three weeks. He mentioned that the chef, Kenneth Plante, was also the chef down the block at the Waterfront Hotel. Chef
Kenny happened to be in the kitchen the night we dined at Miss Irene's.
We didn't have a reservation, but there was no wait to be seated for dinner. There is a bar on the street level, but we were ushered upstairs by the hostess and offered cocktails at the much more intimate bar adjacent to the dining room.
The menu currently posted on the restaurant website is the same as we saw at the restaurant over this past weekend.
There were a few dietary restrictions in our party, including a vegetarian a shell fish allergy, both of which were thoughtfully accomodated.
Started with two specials: a special house salad for the vegetarian (no proscuitto), and Beet Bisque (velvety texture, rich flavor, beautiful color--I won that round). House bread was served with regular and chili infused olive oils.
Followed with Duck Risotto with caramelized onions and mushrooms--rich flavors, but disappointing textures. Bits of duck were small and could only be distinguished from bits of mushroom because they were tough. The risotto itself was cooked perfectly. The House Made Pasta (pappardelle?) with walnuts, dates, figs and lobster (there was also supposed to be Humboldt Fog, but maybe it melted?) was excellent. I'll definately order the pasta again. We saw the lamb shank and the pork chop walk. Those are on my list of things to try next time, too.
Dessert was a bit of a disappointment. Like many restaurants these days, they don't have a pastry chef, but they did boast some "house made" desserts. The Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee was disappointing--the custard tasted like it was made from a mix, but the burnt sugar top was crisp and delicate. The Apple Galette was less disappointing, but the puff pastry crust tasted like a food service frozen staple. The ice cream was definately not made in house.
The service was a mix of casual but professional, refined but not stuffy, knowledgable but not know-it-all. And although they've only been opened a few weeks, the service was fluid--as if the staff have already worked together (who knows, maybe they have).
I read that they also serve breakfast, lunch and brunch. I'd be interested to hear other food reviews if anyone else has made it there.
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