This place opened in the Marriott in Harbor East about a year ago. I had high hopes after the 90 days had past and a few stops at the bar. Foodwise, this place is fine. I am glad I went for restaurant week as the prices can be a little high. Servicewise, they have a lot of room to grow.
We had a reservation – and its not super intuitive where you go to check in if you come from the entrance on the Harbor East circle. After looking confused for a few moments and asking the bartender, I finally found the hostess stand. We were warmly greeted and seated quickly. Then it was mostly downhill. We waited about 15 minutes to order drinks and another 20 minutes to get a bottle of wine and two mules. Really?
We actually were so hungry and by now it was well after 8pm. We asked for some bread – that took about 20 minutes. The bread is warm, so maybe fresh-baked, but its strange because they serve it with little butter pads that you might get in a diner – not quite a match in my opinion.
Then our appetizers arrived. Most of us went with the octopus salad. I wasn’t expecting it to be a cold salad, but it was. I have been having a lot of octopus lately, this is up there top of the list. I am not sure how you make chilled octopus tender and crisp but not chewy or gummy. The chef serves it on top of a roasted cauliflower puree which added a little sweetness. The tender garbanzo beans and toasted lentils gave a texture and flavor contrast. The arugula and fresh pepper gave it a sharp piquant flavor. So good. I am not quite sure it was worth the wait – almost.
The table had a hard time deciding on the second course between the short ribs and the scallops.
I, along with most of the table ended up going with the short ribs – in part to recommendation of one of the staff members. Huge portions. The plate was a little odd to me. Two little kale stuffed agnolotti’s with sweet potato and maitake mushrooms. It was quite tasty, especially with the natural jus on the plate. I liked the pasta even though i’m not sure how it fit on the plate. The table loved the dish. The lonely person who ordered the scallops also raved about it as well. This did make up for long wait to get started.
Dessert came. I ordered the 5 layer banana meringue parfait. It was sweet. My friend who likes sweet, devoured it before I even lifted my spoon. I had one bite. I should have gone with the marscapone fritter with a guava sauce. Everyone who ordered that stopped talking and basically licked the plate.
My favorite part of the night was when the check came. It came in a copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”. It was cute when the waiter told us all about the history of the author and his relationship to Baltimore. I guess they are used to tourists. Being the group of educators we are, we read the book aloud, each taking a page. Most of us kept the book.