This quaint little corner spot in Butcher’s Hill has been on my list for years. But somehow, I have kept forgetting about this place when I am making dinner plans, probably because parking by Patterson Park is terrible. Everyone should venture a little off the beaten path once and a while – you will be pleasantly surprised. Most people suggest making reservations, but we were there earlyish on a Thursday, and there were plenty of seats. They offer an upscale take on American Tavern style food – inviting diners to the salt experience – “fantastic food, wonderful atmosphere, and excellent service”.
We got all of their specialities while enjoying an intense and lively Malbec from Argentina – a 2010 Zuccardi Q. We started with the duck fat fries with a trio of aioli dips – chipotle, black truffle, and malt vinegar. I am not sure if they are the first to bring duck fat fries to Baltimore, but they are probably the best ones I have had in this city. For anyone not familiar with this delicacy, think french fries, but extra tasty and super crispy.
Upon recommendation of our waiter, we tried the foie gras & wagyu beef slider. The beef was cooked to a delicate medium rare and topped with the foie gras on a brioche bun. Oh my, it get’s even better when you add the black truffle aioli and red onion marmalade. It’s not super easy to eat and I probably looked less than cute trying to fit all the flavors in my mouth. I am mostly sure, after only one bite, I said “let’s cancel the rest of our order and just get 15 more of those”.
In fact, I kind of wish we did.
I was debating between the mushroom gnocchi, the day boat scallops. It was a game time decision and I went with the steak. It was flavorful and cooked to a perfect medium rare. The ramp pesto was fine, but absolutely took over the dish. I wasn’t expecting the side of potato, onion and water cress to be cold. It was tasty, but, overall a little blasé.
The rabbit was most definitely better than the steak. It was wrapped in a few slices of pancetta, creating a impeccable balance of both flavor and texture. The crispy artichokes were a nice touch and unique. My friend thought the rabbit was phenomenal; he obviously likes rabbit a little bit more than I. I am not inspired to rush back for either of the entree’s; they felt a little humdrum compared to the starters.
We made an excellent choice to tack on the goat cheese donuts topped with honey and served with house made coffee ice cream. I may have literally oooh’d and possibly ahh’d.
I will stick with the apps and the desserts next time. Those were the winners – certainly a bargain for their price point.