Tonight, I headed out of the comforts of Catonsville into the blacktop-paved, cobblestone streets of Baltimore to visit the B&O American Brasserie. My one misgiving of going out to eat in Baltimore is always parking. I parked across the street (on N. Charles Street), which is paid meter parking from Mon-Fri 8 to 4pm and Sat 8 to 6. I arrived at the restaurant at 7ish, so I didn’t have to pay any parking costs, and it was just a hop, skip, and a jump away from my car.
I arrived at B&O with two friends. I had a pleasant dinner with great company. I can understand why it’s one of Bmore’s favorite restaurants.
We were served whole wheat buns which appeared to have caraway seeds baked in. Nice flavor and texture. It was good to have some bread to soak up the juices of our entrees.
I started with the B&O Oysters on the half shell with a jalapeno ice granita and a relish of, I believe, apple. When I asked the waitress, she reported the oysters came today from Northern Virginia. Fresh and light, but not very briny, the oysters cost $2 a pop. Note, the menu online lists a different accompaniment than the newer menu at the restaurant.
Next I had the Crispy Skin Rockfish with smoked corn puree, baby vegetable ratatouille, and olive oil. The rockfish was cooked perfectly. I was with such good company, I didn’t realize if there was any skin there, even though my rockfish did have a crispy layer. When I later asked my friend who had the same dish, she replied saying it was crispy but she also didn’t know if there had been skin. The crispy part of the fish was also a light colored texture, not as dark as I’m used to for rockfish skin. For me, some of the vegetables could have been a bit softer, but overall a good combination of flavors.
My other friend got the Southern Atlantic Snapper with clams, fingerling confit potatoes, succotash, lemongrass, and kaffir lime. I had a little bit, but I enjoyed my dish more. The fingerling potatoes could have been slightly more tender, but overall good flavors nonetheless.
The desserts, when I inquired, were all made in house. I got the creme brulee of the day which was chocolate with a molasses shortbread cookie. I wish I had a perfect cup of black tea with steamed milk, but then I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. (Darn caffeine detox.) The brulee part was a perfect amount of crispy caramel crunch, and actually felt pleasant against my teeth. Sometimes the hard top layer of a creme brulee will stick to my teeth, but not in this case. The shortbread cookie started out strong, but then it’s flavor faded. Maybe with that cup of tea to cleanse my palate after the creme brulee, the cookie would have been perfect.
One friend got the devil’s food cake with lemongrass and strawberry ice cream. Unfortunately the ice cream had a very chemical type flavor, almost reminding us of orange cleaning products. The cake part of the devil’s food and the chantilly cream were the right texture and flavor. I think I would have liked it better with a vanilla ice cream or maybe their cream cheese ice cream that they served with the olive oil cake.
My other friend got the olive oil cake and was raving about it. Very interesting combination of flavors, where savory is a key component in the dessert. It was accompanied by a blackberry sorbet, cream cheese ice cream, and thyme. I prefer my desserts to be more on the sweet side, however.
One other thing which was wonderful: when I asked the waitress any questions about the food — what was in it, how it was prepared, what ingredients were used — she never once hesitated. She answered all my questions and never paused or felt disgruntled. What a wonderful feeling, to have waitstaff know what goes into the food and not hesitate to accommodate a patron with dietary restrictions. She was also very attentive. Kudos to the waitstaff at B&O.
Overall good meal and I would go again.B&O American Brasserie 2 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21201 (443)-692-6172